Transitioning back into school after a long summer break can be a bit tricky. Your kids are used to unscheduled days, freedom to play and do exactly what they want to do…now they find themselves doing something entirely different. Even the most dedicated student might find it difficult.

How do you make that transition easier for both you and your kids?

Thankfully, it’s not hard, and there are a few things you can do in the weeks surrounding the start of school to make the transition from the summer months into fall just a little less stressful.

1. Start getting back into a routine

The unscheduled days of summer are great, but they have their downside: transitioning back to the routine of the school year. You can make it smoother by easing your kids into a schedule before school even starts!

A few days before you plan to start, move bedtime forward a few minutes and start setting alarms for earlier in the morning. Regulate your mealtimes to when you’ll be eating them throughout the year. Getting your kids back on a structured schedule will help ease your transition from summer.

2. Get organized

When you’re organized and prepared for the school year, it makes everything go 100 times better. Take some time before you start to organize your schedule, curriculum, and schoolroom. Ask some of these questions:

• Is your schoolroom a good atmosphere to work in?
• Do you have unnecessary clutter that might hinder learning?
• How will your kids know what they are supposed to do and when?
• Do you have a place to keep all their completed work?

Answering those questions, and questions like it, will help you start off on the right foot, avoid chaos, and successfully begin your school year.

3. Start with their favorite subjects

Every student has classes they love and classes they, well, don’t love. Those disliked classes may not be something you want to tackle on the first day. Try starting with something they enjoy! It helps jump-start your school year so that first day can be a day you all love. Consider letting them choose which subjects they want to start with to help them look forward to what they get to learn!

4. Take it outside

Your kids probably have been active all summer, doing all those fun things kids do during the summer. Going from that to sitting at a desk for hours at a time may be tedious. To combat that monotony, try incorporating energetic activities into your school day. Take your books out to the back patio and learn in a new setting for an afternoon. Take nature walks. Go to the local playground. Let your kids have 15-minute breaks throughout the day to get the kinks out of their legs. Blend a bit of summer into your fall to make it just a little easier to transition for all of you.

5. Get their feedback

Your kids are the ones doing the school work day in and day out. As a homeschool parent, listen to them and let them voice their needs. Is their math too easy for them? Do they need to switch to a different literature program? Change around the order that they do subjects? Get more active? Sometimes having a successful start of school simply means letting your kids dictate what works for them.

This is especially important for your older students who are starting to learn what it means to be independent. Sit down and have a conversation about how the school year is going and listen to their suggestions on how you can make it go a little smoother.

6. Don’t expect perfection

The first few weeks of school aren’t going to be perfect. There are going to be mishaps…pencils lost, notebooks misplaced, confusing assignments they don’t understand. You can try to ease that stress by taking steps to make the first days and the first month as stress-free as possible. Don’t feel like you need to stick to a schedule; be willing to change that schedule to something that works better for your kids.

Homeschooling is messy sometimes. You probably won’t have the most perfect transition and it may be rough at times, but that’s okay! Lean into the mess and embrace it.

What are your tips for transitioning into the new school year?