Stagger your start.
I told somebody I was doing this, and she said “That’s some next level thinking, right there.” Well, shucks, if she sees it like that, then maybe somebody else will, too. Since I have only seven students this year, the eldest having turned down my offer of home-college, you’d think I’d be looking forward to an easier year. For some reason, I’m all nerves about this school year. Perhaps it’s the precocious nature of my youngest students, and their incessant demands to do more, or the fact that I flubbed last school year royally by trying to join a co-op against my own personality and academic judgment. Or maybe it’s just the caterpillar’s dilemma, homeschooling a family this size, it’s easy to get your feet all tangled together, not knowing which one should move next.
Whatever it is that has me feeling like an absolute rookie this time around, I just didn’t feel ready yet when the time came, but we really needed to get started. So I just started the two smallest on the first week. We dipped our adorable little toes into the kindy-and-first grade stuff, and I let the bigger kids do whatever they wanted for the week. Some of them decided to get out some independent work, and some of them played in the mud. It was a nice week.
Then I added the next three, “grades” 3, 5, and 6. Finally, this week, I added the high schoolers.
Did that help me feel any more prepared? Well, no. I still feel like there’s no way I’m ready for this. But we’re into the swing of it now whether I like it or not, and at least it helped me prepare my smaller ones to anticipate the routines, and to get familiar with the curriculum. It also gave me some sweet moments to pay extra attention to my littles. These baby days are so painfully short.
No matter how many students you have, you may find that starting them at different times is a less stressful way to get everyone moving.
Happy new school year, homeschoolers! Keep doing what you do!