Inside: With back-to-homeschool approaching for many, here are over 10 ways to start out your homeschooling year in a special way (even during a pandemic).
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Most families are gearing up to start their new year of homeschooling, some for the first time and others as seasoned veterans. Either way, it’s likely that 2020 is a little different for all of us. Most homeschooling families can agree that COVID-19 changed some of the ways (or places) we’ve done learning. We’re used to going on field trips and library visits, but those things are less accessible now.
But we still want this time to be exciting for our children! How can we do that in the face of a pandemic (or any time)?
10+ Ways to Make Back-to-Homeschool Exciting
While these tips are great for this year, they’ll also hold the test of time. So even if you’re reading this article post-pandemic, they’re some of my favorite ways to mark the new homeschool year.
#1 Have their favorite big breakfast
What better way to start off the first day back to school than with a nice breakfast? Especially their favorite breakfast! For my kids, that means pancakes, eggs, turkey bacon, and fruit. Whatever they enjoy the most is sure to get everyone started on a high note, setting the stage for the rest of the day.
#2 Reveal your new learning space
We work hard on our homeschool spaces (even the more simple ones)! Save the big reveal for the first day of school.
Of course, this won’t be possible for everyone. We homeschool in our dining room, which is a high-traffic area of our home. But I can still save a few finishing touches for the night before we begin to give that fresh new feeling to our official new year.
#3 Write a letter to each child, encouraging them for the year to come
This one is more heartfelt, and may not make a huge impact until they’re older. But a little encouragement can go a long way with our kids! Highlight their strengths. Share reasons for why you’re proud of them. Pour out your love for them and your excitement for learning together this coming year.
It could even become a tradition. Keep every letter you’ve written them in a special keepsake box for them to take when they’re older.
#4 Have a “party” their first day
Fill the floor of your learning space with balloons. Order pizza for lunch. And have their favorite treat as a reward after their lessons.
#5 Wrap a new book as a gift for each child
If there’s one gift I’m never tired of giving my children, it’s books! And what’s a more fitting gift for the first day of homeschool than a new book to enjoy?
#6 Tie-Dye t-shirts on the first day
We didn’t do this on our first official day of having a full schedule again (we homeschool year-round, so we never completely stopped over summer). BUT we will be tie-dying this coming week as part of marking the official new homeschooling year. It’ll be our first time, but I know the kids are going to enjoy it.
It can get messy, so do it outside if you can!
#7 Start or end the day with smoothies or ice cream
Pile into the car, and take a short drive for a special treat through the drive-through. OR have ingredients on hand, and let the kids help make their favorite smoothies or ice cream sundaes.
#8 Have the kids decorate their work binders
This year, we’re keeping all of their work in their own special binder. On our first day of using our new binders, I had them decorate their own covers. We added their name, year, and whatever else they wanted.
As simple as it is, they enjoyed it, and it was just a little special boost for their day.
#9 Get a class pet
This one is a fun idea if you’re ready for the responsibility.
If you’ll be studying arthropods this year (and the idea doesn’t freak you out), get a spider. You could also opt for a caterpillar that will become a butterfly or an ant farm.
Reptiles? Get a lizard or turtle.
Mammals? A hamster or guinea pig.
Marine Biology? A few fish.
Pond life? A frog.
The possibilities are endless!
#10 Do only their favorite subjects on the first day
We all are more inclined toward certain subjects and may have a degree of dread toward others. Eliminate the dread for the first day by only doing the more exciting subjects and easing your way into the others.
Some families even span this out over the first couple weeks, slowly adding in the subjects their children find least enjoyable. (And of course, find ways to make them more exciting where you can!)
#11 Spend the day learning and playing outside
There’s such flexibility with homeschool. Don’t feel like you have to always be confined to your designated learning space or even inside the house. Try spending the majority of your first day outside.
If you’re using certain curriculums, this may be difficult with all your work. Aim for a light workload and do things like nature study, reading, and science.
What are some fun ways that you plan to start the homeschool year? Has COVID-19 changed any special plans you usually have? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
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