5 things to do when you don’t feel like starting school

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

It’s the time of year when everything is screaming “Back to School!” The stores are bursting with school supplies. All your favorite blogs are featuring back to school tips. The new school year seems to be on everyone’s lips.

But you don’t feel like starting.

I’m not saying that you’re ready to quit homeschooling or that you’re feeling defeated. You’re just not prepared to give up the lazy, unstructured days of summer.

So what do you do when it’s back-to-school season, and you’re not ready to get back to school?

1. Take a planning weekend.

When my kids were younger, my husband used to do the most amazing thing. He would take them to his parents’ house for a visit the weekend of our local curriculum fair. The fair is always in late-July, so it made the perfect teacher planning weekend.

I would go to the curriculum fair on Friday, browse, and make notes. Then, I’d head to Walmart to stock up on discount school supplies before taking myself out to dinner. On Saturday, I would go back to the curriculum fair early in the morning to make my purchases based on Friday’s browsing and note-taking.

Then I had several hours of planning time before my husband and kids returned home. The alone time coupled with the smell and excitement of new books and school supplies almost always got me excited to start school.

Maybe you can’t get a whole weekend away, but even a morning or afternoon alone at home or in a coffee shop (or the place that sells your favorite sweet tea) with your books and planner can spark your enthusiasm for the new school year.

2. Choose something new that excites you.

Sometimes all it takes is a new read-aloud that I think we’ll enjoy or a fun new elective to get me excited. Sure, you’ve got new curriculum, but when you’ve been doing this homeschooling thing for a while, sometimes even new curriculum is old news.

Sign up for a cooking class that you and your tween or teen can do together. Look for online courses that interest you and your students. (Hint: They don’t have to be the same ones!) Last year, I found some great deals around this time of year on Udemy.

3. Put off hard-core academics.

Don’t jump into all that brand-new curriculum right away. If you’re not feeling enthusiastic about starting school, consider something more relaxed for the first few weeks. Maybe you could try a fun unit study, delve into documentaries, or take some field trips.

Perhaps you should tap into your inner unschooler. Spend August letting your kids’ interests be your guide and following those rabbit trails guilt-free. Add some great family read-alouds and see where the learning takes you.

4. Do a staggered start.

Another technique that has always worked well for us is doing a staggered start to the school year. We start off with one or two core subjects and one fun subject, leaving lots of time to swim or hang out with friends as we squeeze the last bit of fun out of the glorious summer weather.

We add a subject or two each week in August until we’re at a full course load in September.

5. Don’t start.

I thought about leading with this one, but I was afraid it was too bold, and I’d lose some of you.

Just don’t start yet.

My homeschool friends with pools never begin school until after Labor Day because they’re all still enjoying swimming.

We used to school year ’round, but last year the kids and I agreed that we needed more summer. We didn’t start until late-August, and it was wonderful! We would have waited until September, but we wanted to be able to take a week off here and there throughout the year.

If you’re not feeling motivated to start school yet, take advantage of the flexibility that homeschooling offers and adjust your schedule. Sometimes an extra week or two of summer break makes a world of difference.

What do you do when you don’t feel like starting school?

About Kris

Kris Bales is the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest voice behind Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She and her husband of over 25 years are parents to two amazing teens and a homeschool grad. Kris has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. She also seems intent on becoming the crazy cat lady long before she's old and alone.


  1. We are planning a staggered start this year. Summers seem to be shorter and so busy with teens in the home. Also, many of their friends go to public school and are still busy inviting them to events.
    Blessings, Dawn

    • I agree. Once my kids hit the teen years, we seemed to get a later start each year. And, I’m okay with that. They have to get that all-important socialization, after all. 😉

  2. I love #3, but I’m so traditional that I don’t even know how to tap into my inner unschooler! How do you decide what to start exploring first? It’s a fabulous idea and I’m going to be chewing on it. Thank you!

    • I would suggest taking them to the library and encourage them to choose at least one biography and one non-fiction book and see where that leads. Or you could visit a zoo, aquarium, or museum and see if that sparks an interest. Hope that helps!

  3. Yeah, this is a good post. I have no idea what I’m doing. Thanks

  4. I loved this post. They’re great ideas to remember and share with anyone I run into feeling this way. Thanks!

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