I did what I said I would never do again.
Years ago, I realized that my boys do best when we maintain our school schedule year-round, with a kind-of relaxed approach to summer learning. I went into this summer fully intending to follow the same formula that has worked for us in the past.
Except that I didn’t do it.
My boys seemed to crave more free, teenager time to play video games together and watch movies.
My oldest wanted to “hang out” with his friends more than any other year.
And if I am most honest, I needed a break. Like whoa.
It actually has been a glorious summer, full of watermelon and afternoons at the pool. I am a little sad to see it go.
More than the sadness, I have been a little scared of what the transition back to homeschool will be like this year. There’s a reason why we usually do not take this much time off – and that reason is that getting back into a routine is typically a disaster.
With my son’s hybrid school classes for the Fall looming, it was time to pull the band-aid off and get us back into the school swing of things.
I wanted to be smart about it. I knew we could not just go from zero to word problems overnight.
Then, all the Shark Week promos started and it all came together.
Seriously, the answer to my help this homeschool mom prayers was Shark Week.
Getting Us Back To Homeschool
When I realized that Shark Week fell on the exact week that I wanted to begin our transition back to learning, I was almost giddy.
You see, both my boys love them some sharks.
I set out to make a list of things we could do for learning activities, alongside the documentaries provided by Discovery.
Knowing I needed to keep it simple, here is what my list looked like –
Books about sharks, strewn around the house for reference as needed
Map study of all the locations mentioned in the Shark Week documentaries
A trip to the aquarium and it’s shark touch tank for my youngest
Lots of conversation around what we learned during the course of the week
Related YouTube Videos
You know what? It worked. It worked really, really well.
Not only did I not have to start the year off with a week’s worth meltdowns, we all learned and had fun. In fact, we didn’t even make it to the aquarium because what we were doing at home was working so well.
The Most Effective Way To Transition Back To (Home)School
As I have thought more about this, I’ve realized that it has absolutely nothing to do with Shark Week, and everything to do with starting the school year off slowly with an even greater focus on interests and strengths.
Using what my children are naturally interested in and great at, helped them overcome the discomfort of transitioning into a routine. It allowed them to get back to actually sitting down to do a little work and discuss things other than Minecraft and Memes.
This is what made our first week back so effective.
If you are working to get back into the back to learning routine, this is the very best tip I have for you –
Take it slow and allow them to do projects and activities related to their interests.
There is plenty of time to add in more. For now, just get started in a way that makes sense for your kids and allows you the freedom to transition with less stress and more learning.
Or, plan to start school every year the same week as Shark Week. Either way, I think you’ll be off to a great start.
Want a little more help getting started with Strength Based Homeschooling?
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.