When blending learning with living, it's easy to just START the year...with no fanfare...with no fuss. But beginnings should always be marked with a bit of pageantry, in my opinion anyway. To me, a monumental, memory-making first day is the curly-cue flourish on the otherwise straight line of the school year.
Over the years, I've tried to make each first day a memorable one. (Yes, EACH! Around here, we have a first day dedicated to each one of our kids...because doesn't everyone deserve to be celebrated individually? For more on the HOWS and WHYS of our many first days, head here>>)
It took us nearly a whole week, but we've had a very successful start to 2014-2015. Here's what occupied our days.
Anytime a day brings celebration, I try to write a personal message to the kids on our bathroom mirror. Since we only have one bathroom, I know the recipient is sure to see it at the start of the day.
First day photos
A first and last day of school photo has been an annual tradition. It's a great pictorial timeline of physical changes.
School book scavenger hunt
I put together a school book scavenger hunt a few years ago and it has become my kids' favorite first-day pastimes. Before cracking open their books, they each have to find them. I start by handing the first-day-kiddo a handwritten clue which leads him/her to a book and another clue. After racing all around the house, he/she has an armload of books and a smile on his/her face ready to start the year.
Board Game with Mom
The first "lesson" of each first day was a favorite board game with mom. It made for an easy, one-on-one start and a nice transition from the fun of summer to the more-structured days of school. (In case you are curious...I got beat EVERY day. Sadly, I didn't even let them win.)
Then it was on to a gentle nudge into each of the individual subjects like language and math. Because only one child does school each day throughout the first week of school, we save all of our group subjects like science and history for the second week of school.
With its new books and school supplies, the first day(s) of school can feel like Christmas to everyone but the smallest of the family. I try to make it a point to provide a little bit of "new" for my tot that week as well. This year, Sweetie Pea made a texture board for The Newbie to enjoy during his moments of tot school. (For more thoughts on homeschooling with a baby or toddler in the home, head here>>)
As soon as The Hubs walked in the door from work, I whisked the first-day-kiddo out of the house for a surprise stop at a neighborhood candy shop. We ended the school day with a little sugar and then came home to tell The Hubs all about it. The celebration continued over dinner with a meal on the family celebration plate.
That was how we marked the start of 2014-2015.
Do you have any special first-day traditions?
I'd love to hear about them!