Starting homeschool lessons again in the fall can be a little tricky after savoring a relaxing summer with no schoolwork. Over the years, I have found that doing something fun and unique to kick off the homeschool year makes for a smoother transition than abruptly moving from lazy days to a full homeschool routine.
1. Have a “Not” Back to School Party
We have an annual “not” back to school picnic with our homeschool group, but you could certainly organize something on a smaller scale with a few families or even with you and your children.
Our picnic is at a local park. During the picnic we have a table where moms can offer books and other learning materials they don't need any more. It's a way to both declutter our homeschool areas and find some new materials at no cost. We also have members teach mini-workshops about a variety of topics:
- getting starting with homeschooling
- the role of homeschool dads
- crafts for kids
- homeschooling middle school
In the evening there is a potluck dinner for the whole group. This has been a great way to meet new homeschoolers and celebrate the beginning of a new school year!
2. Plan a Field Trip
One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that when the kids are in school, the local attractions are less crowded! Kick off the new homeschool year with a fun field trip where you get to rule the roost. Back to school season is my favorite time to hit the zoo because the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds are minimal. But you may prefer museums, nature preserves, or art galleries.
3. Create a School Supply Surprise
Along with the usual school supplies you purchase for each new school year such as pens, pencils, notebooks, crayons, markers, folders, etc., consider buying some fun items for your kids. Look for spiced up versions of the supplies you need to buy:
fancy pencils and pencil holders
cool shaped erasers
funky patterned folders
a snack or candy that you don't normally buy
a colorful planner
You may also want to provide your children with some beautiful organizational tools such as milk crates, stacking letter trays, desk organizers, and pencil holders. Anything that gives them a feeling of ownership of and anticipation for the coming year will make the back to school season easier.
4. Eat Something Fun
Plan a special meal for breakfast or lunch. Make a new fun cake recipe or snack treat together. Not only does this become a fun activity you can do together, but it also covers life skills and math for the day.
If you don't enjoy cooking, or that's too normal for your household, go out to eat instead. Eating breakfast at a restaurant on a weekday is a novel experience, especially if you surprise your children at the last minute. That's a way to get them out of their pajamas!
5. Make a Special Craft
Through the year, I stockpile interesting craft or activity kits to start the new homeschool year off with a bang. If you don't have any kits stored up, you can make your own crafts by repurposing things you have on hand. If you can connect the crafts to the new school year, all the better. For example, decorate recycled cans to make pencil and marker organizers. Fold paper bags and decorate them with scrapbook paper to make book covers for new curriculum. The activity will be fun, and the children will also be investing in their new school year.
No matter what budget you have or what activity you choose, doing something new and fun is a great way to jazz up the start of your homeschool year!
About the Author
Heidi Ciravola has been married to her husband for over seventeen years. Together they have three children with whom they began their homeschooling journey with in 2006 when their oldest was beginning second grade. Heidi is a mother, taxi service, and homeschool parent by day and an avid reader and homeschool blogger whenever there is time left over. You can visit Heidi at her blog Starts at Eight where she blogs about homeschool products and unit studies, homeschool organization and general tips, and homeschooling high school, as well as many book reviews, lists, and unit studies.