10 Ways to Make Your Back-to-Homeschool Fun – Guest Blog by Rebecca Miller
As Fall approaches, many parents are gearing up for their kids to go back to school. I often breathe a sigh of relief that, as a homeschool mom, I dodge the frantic crowds doing their back-to-school shopping. However, as September rolls around and I begin to see all those cute “back-to-school” photos on Instagram. And start to hear about first-day-of-school traditions, I find myself wondering are my kids missing out? Here are 10 ways to make your back-to-homeschool fun.
From my experience:
As a child, I remember my parents always took us out for breakfast to celebrate the first day of school. It was a tradition we followed for most of my public school years. I remember the smell of my new crayons and writing for the first time in a brand new notebook. They are fond memories.
Naturally, I began to lament that my children don’t necessarily have those memories of the first days of a new school year. That ugly mom-guilt started to seep in. But then I started thinking, there’s absolutely no reason they can’t make special start-of-the-year activities! We can make our own traditions as a home learning family!
Even if you homeschool year-round like we do, there is something about Fall that just seems like a fresh beginning. So, whether it’s your first year homeschooling, or your tenth. Here are some ideas for fun ways to celebrate the new school year with your family.
10 Ways to Make your back-to-homeschool fun:
1. Make a fun breakfast
As I mentioned, one of my favourite memories was getting dressed up in my new school clothes and going for breakfast with my family on the first day of school. This is something we, as homeschoolers, can also do. Another take on that is to make breakfast together. Does your family love chocolate chip pancakes? What about strawberry waffles? Whatever your favourite breakfast foods are, coming together in the kitchen to create a special breakfast together is a great way to connect, and create memories for the first day of “school.”
2. New school supplies
One of the nice things about homeschooling is that you don’t necessarily have to go to the expense of buying new pens, pencils and crayons each September. We usually use things we have from last year. However, it can also be fun to buy some special extras – maybe some glitter pens, a new colourful notebook or sketchbook, or some new paints. You can set all the new school supplies in a pretty basket on the table for the kids to discover in the morning.
3. New books
I don’t know about you, but I get super excited to get a new book. Do you have a favourite read-aloud or a book your family has been wanting to read? It can be a novel, a book of poetry, a picture book (no matter the age of your kids) or even an audio book. Wrap the book up like a gift and have your learners open it in the morning. Then you can all grab a cup of hot chocolate and sit around and read your new book together.
4. Hit the park
One of the best parts of Fall for homeschoolers is having our parks and playgrounds to ourselves again. During the summer they can be crowded and some kids can become overwhelmed (and adults, too). Its always fun to call up a few homeschool buddies and meet up at the park on the first day of school. Maybe bring a picnic and make a day of it.
5. Hit the road
For some families, the first week of school means a road trip! Remember, homeschool doesn’t have to look like school. The flexibility of educating at home, means homeschooling families have the opportunity to take advantage of trips when other families can’t. Pack up the kids, the dog and the bikes and head to the mountains. You can go camping, hiking, fishing, whatever your heart desires. Remember, it’s about making connections and memories.
6. Visit your favourite museum, science centre or planetarium
Just as the parks empty as kids go back to public school, so do museums and libraries. Which is your favourite “field trip”? Is there a place you haven’t check out yet? Maybe you have a local zoo that you didn’t get a chance to check out, or a botanical garden. Sometimes the cooler weather of the Fall can make the experience even better.
7. Spirit Week
Do you remember having spirit week at public school? The first week of homeschool can be a great time to have your own Homeschool Spirit Week. Brainstorm with your learners what they think might be fun, or surpise them with a list of what to expect for the week. For example: Monday is wacky hair day, Tuesday is backward day etc.
8. Have a board game day
In our homeschool, we love game-schooling. Gameschooling is where you use board games to teach different skills. Sometimes we learn things without even noticing, because we are having fun. How fun would it be for your kids to come into the family room in the morning and see a variety of games set up to explore? Pick some of your family favourites and maybe grab a new one to try!
9. Go to a matinee
A fun tradition to start (and one that might make your kids feel like their public school friends are missing out!) is to go to a weekday afternoon movie. Look through the movie listings at your local theatre and pick one that your family wants to see. Going to a movie on the first day of school sounds like an awesome tradition to me.
10. Make a vision board
Each year, I set out poster board, glue sticks, magazines, pencil crayons and scissors. I have the kids envision what they want to learn about and get better at this year. What experiences do they want to have this year? What goals do they have? The kids then go through magazines and cut out pictures of things that symbolize their goals for the year and draw pictures and words that describe those things as well. You can hang the posters up or take pictures of them to refer to later in the year.
This Blog was written by Rebecca Miller from Heart Based Learning.
Check her out on Instagram: @heartbasedhomeschoolers