As a little girl I always looked forward to the first day of school. I loved all the hype and excitement around back to school shopping for supplies and new clothes. Heck, I still get excited for this with my own kids, but the dynamic is different now that we homeschool. With public school there can be first day of school pictures, a new outfit, backpack, and so on. It’s not exactly the same with a class of one. But just because you homeschool, doesn’t mean you can’t create your own first day of school traditions.
If you homeschool you might already have some first day of homeschool traditions that you do in your home. The idea of making the first day of school more exciting and creating fun traditions for you and your kids, can be so special. If you are about to begin your first year of homeschooling, or have been homeschooling a while and haven’t even thought about this, that’s ok too!
I have pulled together 10 fun first day of homeschool traditions you might want to do to start the year off on a positive note. Have fun and make a big deal of the first day (or first “official” day if you’re like me and school year round). Your kids will love it, and I think you will too.
10 Ways to Make the First Day of Homeschool Special
1. First Day Pictures
Find a shaded spot in the yard or somewhere in the house and take first day pictures. Grab a chalkboard and write first day or something clever along with the child’s grade. If you plan ahead you can order these milestone cards and have your kids decorate them before the first day. Or have a custom Etsy printable designed first day sign like we did last year. This is a fun way to do something special, and you will be able to look back over the years. I love doing the first day and last day of school. You will be amazed at how much your child will change during a school year!
If you have a designated area where you do school work, maybe get a banner or add some fun decorations for back to school. You can shop online at like Amazon, or find decorations at your local stores. This can be a fun way to make them feel extra special!
3. A Special Breakfast
Do you have a special breakfast you like to make? If so create a fun breakfast for your kids, as a way to celebrate the new year. Some fun breakfast at home are sprinkle pancakes, a breakfast casserole, french toast, or anything else your family loves. We love making heart-shaped or Mickey Mouse waffles with fruit but we also enjoy our local donut shop. So heading out to pick up your favorite muffins or donuts is totally another fun option.
4. New School Supplies
Have some fun school supplies waiting for your child. This could be a pretty and fun binder, neat pencils, anything to make a big deal about the start of the new year. If you present them in gift wrap or a gift bag it can make opening them even more fun for the occasion.
5. A Poetry Tea Party
We kicked off the official school year last year with a poetry tea party. Gather up your favorite poetry books, or check some out from the library, set out muffins, fruit and other snacks and don’t forget the tea (or in our case, apple cider)! Take turns choosing poems to read aloud while enjoying the warm drink and snacks. We even kicked ours off last year with a candle and “happy first day of school” song. We continued to have poetry tea parties about once a week through the rest of the year.
6. Goals for the School Year
You know I love setting goals. On the first day of school sit down with your child/children and let them create a few goals for the year. Maybe they want to read 20 books, or learn Spanish, or learn the capitals of all 50 states. Do some short term goals and even long term. It is a fun way for your child to feel inspired and reach to meet those goals throughout the year.
7. Begin a New Read-Aloud
Starting a new book is a fun way to kick off the year. If you aren’t reading aloud to your kids yet you totally should. Not only is it a great for their development but it’s a great bonding experience. You can choose a book together before the year starts, or pick one to surprise them with that you know you’ll all love.
8. First Day Gift
Find something small to give to each child. Then when school begins they will have a small gift to open! This could be something fun like a book, pencil box, a journal, new calculator, new shirt, a fun toy they can play with after school, or something else. It is a way to make them feel extra special.
9. Get Out of the House
Surprise your child with a first day of school field trip. Whether it be to go to a local museum, library for a learning activity, a park, or somewhere else. It can be a fun way to kick the year off. Just find a field trip that can tie into a subject you will start teaching on!
10. Time Capsule
On the first day, create a time capsule with your child. You can have them write down fun things on what they like at the moment. Toss it in a shoe box and if you’re ambitious–bury it in the backyard, and try to forget about it. Then when the next school year comes around, you can go out and dig it up. If you’re like me you’ll hide it at the back of a closet and remember it when you finally clean it out a year or so later. Either way, you’ll get to see what has changed from the previous year.
Some ideas: Favorite color, favorite subject in school, favorite food, favorite book, favorite movie, etc. Have them sign it and then fold up the paper and toss it in a box and bury it or even hide somewhere in the house!
Hopefully these give you a starting point. And if you have your own first day of school traditions (homeschool or not) I’d love to hear them!