Another school year began for us today. Since we homeschool we can pretty much start when works for us and the past few years that has been mid-August. We’ve pared down our first day of school traditions to a few favorite things. We take first day of school pics with a sign. They pick a special breakfast. This year was ice cream sundaes. We do a treasure hunt in the house. The clues usually relate in some way to things we will study or do during the year and the treasure at the end is just fun school supplies (gel pens, goofy pencils, extra post-it notes, stickers, etc). Last year I left out the treasure hunt because I thought they were tired of it and getting older and less excited about it. I learned my lesson when they all complained bitterly so we brought back the tradition this year.
We do a bit of school in the morning and then do some kind of fun adventure in the afternoon. This year H. and the kids went to the zoo. They enjoyed the animals and enjoyed the sprinklers that the zoo has even more.
A more serious and newer tradition that we’ve done the past two years is to have each kid write down three goals for the year and three things they want to do more of in school. It was kind of a spontaneous idea last year but I found it helpful. The things they wanted were fairly easy to implement. I had expected elaborate requests but they were things like “more bike rides” and “more time with my brother”. Ruth asked for more glitter, easy to do from day one. It was also helpful to look back at the end of the year and show them how they had each met their goals from the beginning of the year. They wrote down goals again this year and then I met briefly with each of them to talk about my goals for them (not always the same as their own) and also how I thought each of them could help to make our school year successful.
It was a good beginning.