Just because you don't shove your homeschooled kids onto the big yellow bus on the first-day-of-school, doesn't mean that you can't mark their Day 1 with fan fair.
I, for one, am all for celebrating milestones. So much so, that I don't just commemorate ONE first day of homeschool around here. I honor FIVE!
That's right. I don't start all of my kids together on the first day of school. I let them each have their own FIRST DAY.
Because, doesn't every child deserve to be celebrated?
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I usually start with my youngest one on a Monday. He starts school with all the typical first-day hoopla and has one entire school day all to himself. I only have him do his core subjects like math, language, and reading. Then, on Tuesday, the youngest gets the day off and the next-oldest child has his first day. Wednesday is the start for the third oldest...and so on...until everyone has had a turn of firsts.
Then on the following Monday, we start a regular full day with everyone together doing all the learning. Not only does this give each child a chance to have at least one full day of one-on-one time with me, but it also allows me to slowly ramp up to a slightly more difficult school load each day before I have to play ring-master to the entire circus the following week.
If you, too, would like to mark the first day with fun, then check out my big-fat-list of back-to-homeschool traditions! (Be sure to READ the entire list. Not every suggestion is represented by a picture.)
1. Encourage your kids to make a "What we did this summer" timeline with photos or magazine cutouts.
2. Take front step photos to mark physical growth from year-to-year. Use a free printable sign or make your own.
3. Start the morning with a trip to the library to pick out your first family read aloud of the year.
4. Make a favorite breakfast or go out to eat.
5. Wrap up school supplies in fun wrapping paper for the kids to unwrap when school starts.
6. Conduct a "My favorites" interview with your kids and visit it again at the end of the school year.
8. Use this set of free printables to create a first-day-of-school notebooking page at the end of the day.
9. Answer a first day survey.
10. Have your kids write themselves a letter to be read the last day of school.
11. Wrap up a new fiction book for each of your kids.
12. Homeschool in your PJs.
14. Decorate bedroom doors with streamers and balloons the night before the first day, so that your kids can wake up and "walk into" a new grade the following morning.
15. Trace his/her hand on interesting paper. Cut it out and save it with traced hands from previous years to watch growth.
16. Write a special note to each child and leave it on his/her dining room chair before breakfast.
17. Create a first-day-of school time capsule to be buried in the backyard and un-earthed on the last day of school. Fill it with summer items that can be used on the very first day of summer break.
18. Measure your child's height. Revisit the measurement on the last day of school to see how tall he/she has grown.
20. Read the same favorite picture book every single year on the first day. Might I suggest This is My Home, This is My School, a picture book written for homeschoolers by a former homeschooler.
21. Play a favorite board game together at the start of the morning.
22. Take pictures throughout the day and put together a digital slide show that you all can show to dad when he gets home from work.
23. Read a few books about what school looks like around the world. You can find some great suggestions in Give Your Child the World.
24. Skip the books and take a field trip...especially if your first day coincides with the first day of your local school district. Chances are, you'll be the only ones at the museum or park!
25. End the day with a trip to the ice cream shop.
26. Use a family "celebration plate" at dinner time to honor each child who had a first day.
The first day of homeschool should be different. It should be special. It should be a time to celebrate the start of something great!
How will you mark the FIRST DAY this year?
For more great tradition ideas, be sure to check out my First/Last Day Pinterest Board.