The first day of school is usually met with mixed emotions for all, even homeschoolers.
Summer can be hard to leave in the rearview mirror with all the adventures and fun it holds. Some might feel apprehension about the coming school year, while others meet it with open arms, ready to get back into a comforting routine. No matter what your thoughts and feelings about the new school year are, there are some great traditions you and your children can have to get back into the spirit of spending your days learning.
In this post, I’m sharing 20 first day of homeschool traditions that you can try with your kids.
20 Back-to-Homeschool Traditions
1. First Day Photos
First day of school pictures are a classic choice. Try getting a chalkboard or a piece of paper to write your child’s current grade on. You could also purchase a large t-shirt and take a picture every year of them wearing it. Fair warning, looking at pictures of your preschooler drowning in a shirt dress is sure to make you tear up compared to them wearing the same shirt as a senior in high school.
2. Special Read-Aloud
Reading aloud to your kids is always important, but why not make it special for the first day of homeschool? There are several books about homeschooling that would be great for normalizing what your family is doing and letting your kids know they are not alone. Some of our favorites include:
- Mama, Why Am I Homeschooled?
- Charlie Goes to School
- Miss Teacher Mom
- This Is My Home, This Is My School
You could even just pick a book on a subject that your children love or have a special start to your regular read-aloud.
3. Food Celebration
You could make a special breakfast, get donuts, choose a rare snack, or even let your child pick their favorite food for supper. The great thing about this tradition is that it can be tailored to you and your family’s favorite foods. Whatever you choose, it will be remembered year to year. Food has always been a perfect way to celebrate tradition.
4. Go on a Field Trip
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can plan your own days. Who says you can’t start out with a field trip? You could go to the zoo, a local nature center, or even just spend the day at the beach or the creek behind your house as a perfect start to the school year.
5. First Day Party
The first day of school is a big deal and only happens once a year, so why not have a party? This could take any number of forms. You could make a cake, buy party hats, play educational games, or sing songs. The possibilities are endless.
6. Art Project
A first day of school art project is sure to be a keepsake. Maybe go on a hunt in nature and journal it. You could also find back-to-school art projects on Pinterest, like handprint crafts and self-portraits. If you want, you could try something new, like making something out of clay. Whatever you choose, it would be a perfect opportunity to teach your kids about different art forms and possibly specific artists.
7. Decorate the House
It will feel like Christmas if you get to work decorating the house or school room when your kids are asleep the day before homeschool starts. They would be so excited to wake up to find back-to-school decorations all around. You could get balloons and make a banner. There are so many options.
8. Gift School Supplies
Gifts are a great way to let your kids know you love them, but also show them how exciting of an occasion the first day of school is. You can buy and wrap their favorite pencils, notebooks, and even manipulatives for them to open when they wake up.
Another option is to take them shopping, so they can pick out their own supplies for the year. And bonus, give them a set budget, and bam! It’s now a math lesson as well!
9. Poetry Tea Time
This tradition is so sweet. You could pick your favorite poems, or find new ones about new beginnings and homeschooling. Make some tea and special snacks to have a great first-day-of-school tea and poem reading.
10. Create a Countdown Chain
Countdown to the end of school is always fun, but what if it started the first day of school? It’s a good way to teach kids the passage of time and help them understand what a big accomplishment a year of school is. It will help fine-tune their counting and fine motor skills at the same time. They could even help pick out the paper to make it more fun.
11. All About Me Activity
It is easy to find all about me pages to print off and fill out online. Have your child answer questions like what their favorite food is and what subject they are most excited about. Don’t forget the picture to look back on when they graduate.
We personally use the free printable interview with handprint over at Fun Handprint Art.
12. Make a Vision Board
Physical vision boards sometimes feel like a thing of the past with how easy it is to make them online, but that doesn’t mean they are any less fun. Find some old magazines, and have each of your kids cut and paste to their heart’s desire. Vision boards for the homeschool year would also make great decor for your learning space.
13. Gameschooling Day
Playing games is a great way to teach your children different concepts in math, critical thinking skills, and teamwork. Why not start out the school year by having a party playing all your favorite games in one day? You could even have snacks and invite some of your homeschool friends over.
14. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are great for all ages and could have many different themes. If your kids are younger, you could hunt for shapes, colors, and the alphabet. If they are older, you could make it history or science-themed. The possibilities are endless. For extra fun, you could have candy or prizes at the end.
15. Homeschool Year Bucket List
This is a fun DIY to do with your kids, no matter the season. Use glitter, gems, feathers, or just markers to decorate popsicle sticks, leaving room to write your goals. Make your homeschool year bucket list (field trips, lesson themes, playdates, read-alouds, etc.) and then place them in a jar to pull out as you complete them.
16. Hand Out Yearbooks
Every year (starting with when my kids graduate preschool), I make each child a homeschool yearbook to commemorate all the fun we had that past school year. It’s a great way to record all of your science experiments, field trips, read-alouds, and more. You can also highlight your children’s favorite parts of the school year.
I like to include their graduation/last day of school photos in the yearbook, so I typically make these during our summer break and gift them to them on the first day of the next homeschool year. The kids absolutely love them!
Mixbook is a great option for creating a homeschool yearbook, as they have pre-made yearbook templates that are super easy to edit.
17. Do School Outside
One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that it is flexible. Having school outside is a great way to make your kids fall in love with learning. The outdoors is a perfect place for read-alouds, science lessons, and really any subject. Bring a blanket to sit on or find a picnic table to work at, and let the learning begin.
18. Pajamas or Fancy Clothes
There are many different personalities of homeschoolers, but all of them fall into two categories. Those that wear pajamas while doing school on the regular and those who don’t. Whichever one you are, this tradition could still be for you. If your homeschool is casual, then try getting all fancied up for the first day. If your family gets ready for the day every day, why not try a pj day instead? It could be fun!
19. Try Out a Co-op
Co-ops are a great way to get extracurricular activities in while homeschooling and to meet homeschoolers who are local to you. Whether you go to one on a regular basis or not, it could be a fun way to start out the school year.
20. Enjoy a Day in Nature
A nature day is a perfect way to start out the school year. Pack a snack lunch, grab a local field guide and pocket microscope, and head off on a first-day-of-school adventure. There’s no telling what wonderful things you might discover.
First Day Traditions for Unforgettable Memories
Spending quality time together while homeschooling is sure to give you and your children many memories over the years. You can make that first day even more special by doing some of these traditions with your kids.
Have a great homeschool year!
What About You?
What first day of homeschool tradition will you try this year? What are some of your favorite memories of homeschooling? Comment below, and be sure to share this post with your homeschooling friends.