Last year, my family had marked the first day of school on our calendar. We counted down the days just before it began. And then something came up, and I ended up not being home for quite a bit of the first day of school.
Looking back, I probably should have postponed our first day. The ability to adjust our schedule is one of the benefits of homeschooling after all. But I didn’t.
A couple of days later, my daughter mentioned I hadn’t even gotten a picture of her first day of high school. Talk about feeling terrible!
This year, I have decided to make a point of celebrating the first day of school even if that means we must postpone it to make it happen!
I’ve been searching for some first-day-of-homeschool ideas
and have created a list of possibilities.
I will not be doing all of the ideas listed here on our first day. That would be too much for me!
Some of these activities would actually be fun to do randomly throughout the year, especially on days when we need a little bit of a change. You know the days I’m talking about, right?
Now, on to the ways we can celebrate the first day of school (or any day of school if you are a year-round homeschooler).
Ease into the School Year
Use the first week as a time to transition into the new school year.
Try to start school in the middle of the week and begin with just a few subjects. Add a little bit more each day as needed.
Assess the curriculum choices. It’s definitely easier to change lessons at the beginning of the year than halfway through!
I have actually learned that it is best for our family to ease into each school week. We do school Tuesday through Saturday in our house, and we intentionally have fewer subjects on Tuesday.
I missed taking a picture of my daughter’s first day of high school last year, so I will definitely have to make sure to take pictures this year!
There are so many ideas for "first day of school" pictures online. They can be as funny or as serious as you want. I love this giant polaroid frame from NoBiggie. I wonder if we would be able to make our own frame using cardboard and paint instead of wood.
I also love the idea of taking pictures of each kid on the first day of school and on the last day of school wearing the exact same outfit. My daughters have had growth spurts over the last few years, and I’m really curious how differently the outfits would have fit – or if they would have even been able to get them on – at the end of the year.
Decorate the House or A Shirt
We’ve made posters and decorated our living room for movie nights. We’ve hung streamers and balloons for birthdays. We’ve decorated shirts almost every year for New Year’s Eve.
But we have never done any of that for the first day of school.
That may change this year!
Making posters and signs, hanging streamers and balloons, and painting some shirts the night before the first day of school sounds like a great family activity, and a great way to celebrate the fact we can do school at home!
Enjoy a Special Treat
The biggest challenge with enjoying a special treat is choosing which special treat to enjoy.
Should it be a special meal? Or a special snack? Maybe an ice cream sundae? Cookies?
There are so many options to choose from!
Create SOMETHING Memorable
Our family has never created a homeschool vision board, but I think it is a really neat idea. The homeschool vision boards shown on Rock Your Homeschool look amazing!
Or let each kid create his or her own “All About Me” poster. Draw pictures, add information about favorites (colors, animals, subjects, songs, movies, etc.), pets, and family, include the grade and age, paste pictures, and more. Be creative!
(My daughters have spent a lot of time on the “All About Me” posters they have created, so I would probably spread this out for more than just the first day of school if we were to choose to do it this year.)
A family time capsule filled with pictures from the first day of school, goals, a list of favorites, letters, and more can be created and opened on a future date. All of the contents can be stored in a decorated shoebox or a plastic container.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
What’s not to love about a scavenger hunt? (Other than getting frustrated when you can’t remember where you put that last item no one can find.)
Send the kids on a scavenger hunt around the house to find their school supplies and books. It can be as simple or as complex as you would like. Maps or written clues aren’t required, but they can add an element of fun.
After the scavenger hunt on our first day, I do find it helpful to have all of the school supplies set out the night before. It’s nice being able to get up in the morning and start school without having to worry about where everything is. A day that starts well generally goes better than days with chaotic mornings!
Start a Journal
I have been creating a variety of journals lately to record different information.
My daughters now have field trip journals, reading journals, writing prompt journals, and my most recent journal creation, a high school journal.
Kids grow up so fast, and starting a journal on the first day of school may be a great way to record their activities, memories, and antics.
Do School in a Different Location
Kids can learn outside, in a tent made of blankets in the living room, or even under the kitchen table.
Oh, the joys of homeschooling!
Instead of just sitting in the usual spot, try something different.
Have a Picnic
Enjoy a snack or meal picnic-style.
Eating on a blanket in the living room can be just as fun as eating outdoors, so don’t despair if the weather doesn’t cooperate!
Play a Game
Celebrate the beginning, middle, or end of the first day of school by playing a game!
What’s your family’s favorite?
My daughters and I enjoy playing Ticket to Ride Europe when we are in the mood for a long game.
On days when we need a short reprieve from school, we like to play a quick game (or two) of Spot-It.
What About You?
I’m not positive which ideas we will be doing this year, but I am looking forward to possibly starting a new tradition (one in which I don’t forget to take pictures of my daughter’s first day of high school)!
What do you do to celebrate the first day of school for the year in your house?
Brigitte Brulz is a homeschooling mom, freelance writer, author, and journal creator.
She and her 12-year-old daughter recently released a book entitled
Aah! Blown Away, Crash!: An Alphabet Misadventure in June 2020.
Brigitte offers free coloring pages and activity ideas along with additional information about her books, courses she created for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, journals, and more on her website at www.brigittebrulz.com.