With the arrival of September and autumn winds, comes the start of another year of HOME + SCHOOL. As is our family tradition, we did not have ONE first day of school. We had FOUR.
I began by determining what our actual REAL first day of school would be...the day I wanted to be "back to normal"...and then backed-up four days (one day for every child I will be teaching this year).
Then, starting with the youngest learner...in this case, my preschooler...I scheduled a first day for each individual kiddo.
I do this for two reasons...
It affords me a slow-and-steady start to the year.
I'll be honest, it's difficult transitioning from the lazy days of summer to the crazy days of the school year. By only teaching one child per day for a week leading up to the REAL first day of school when they ALL need to be taught AT THE SAME TIME, I can gradually work my way into warp speed again.
On his/her first day of school, my little learner only has to do his/her INDIVIDUAL subjects. I do not teach any of the group subjects.
It allows each child to be celebrated.
In a family of seven, it can sometimes be difficult to celebrate individuality. I like to use the first day of school as a chance for the entire family to rally around ONE of the children and cheer him/her on to success. Each one gets a chance to recount his/her "first day of school" story around the dinner table and the rest of us get a chance to give him/her a much-deserved "thumb's up."
In addition, I also like to throw in a few "fun" features to make the day stand out from just a regular, run-of-the-mill school day.
So this year, here's how each child celebrated DAY #1!
School supply scavenger hunt
I hid his/her school supplies and books around the house and wrote out clues to their whereabouts. Every morning, the "first day" kid got to go on a scavenger hunt to claim all his/her new things. Once all the items were found, he/she tucked them neatly away in the school hutch or co-op bag.
A Summer Fun Time Line
Using discarded magazines from the library's FREE wrack, the kids cut out pictures that represented some of the summer fun we enjoyed and glued them in the appropriate spot on a timeline I had created from two old project display board scraps. Each child recounted five or six of his/her favorite summer highlights on the timeline and did his/her best to determine an accurate chronological order for them. (This ended up being a great reminder of what "chronological order" meant and a nice reminiscence of our many summer adventures.)
Dinner time celebrationAfter an easy start to the year, the "first day" child was awarded a meal on the family celebration plate and took center-stage around the dinner table as the Hubs asked lots of "How'd it go?" type questions.
And to end the day, I took that child out for an ice cream date after supper. Just me and him/her.
With 9 months of homeschooling-at-the-speed-of-life to look forward to, I always enjoy our slow-and-steady first day(S) to each new year. Here's hopin' the other 175 go just as well.