You’ve planned, prepped, printed and prayed. Tomorrow is the first day of homeschooling and you have all the feels. You’re nervous, excited, worried, anxious, jittery. All of those feelings are normal and make the experience that much more special. Homeschooling is a pretty big stinkin’ deal and I think it calls for celebration on the first day! Choose a few fun activities or rituals to make your first day of homeschool extra special.
My kids actually made me walk them to the “bus stop” one year. Backpacks, sack lunch, new sneakers and all. They waited at the corner of our street for a few minutes then walked back home and pretended like they were entering their school on the first day. I actually thought it was a silly suggestion until I realized it was just one way they were showing their excitement for us to start the new school year. Now we try to make our first official day of schooling special by having “big breakfast”, busting out the new school supplies, working on some fun art projects and easing into our lessons.
Eat a Special Breakfast
We start our first day off with a special “big breakfast”. My kids call it big breakfast because we try to make more than just cereal and toast. Usually our big breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, muffins, and pancakes or waffles (we love our Belgian waffle maker). Check out my Easy Kids Breakfast Pinterest board for lots of fun ideas.
Wear a New Outfit
One of the only downfalls to homeschooling is the lack of need for “new school clothes”. We still do a bit of shopping and purchase new sneakers and some new fall/winter clothes before we start our school year. However, my girls do miss getting to purchase new outfits to wear to school. So we make sure we pick out a few new outfits and get all dressed up on our first day of homeschooling. Even though we don’t normally leave the house on a regular school day, it’s still fun to pick out an outfit and accessorize it. Plus, you’ll want to look snazzy for those first day photos!
Create a Homeschool Vision Board
Your homeschool vision board is a collage of all the things you want your homeschool year to look like. It can include field trips, projects, topics you want to learn, art projects and other areas you’d like to focus on during the year. One fun way to create a homeschool vision board is to use old magazines and cut out images and then glue them to a piece of poster board.
You can create one large vision board or have everyone create their own. These are great pieces to hang in your schooling space as a reminder of what your ideal year would like. You could also use an online program such as Canva to create your board. Have fun with this and use this as a way to understand your kids’ interests and goals.
Organize Their Student Space
If you have dedicated homeschooling space and your kids enjoy organizing like mine, you may want to wait until your first day to set up your space. Allowing the kids to organize and set their personal space up by decorating and customizing their space gives them ownership that will hopefully help keep the space tidy all year long.
We are switching to separate, dedicated desks for each girl this year so they will be able to have their own personal space. We will be spending part of our first day setting up their desk and wall space.
Consider having storage items and decor available for them to work with and give them the freedom to make the space their own.
Work on a Fun About Me Activity
There are dozens of “about me” activities that you can let the kids work on during the first day. Although they are geared more toward allowing other classmates get to you know you, they are still a great keepsake and way to look back over the years at how their interests and lives have changed. Here are a few free printables you could use:
Write or Revisit Your Homeschool Mission Statement
Your homeschool mission statement is such an important part of homeschooling. It lays the foundation for everything you do. Deciding to write or revisit your homeschool mission statement on your first day of school helps everyone remain focused and set goals for the year.
If you don’t have a mission statement already, considering writing one together as a family on your first. There is a free guide to help walk you through brainstorming and writing your mission statement in our printable and resource library.
Spend the Day with Delight Directed Learning
Delight directed learning is allowing your child to lead the way and choose the lesson, theme, topic, etc. We practice a lot of delight directed learning in our homeschool day as I think it helps keep the girls focused and excited. You don’t have to create your entire year plan around it, but consider allowing them to choose the topics or lessons on the first day. It will create excitement and energy around homeschooling.
Just a warning, your kids will most likely pick something off the wall when given the freedom (at least mine do). Don’t try to change their mind or redirect them. Get creative and find ways to learn about whatever it might be – I bet you’ll find lots of educational components no matter the topic!
Let the Kids Teach the Adults
This is a fun idea that we haven’t tried yet but I think we are going to plan for it this fall. Allowing the kids to create a lesson and “teach” the adults. This puts a fun spin on the roles we play in homeschooling and will give the kids a chance to decide on a topic, gather the resources and create a lesson plan.
I feel this will also give them a brief glance into what is involved in planning a lesson and help them to appreciate the time and planning that goes into a homeschool day.
I hope these tips are helpful and you’re able to create a fun, successful first day of homeschool. Just remember, homeschooling is flexible and personal. You know your family best – make sure you incorporate things that they will enjoy and you’ll have a great start to a great school year.