Orientation is "introductory instruction concerning
situation." It could accomplish some or all of the
Give a more "official" status to your home school.
Help students (and teacher) to settle into the
Start your year with a balance of fun and
Introduce the various studies and activities you
plan for the coming year.
Make your children feel settled and informed before
the academic year begins.
Stir curiosity and provide motivation for learning
Inspire efforts to reach goals.
Explain your expectations and procedures to your
Provide a special opportunity to discuss all aspects
of your family's life -- what you will be doing,
why, and how.
Establish your home school routine to smooth the way
for your child's enjoyment of his study experience.
Stir your child's excitement about your coming year.
20 Orientation Week Activities
Choose a theme and Bible verse for
back-to-homeschool orientation week or school year,
e.g., "Study To Show Yourself Approved unto God, II
If you are going to do a unit study, you could use
its topic for your theme.
Or use your school motto 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
2. Annual Opening Ceremony
Have a planning meeting beforehand, gather ideas
your children want to include, and assign each child
Gather your students for the pledge of allegiance
to the flag, 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 after
dinner as everyone sits in the living room.
Dad can tell his family how happy he is to have them
in his home school and his vision for your family
and this homeschool year. See Newsletter
on how to write your family's mission
4. Review of Rules
Write out your family's rules (even the obvious ones
such as: Honor the Lord, Respect and Obey Parents,
Be Kind to Siblings, Do Chores without Reminders,
Pick Up after Yourself, etc.) and consistently
require instant, willing obedience.
Explain the principles behind your rules from God's
Add and explain appropriate consequences for each
broken rule and consistently apply them.
See information about child training and discipline
See the biblically based charts 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.
Read about how to establish good habits in Newsletters
6. Tour of Campus
Make a map of your home (or have your children make
one with you) showing the locations of study areas,
school books, supplies, and free play areas.
Make sure there are properly labeled places for all
books and supplies.
7. Notebooks and Supplies
Help each child set up a notebook or section of a
notebook for each subject. In it he will keep his
class syllabus (see below), assignments, notes, etc.
Pass out supplies to your children with any
instruction for their use (e.g., messy art supplies)
and their storage locations.
8. Information Technology
Type up, tape to computer, and discuss rules for
safe use of the Internet, including the length of
time your child can sit at the computer.
Filtered Internet service is a good start, but is
only the first step in providing protection for your
for safe computer use. Safest -- keep
Internet use in an open area, often frequented by
family members or be with your child when he is on
Discuss principles of how to study
concentration, preview, reading, note taking,
review, drill of certain facts, etc.
Show where to look up information in reference books
in your home library or on the Internet.
Familiarize your children with your updated chore
chart (with or without allowance attached) or take
time to make one with your children.
Review expectations of exactly how and when each
chore should be done.
See "Ways To Teach Responsibility through Chores" in
10. List of Leadership Opportunities
Assign one of your children to be Teacher's
Assistant for each of your classes. Your assistant
can be in charge of books, supplies, special
activities, supplementary videos, etc. This will
(hopefully) help you and get your child more
11. Issue a Spiritual Appeal
Dad and Mom could prepare one or more devotional
times to share their goals for the spiritual growth
of the family. Examples:
Both Pensacola Christian College and Bob Jones
University conduct Evangelistic or Revival Meetings
as part of their orientation week.
BJU's handbook explains that their rules are
intended to help students by "promoting holy living
by removing as much as possible the influences of
worldliness and evil from a student's life while he
learns to walk in the Spirit," so that the student
may "develop in his likeness and usefulness to Jesus
12. Personal Goals
Discuss goals and objectives with each child
individually, and explain how each fits into the big
picture of his future.
Ask each child what he would like to be different in
his life at this time next year.
See information on setting goals and objectives in
13. Purpose, Goals, and Content of Classes
Present an overview of what your children should
expect from each class.
Preview the classes, discussing the purpose of the
class (how the information learned will be used),
the goals (what the student will learn) and the
content (outline of topics).
See a list
of practical uses and applications of knowledge in
various subject areas.
14. Preliminary Class for Each Course
Introduce one of the year's courses each day during
Present a written syllabus that includes a course
outline, book list, units/chapters, supplementary
materials, assignments, and planned dates for units,
tests, and activities as well as methods of
Go over your schedule (or take time to write out
your "time budget") and explain the times for
classes, meals, chores, family devotions, and Lights
Out (regular bedtimes).
Post copies of your schedule in several places where
all can see.
Explain your Master Calendar and the procedure to
place an engagement on the calendar.
16. Professor's Time
Write out a list of activities for students to do
when you are giving another student individual
attention so that they can use their time
constructively and work independently (e.g., older
children can take turns supervising young ones or
big sister or brother might do some of the
Give older children their own lesson plan books so
they can carry on with assignments while you work
with younger students.
Make a picture list of acceptable activities younger
children can do when they are waiting for your help,
such as puzzles, coloring, etc.
17. Welcome Party
Plan a dinner, a picnic, a special tea, a dessert
reception, a pizza party, or anything festive that
your family would enjoy together.
This is a good event to share with another
18. Movie Night
Find a video that will both entertain and stimulate
interest in your upcoming studies, e.g., history,
science, or geography.
19. Photograph Session
Take photos of each child and your whole school
together, frame, and hang them.
Buy matching T-shirts, with or without your family's
or school's name, motto, verse, or logo.