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 traditions for your family, here are ten ideas to get you thinking.
1. Serve up a special breakfast.
Photo by Jessica Fisher
Okay, if you’re like me you don’t want to spend extra time in the kitchen on the first day of school–there are probably many other things on your mind! But that doesn’t mean you can’t give your children an extra special treat to cultivate excitement on your first day–think doughnuts or cinnamon rolls made or bought the night before.
2. Take a photo.
Don’t forget to take a few quick snapshots to commemorate your first day.
Have your children pose in front of the same spot each year so you’ll be able to watch the progression of their growth over time.
3. Go for a walk.
My family homeschools year-round, so we don’t really have a first day of school. Recently though, we added a new ritual to our daily routine–each morning after breakfast and before any learning time takes place, we go for a quick walk around the block.
I always try to walk at my children’s pace, whether fast or slow. The other day we paused for several moments, listening to a neighbor’s wind chimes (She eventually came out to ask if we were selling something!). When we arrived back home, Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah headed straight to the table for a short lesson before playing.
The walk allows little, active bodies to get moving before being required to sit still; it also makes for an easy transition to “table time” when we return home.
4. Write in a journal.
Mark the start of each school year with a journal entry. If you have multiple children, you could invest in a journal dedicated to each one. Spend ten minutes each year writing about that child–his interests, goals, and school subjects.
If you write one entry each year you’ll end up with a fabulous keepsake to give your child when he graduates.
5. Wrap up the school supplies.
In our home, a new workbook is welcomed with a lot more excitement when covered with fun wrapping paper and given as a gift.
Consider adding a “wow” factor to some of the new supplies you’ve purchased by giving them as presents on the first day. Just make sure you schedule in time for your child to use the supplies she receives.
6. Celebrate their growth.
Photo by Devon Weller
Physically, that is. My three are currently obsessed with how fast they are growing, even at times heading to bed earlier in an effort to speed up the process!
The first day of school lends itself to thinking about intellectual growth, but you can also take the opportunity to measure and mark everyone’s height–adding to it each year.
7. Start a new read-aloud.
A gripping story may be the perfect way to ease your students into a new year of learning.
8. Recite a poem.
For those poetically-inclined parents (of which I am not one!), writing a poem to recite for your kids could be either a tender or a hilarious way to start the day.
Or you could just choose a selection from a child’s treasury to read in honor of each child.
9. Let your kids pick the dinner menu.
Sometimes the first thing my son says in the morning is “What’s for dinner?”
If your tribe is similarly minded, why not let them plan the meal for the first day? Of course they can help prepare it as well!
10. Give your children flowers.
Photo by Sheep purple
Last Monday was my twelfth wedding anniversary, and I walked downstairs to find a dozen pink roses in a vase on the table. Plants and flowers indoors bring a boost of joy to spirits young and old.
Pick a blossom from your garden or a florist nearby to let your little ones know how special they are.
Sometimes as adults we focus too much on the logistics of our plans–we forget that it only takes a few extra minutes to add meaning to our back to school traditions.
Don’t allow your first day of school to pass by without stocking up on memories–just pick one idea from the list above and you’ll be off to a great year.
How does your family kick off the first day of school? And see you back here tomorrow for an incredible giveaway!