Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Making the First Day of School Special (Free Downloads)

One of the things I've strived to do each year is make the first day of homeschool special. It doesn't matter when you start - summer, fall, or some other time. That first day is important. I want my kids to look forward to the new year and start the whole thing off with a positive mindset. 

Here are five ways to make that first day special.

Start it off with breakfast

Lots of people make special breakfasts on the first day of school. Maybe it is their favorite meal. Or maybe you get really creative with their food to make them smile and brighten their mood.

Perhaps, you involve your kids in the making of breakfast and take time to talk. Ask them what fun things they'd like to do this year in school - make a list of their ideas, then try to incorporate as many as possible.

Or maybe making breakfast together IS the first lesson of the year! So many great concepts for math, science, and literacy can be taught this way. And the best part is you get to eat the yummy results of your work.

Take a back-to-school picture

ALWAYS take a picture of their child sometime during the first week of  a new grade. Even if you don't do it on the first day because things happen (you forget, you're waiting for new photo props, the kids didn't cooperate, someone has bedhead, whatever!), take it the next day or sometime that week. 

In fact, take LOTS of pictures throughout the year because you can make your own yearbooks at the end of the year. 

And let me give some advice for this year -- make sure you put "2020" somewhere in the picture, such as on the board they are holding: "First day of 9th grade - 2020!" Because you're going to want to remember this year. And even if you'd rather forget it, this is a great photo for your child to have years from now as proof they made it through!

Begin with a field trip

Well, that's a little harder to do this year. But if you can make it to a state park or other outdoor venue, go for it! And if you can't, don't worry. There are a whole ton of virtual field trips you can take. I have a whole page full of them listed in my free 2020 Life Skills Lists (in English and Spanish!).

Make a time capsule

This is super fun! It doesn't have to be big. You can even use a Tupperware container or coffee tub that is just for this purpose.  Be creative about what you include. You can take a video of your child and ask them to describe what this year has been like (2020!!). Or if you are going to use this time capsule every year, put a journal in it and have them write about what the year has been like so far and what they hope for in the months to come. Throw that back-to-school picture in there. Let them put whatever they want in there. If they have successfully gotten rid of their pacifier, throw it in. If they made it through reading War and Peace, add it! 



You can also have them fill out this FREE Goal Worksheets for the School Year. It's been updated this year to include pages with graphics and font better suited for older children.

Give gifts

Throughout the year, I set aside money to purchase new school supplies that I know my kids are going to need for the next school year. I think getting new supplies helps get their excitement going. So for my daughter this year, I bought her gel pens, an assortment of pens with colored ink that she was begging for, new headphones for all her online classes, a new case for her phone, and books. My middle kid, who is entering 9th grade got a graphing calculator, craft tools, and books. My youngest who's starting preschool got a LOT of manipulatives, games, and books to help teach all those fun skills and concepts that kids learn in PreK. 

I usually wrap things up and I add special labels that remind them what grade they're going into (when you homeschool, you tend to forget what "grade" you're in!). Here's a peek at my daughter's gift bag: 


And here is another example from years gone by:


If you'd like to use these labels, you can download them for free here. They've been available for a few years here on MommyMaestra, but I just updated them also with a variety of graphics to account for a variety of children and ages.



Enjoy!

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