Time for Homeschool
Written by Erin Steeley
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Whether you’re new to homeschooling or an old hand, making the first day, or week of your children’s school year special is important, and a great opportunity to make memories! It can be used to set the tone for the entire school year, and can also be a fun and exciting experience for the whole family. You can use the occasion to commemorate the decision to homeschool, or to just start things off with a bang, if you’re a veteran homeschooler. The goal is to have fun!
I like to involve my children in some of the suggestions for what we do for the beginning of school, as well as the rest of the school year. I ask them to name three things they’d like to do or learn about for the beginning of school, and try to put together unit studies for them using some of their ideas. Nothing too involved; I like to keep it light and fun the first few days. By involving them in the brainstorming, it can be helpful in keeping them focused and more committed to the subject matter. This can be especially important when young children are involved.
Allowing kids to help sort out a daily or weekly schedule is good, too. I like to type ours up, laminate it, and post it in our school space. I have young children, so I also have similar schedules posted in the bathroom and bedroom for morning and bedtime routines, and on the fridge for mealtime routines that the kids can help with. Many parents find that children enjoy the routine more when they at least have the impression that they are somewhat in charge, and the day to day monotony can be lessened. I find this to be true of homeschooling, as well.
Letting them pick out their school supplies is another way to help children embrace the new school year. I like to visit a dollar store and let them pick several things they like. Special pencils, sparkly crayons, and character notebooks are cheap and easy pleasers. Also, it can be a celebration of freedom from the boring supply restrictions of public schools, if you are new to homeschooling.
A fun and educational field trip is always a good idea, and can start your school year off with some excitement. A children’s library, a science museum, or a zoo are some ideas. If your kids are involved in the arts, a day at the ballet, opera, theater, or local art gallery would be good, though younger kids might not be as interested as their more mature counterparts, or have the necessary attention span.
One of my favorite things to do is to take pictures on the first day, and the last day, and several times throughout the year. We then make a journal/portfolio/scrapbook (sometimes all three) that the kids put together as we go along. They love to reflect on the fun times and milestones reached, and hard lessons mastered.
Time capsules are a memorable way to kick off your homeschool days. We used an empty Pringles can. You can put photos of your kids on their first day, and a hand or foot tracing. You can even do a whole body tracing if you make your capsule big enough. You can record your children’s height, and have them write down some of their favorite things, or things they want to learn this school year. At the end of the year, open them, and discuss what has changed since that first day.
Another good craft idea is to have your homeschoolers create decorations for the school space. They can be basic school themed items, such as alphabet, math facts, historical figures, or literary characters to start the school year off, and then add to the display of masterpieces as you cover more material. I like to give them a craft idea from each book we read, and decorate the area as we move through our school year.
Education/school themed snacks and meals are another fun way to celebrate. For instance, if your kiddo has a favorite book, you can incorporate book themed foods and crafts into the first week of school. My kids love The Kissing Hand, so we have made Kissing Hand cookies, and hand crafts with paints.
When our family decided to homeschool our children, we celebrated by having ice cream for dinner. This was a spur of the moment, silly thing, but has evolved into a once a month tradition. It’s nice to use “ice cream dinners” for special occasions, and just to break the monotony of school days when they get a bit tiresome.
A really good idea is to create a name for your homeschool, a theme, or a mission statement. Or all three, if you are so inclined. You can have your kids contribute ideas and help pick the name. You can choose school colors, and your family pets can serve as mascots. I, personally, love the idea of a homeschool mission statement, which can be malleable with every passing year.
Our children’s education and enrichment is our common goal as homeschoolers, and it can be incredibly rewarding, but also very challenging. That’s why it’s vital to start off the homeschool year with fun and eager attitudes, and EVERYONE has to work hard to maintain it through the year, but like anything where our children are concerned, it’s well worth it! And you can make it so much FUN!
Bio–Hello there! My name is Erin, and I am a homemaker, mommy, and new homeschooler. I have two young daughters, ages six and four. They are my sunshine, and they sure keep me on my toes!
They’re always full of energy and are both incredibly precocious. I keep pretty busy with kids, husband, home, and now a little writing.
I’ve always loved to write, although I haven’t had occasion to do much of it since my first year of college. I often find that it’s my truest and best form of therapy. There is that quote from William Faulkner that says “I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it “, and nothing else holds more true for me.
My new blog will be theroadlesstraveledisnotinvain.wordpress.com, and you can touch bases with me on Facebook too – https://www.facebook.com/theroadlesstraveledisnotinvain.