In this issue of The Teaching Home newsletter, we are introduced to ideas for a great way to kick off your school year — and these ideas are great whether you are just starting or have already started!
Back-to-School Orientation Week
A Back-to-Home-School Orientation Week can help get your school year off to a good start!
This week we offer 20 activities for you to consider – whether you’ve already started school or not.
10 Goals and Purposes of Orientation Week
“Orientation” is “introductory instruction concerning a new situation.” Your Orientation Week could accomplish some or all of the following:
1. Give an official start to your homeschool.
2. Start your year with a balance of fun and informative activities.
3. Introduce the various studies and activities you plan for the coming year.
4. Make your children feel settled and informed before the academic year begins.
5. Stir curiosity and provide motivation for learning specific topics.
6. Inspire efforts to reach goals.
7. Explain your expectations and procedures to your children.
8. Provide a special opportunity to discuss all aspects of your family’s life – what you will be doing, why, and how.
9. Establish your homeschool routine to smooth the way for your child’s enjoyment of his study experience.
10. Ignite your child’s excitement about the coming year.
8 Ways To Use Our Orientation Week Suggestions
1. Select only those activities that would help your family.
2. Try something new and see if it works.
3. Involve Dad in plans and events as much as possible.
4. Ask your children to help you plan some of the activities.
5. Take as little or as much time as you need for Orientation Week – from one day to two weeks.
6. Schedule which activities you will do on which days.
7. Invite another family to join you for some activities.
8. Make this a positive, upbeat time.
Orientation Week Activities #1-6 of 20
• Choose a theme and Bible verse for your back-to-homeschool Orientation Week and/or for your school year (e.g., “Study To Show Yourself Approved unto God,” II Timothy 2:15).
• If you are going to do a unit study, you could use its topic for your theme.
• Or use your school motto or Family Mission Statement and Bible verse (e.g., “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15 or a variation of it, such as “Preparing To Serve”).
2. Annual Opening Ceremony
• Have a planning meeting beforehand, make a list of ideas your children want to include, and assign each child a part.
• Gather your whole family for a prayer of dedication and a song chosen for your school or for this school year that reflects your theme or school motto.
3. Welcome by the School Principal
• Have Dad make an official “Welcome Speech” (e.g., after dinner as everyone sits in the living room).
• Dad can tell his family how happy he is that each one is part of his family and home school. Then he can present and explain his vision for the family and for this homeschool year. See Newsletter #403 on how to write your family’s mission statement.
4. Review of Rules
• Write out your family’s rules and consistently require immediate, cheerful obedience.
• A few principles can cover most rules (e.g., Honor the Lord, Respect and obey parents, Be kind to siblings, Do your work cheerfully).
• Explain the principles from God’s Word that are behind your rules so that your children understand that they are obeying God, as well as you.
• Add and explain appropriate consequences for each broken rule and consistently apply them.
• See The 21 Rules of This House by Gregg Harris, posted on his blog.
• See biblically-based charts, such as the “If-Then Chart” (set consequences for actions) and The Blessing Chart (recognize and encourage Godly character qualities), at Doorposts.
5. Reinforcement of Personal Habits
• Some of these (Brush teeth, Practice the piano, Help with dinner) can be added to your chore chart.
• Younger children are usually motivated by stickers or stars to help them establish good habits.
6. Tour of “Campus”
• Walk through your home with your children, showing them the locations of study areas, reference and school books, supplies, and free-play areas.
• Make sure there are properly labeled places for all books and supplies.
• Read about seven supply items that make planning and organizing your homeschool easier – and fun!
To be continued with Orientation Week Activities #7 – #20.
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