Do you sometimes feel like a Nike commercial when it comes to returning to your regular school routine after summer break? Our motivation regarding school should be immediate. There is no room for hesitation with setting schedules; opening books and getting down to business. You tell yourself to, “Just do it!”

The only problem is, for some of us, the slogan sounds wonderful, but is just that; a slogan.

For many homeschoolers, trying to ease back into their school routine is like starting back on an exercise program. You know it is good for you, but you just do not feel like doing it, right now. A lot of the hesitation may be, not knowing where to start. Start at the beginning.

It sounds simple, because it really is simple. Start at the beginning. Start with the basics. The basics are reading, writing and arithmetic

If you are having a difficult time with the thought of returning to school, your children may be experiencing the same emotion. Take it slowly and ease back into your homeschool year. Right now it is still early enough where you can afford to spend a few weeks adapting to a new schedule. There is plenty of time to complete the required 180 days of school. Let us call these weeks your cushion weeks.

To increase the interest in your children’s participation, allow them to choose a fourth subject of interest for them to study during their cushion weeks. They may choose a regular school subject, which will make it easier for you when it comes to eventually including all of their subjects in their schedule.

If they choose a subject or topic not normally studied, let them read and yes, even use electronics, to learn more about that topic. Allow them to work on that project independently and only after they have completed the basics. At the end of the cushion weeks, they will be expected to share what they learned about their chosen topic. This can be in an oral or written presentation. Encourage them to be creative.

Once the four subjects have been determined for each child, decide on the number of days a week you will work on them. This is up to you, but working on the subjects at least three times a week will place you just that much ahead with only having to add one or two more days to make a full school week.

Be flexible on the amount of time you spend daily on each subject. Do not mark hours, but instead set a goal to mark progress. Completing at least one assignment each day should be the goal. If it takes 15 minutes, let your child consider their work done in that subject for the day. If it takes longer, let them work with the goal to complete the work. Try to ensure the daily assignments for the basics do not take more than 30 to 45 minutes for them to complete. Remember, you are easing them into school.

Everyone’s homeschool looks different and in each homeschool, there are different students, as well as teachers. Some students and teachers are excited about the return of school and others need just a bit more motivation. If returning to school presents challenges in your home, share with us the steps you have taken to motivate everyone toward a successful school year.