"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8).

As a homeschooling parent, take a lesson from the ants. Make the most of your summer months and keep the promise you've made to yourself to start planning early. To eliminate the stress of last-minute organization and ensure homeschool success, here are a few practical things you can do now to go into your new school year with the peace of mind and confidence of being prepared!

Order your curriculum. If you haven't done so already, it's time to select a curriculum, or you may not receive your material in time. If you're still deciding on which curriculum to use, check out Alpha Omega Publications and their great products, including Monarch, Switched-On Schoolhouse , LIFEPAC, Horizons, and The Weaver Curriculum.

Once you've received your curriculum, use some of your summer free time to acquaint yourself with your child's curriculum and formulate schedules and lesson plans for the new school year. By knowing what goals you hope to accomplish in each subject area, your children will follow your lead easier. In addition, here's a checklist you can use for specific subject areas:

    • Find the authors listed in your reading material and compile additional books for your child's reading list.
    • Order materials needed to conduct science experiments.
    • Look for games and computer software that can complement your math lessons.
    • Purchase maps to enhance your history, geography, and Bible classes.
    • Decide on themes or topics for compositions.
    • Choose daily devotional books for your children to use in their Bible instruction.
Organize field trips. Begin budgeting and scheduling trips to museums, zoos, weather stations, planetariums, or whatever complements your child's subject areas. To make the trip pertinent, try to correlate the time of the field trips with the time of the school year you plan to study the information. Also, talk to other homeschool families to see if you can save on expenses by carpooling.

Plan extra-curricular activities. Discuss with your children what activities in which they would like to participate. Then, if needed, find the most economical and talented people to assist you in these areas. Most teachers are quite limited and selective in how many students they take, so sign up now for future opportunities. Also, be sure to look for resources within your own family or church that can provide a godly perspective in their instruction.

Schedule your school day. If you have some homeschooling experience, you've probably noticed when your child learns best during the day. Think through your entire day and roughly decide when you are going to schedule chores, breakfast, devotions, free time, and teaching. You might also want to join a homeschool co-op or contact other homeschooling families to schedule meeting times and other activities like potlucks or a book report day.