No two homeschool years are the same. As your children grow and their education progresses, each year takes on its own rhythm and character.
Whether you’re a new homeschooler or a veteran homeschooler, adding special touches to the beginning of the year kicks things off with full hearts and smiling faces.
Here are 10 ideas to make your first week of homeschool special.
Go School Shopping
Before your school year begins, enjoy an excursion of back-to-school shopping. Just because your children aren’t heading into the classroom doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun and ensure you’ve got what you need for field trips, group activities, and extracurricular activities. Wrapping up the day with a lunch out is a great way to make back-to-school season fun.
Start Mid Week
Who says the first day has to be a Monday? Start on a Wednesday or Thursday to make the act of starting short and sweet—easy as pie. You’ll begin with fun, ease, and a sense of accomplishment and be able to launch into week two ready to roll.
Decorate the Table
Perhaps you tend to gather together at the kitchen table, in the living room around a coffee table, or at the dining room table. Wherever that central location is for your family, decorate it for a celebration the night before your first day, after the kids have gone to bed.
Much like Christmas morning, they’ll awaken to a delightful surprise that may include things like themed plates and decor, fresh school supplies, a new book or two, and even a wrapped present. Include a card or note for each child that lets them know how much you’re looking forward to a fun year ahead and how blessed you feel to be able to share these moments together.
Stack the Pancakes
Continue the celebration with a breakfast that’s more elaborate than usual. Think pancakes, French toast, fresh fruit, or bacon and eggs. Perhaps you’ve got a traditional food for breakfast on the first day each year, like cinnamon rolls or bagels from your favorite local place. Allow the morning to linger and talk about all that you hope to experience and accomplish this year.
Take a Picture
Don’t forget to take that first day of school pictures for posterity. Use signs that show either your child’s age or grade—if you keep track of grade levels—and share it with friends and family.
Head Out Of the House
Something that may surprise new homeschoolers is how little time you might find yourself actually staying at home. Lace up those sneakers, pack a water and a snack, and head outside for a hike or to the local museum for the first field trip of the year. Wherever you go, make it easy and fun, and an inspiring example of the blessings of homeschooling.
Start a Read-Aloud
Before wrapping up the first day, crack open a brand new read-aloud you’ll be sharing with your kids this year. Concluding the day immersed in a story you share as a family is a joy. The continuation of the story will be one of many things you and your family look forward to the next day.
Set Up for Success
As that first day progresses and the week goes on, aim to establish a rhythm and any organizational processes you deem important to the smooth running of your homeschool. Review what is expected of your children, introduce them to important schedule and calendar details they’ll need to know, all while unwrapping new school supplies and setting up tools and spaces for a new year ahead.
As the week goes on and you begin introducing the subjects, do so gradually. You don’t have to jam everything you’ll be studying into the first day, or even the first week. Start with core basics like language arts and math, and incrementally add other subjects as time goes on, tweaking your daily rhythm as you go.
Wrap It Up Early
During the first few days of school, make fun the focus, keep the work at hand simple and end each day early. Aim to establish your systems and rhythms, notice anything that may not be working, and encourage a sense of progress and accomplishment as each day comes to a close.
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart.
Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.