10 back to school traditions (Back to School Week)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

A note from Jamie: I’ve been getting a few requests for back to school tradition ideas. So it seemed fitting to kick off this year’s back to school week with this repost, which originally published on August 16, 2010. Enjoy!

Welcome to Back to School Week here on Simple Homeschool! Thanks for visiting–be sure to stop by every day this week. We have an awesome line up of posts and giveaways to help you kick off your school year with excitement and enthusiasm.

There’s no better way to celebrate the first day of school than with a special tradition. Kids love rituals and a well-chosen tradition adds meaning to the routines of our lives. Even if you’ve already started school or homeschool year-round, you can still pick a day to honor your children and your homeschool.

If you haven’t yet stumbled across the perfect back-to-school tradition for your family, here are ten ideas to get you thinking.
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Physical education for homeschooled teens

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

P E, phys ed, gym: whatever you called it, all of us public schoolers did it. Some of us dreaded it; some of us considered it the best part of the day. If you had to wear one-piece gym suits that zipped up the front, well, I’m laughing (and blushing) right along with you.

So how do homeschoolers handle PE? I am surprised at the number of people who ask me “Does [swimming, hiking, gymnastics, dancing] count as PE?” Of course! If your child is getting exercise, he is engaged in PE.

For most younger children, the need to move is innate.

What kid doesn’t want to climb the perfect tree or beg to go to the park? How many times have you heard yourself admonish your little kids to be still for a few minutes—to stop rolling around on the ground?

But as these same wiggly children enter the teen years, they would likely rather be on Facebook than running around outside.

While the inclination for physical activity is built into us, we have to be deliberate about providing opportunities for PE, especially as our kids get older.

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Summer art and science fun

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Once a year, our local museums – children’s, history, art, and one aquarium – have a night in which, if you’re a member of one, you can rotate through all the museums. They have a shuttle that takes members from one museum to another and you can spend as much time as you like at each.

We did the tour several years ago when my kids were younger and we had a membership to the children’s museum.

We were having a blast…until we got to the art museum.
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10 questions to ask & answer about your family

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Homeschooling families recognize, at least in theory, that one of the beauties of the lifestyle we live is the freedom it gives us.

I definitely feel this way. In spite of the messes and challenges, laundry and to-do lists, each day I marvel that my family gets to craft this life and all its details according to what best meets our needs and goals.

This became especially clear on our recent trip overseas, during which we spent a month in England and my husband and I traveled to Italy. The fact that we had the flexibility to arrange this trip in the middle of the “school year” was just the first of many benefits we noticed.

Gazing up at York Minster

Before leaving a few friends asked if we planned to “do school” while away. My honest answer was, “Does it matter?” I knew we’d be learning all the time–no matter what activities we chose.

Sure enough, though we rarely opened the books or curricula I took along, our trip had quite a few lessons in store:
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The Family First Mindset: You Can Count on Change

I was going to write post about what my family does to put family first. I wanted to tell you that every night at about five o’clock I come up from my home office, turn off my phone and computer and make an intentional choice to tune into my family through bedtimes.

That’s how I’m putting my family first right now. I then realized that over the past three years I’ve written dozens of posts giving examples of how we put our family first and the only thing they have in common is that we consciously try to make our family a priority.

The specifics of what putting our family first looks like is something that changes all the time.

One of the first things new moms ask me as a doula (or friend) is “When will they sleep through the night?” And I always answer, “They will. And then they won’t. And then they will again.”

I know this isn’t the answer that they want and they usually respond with a puzzled look, because they were looking for a final solution. They want me to tell them if they just hang on a few more weeks or a few more months their baby will start sleeping through the night.
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