Unschoolers typically do not draw lines between grade levels or the start of a new school year as learning is viewed as perpetual learning and is a constant occurrence in a daily basis. However many children enjoy the mark of a new year starting and there are things, even unschoolers can do in order to prepare for a new learning phase to take place marking the start of a new year about to occur. If you reside in a State that requires records of attendance records or records of academics, it can have its own benefits to marking the start of a new year and preparing for one. Here are a few things an unschooler could or may do in order to prepare for the beginning of a new year.
Paper Work- If you live in a State that requires records, start here, get attendance sheets in place, make sure you send in your homeschool notification of intent if it pertains and if required your academic record keeping forms or books. . For higher grades you may want to have quarterly transcript forms available as well. Have an area where these are kept in an organized manner with ease of access to.
Review- If you have kept track of the previous year in any way through records, blogging or journaling take a day or two and review how things went. Did you fall short in any way by way of the role of a parent to interact and facilitate? Were you full of fear and did not trust the unschooling process? What things could have been different? How was the learning environment? Was more work needed on building better relationships? Take notes as you review and set some goals for the New Year on a few things you would like to work on and improve.
Inventory- Take a look around at your learning canvass, taking stock of items that may need to be replaced and replenished. Are you low in art and craft supplies? How is your home library? What new things could you bring into the house the kids may enjoy? Have each member create wish lists for you to give you ideas. Go garage saling to see if you can pick up interesting items to bring home at low prices. How could you introduce the items you already have lying around in new creative ways? Everything you own is a potential item for learning in fun and interesting ways look at the items with new eyes and see what you can think of. You may want to even hold a garage sale yourself to get rid out outdated material and raise money for new interesting items.
Have a Party or Celebration- Hold a new leap into learning party to mark the first day of a new year. This can be strictly with your kids or if you live in a community where there are several other unschoolers, host it for all the families. Think of a fun theme if you wish and correlate decorations and food to the theme. A celebration of learning is a great way to start of a new year that the kids would love to be part of and what a better thing to celebrate than learning?
Interviews- I like to start off every New Year with a first day interview of the kids. This is a great tool for finding out how much they have changed in a year, if their interests have changed and how much their view points have changed. It is something our family really enjoys doing.
Shop for Scrapbooking supplies- Go shopping for scrap booking supplies and materials so you can keep track of the year with a beautiful way of displaying it. Do not forget to get all the photo taking supplies you may need as well such as photo ink, photo paper or simply disposable one time use cameras for the photo taking. Scrapbooks are a wonderful way for kids to see all what they have accomplished in a years time and is a wonderful way to keep memories alive.
Organize an Unschooling Group- If you are in an area where there are no local support groups, why not try to form one? While it may be difficult to start, it will be well worth the effort in the end if you can find other families near you to have a support group and share information with as well as build friendships for your children.
While I am sure there are many other things an unschool family could do to prepare for a new year of learning, this list will hopefully be helpful and start you on your way to a great year with your kids.