How do you start a new school year?
Even if you school year round, there is something healthy about having a starting and ending point. You can celebrate pulling out new books or enjoying opening that fresh box of crayons.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. But when you have a definite start and end point for each new school year, you and your students can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and newness that keeps you motivated on this homeschool journey.
When my kids were little and homeschooling was new to all of us, my A type personality took over and dictated an “official” start to the new school year. We even had an official bell we rang on the first day before saying the pledge of allegiance.
During the upper elementary and middle school years, I relaxed a bit, and homeschooling became much more enjoyable. We began each new school year by pulling out our thick hard back edition of the Chronicles of Narnia series and reading it aloud together on the couch!
By the time I had only high schoolers left — and help from homeschool co-ops — we had progressed to celebrating with fun foods on the evening of the first day of each new school year.
The Reward of a New School Year
As I thought back on how our family has enjoyed greeting each new school year, I realized that one of the keys was to welcome each new year with some kind of celebration or fun experience. Starting the school year this way offered a good reminder of the importance of regular encouragement through rewards and fun.
After all, you’ve probably learned by now that a lot goes into preparation for a new school year. Getting through the planning and arriving at the point of starting the year deserves a reward!
By celebrating the beginning of the school year, we highlight the importance of earning rewards early…and often. Even if you don’t celebrate at the very beginning of the school year, don’t hesitate to celebrate and reward yourself and your children frequently throughout the year. It makes a difference!
What I love the most, though, is the way each family is unique in the way they celebrate and reward the new beginnings. The Well Planned Gal team has accumulated quite a few years of new school year celebrations, and here are a few of their stories.
Because we always did some school during the summer, the “first day of school” tended to get overlooked.
To make it more of an event, we would take a week or two off right before the start of our new year.
We started later than our public-schooled friends and neighbors, so we used that time to do some fun family activities, such as going fishing or to the park. I then made a point of taking first day photos on our first official full day of school.
Before high school, we frequently di year-round school. That meant we often didn’t have a single point where there were all new books, nor did we have a concrete first day of each new school year.
So, we instead took a “not back to school day” and did something fun on the day public schools resumed. (A trip to the zoo combined with a giant chocolate chip cookie treat was a favorite tradition!)
Then we cracked into new school supplies on the next day as we got back into routine.
Our favorite tradition was to go to Dunkin’ Donuts with Dad super early on tax-free weekend, and then beat the crowds to the stores for school supplies.
We had New Book Day at our house. All of the new books and school supplies were stacked on the dining room table and a special banner was hung on the wall. There were cupcakes and photos taken.
It was fun to start off our new school year with a party!