Tomorrow is our big day! We are starting our new school year! This will be our 9th school year at home. I have been teaching with the same curriculum since my oldest was in Pre-K. And you know what? I’m still nervous about tomorrow! For those of you facing your first, fifth, or fifteenth first day of school soon, know that you are not alone if you are feeling some first day jitters! It may take a little while to find your groove, but you are going to do great and so will your kids!!!
I love the first day of school! All the books are new possibilities or old friends being revisited! The pencils are sharp (and not missing…yet!) and the crayons still fit nicely into their boxes. But while I find these details sufficiently magical, there are a few ways I like to make the first day of school extra special for my children.
We do not spend nearly the national average on school supplies for our homeschool, but I love to have new packs of crayons, markers, and colored pencils for each child. They each have a (color-coded) composition book for writing assignments, and usually some sort of fun notebook, coloring book, or journal to use however they’d like. And each child gets a plastic folder to hold their weekly assignments in throughout the year. The start of the school year is also the cheapest time to stock up on glue sticks and pencils.
In addition to the necessities of school, I love to greet my kids on the first day of school with a special toy or two (or more…I may have gone a little overboard this year!). It adds all the excitement of Christmas morning to the start of a new school year! Some years I have had a theme for the gifts, such as when they each got a stuffed version of their favorite superhero to start them out on a “super” year! Other times I have given them something fun but practical, such as new character tableware or a new water bottle. This year I went with surprise pack toys (mostly Lego minifigures) that are exciting and fun but I didn’t have to choose them specifically, and a bonus small toy geared to them individually.
Homeschoolers can also take advantage of the cute chalkboard first day of school signs and pictures that other kids take. Plus, we have the added bonus of not being in a rush when we take them! My kids can pick a special outfit, or even stay in their jammies for their new picture, and we always make sure to end with a few silly shots! We don’t do formal school pictures, so these are a great way to watch them grow year by year.
Perhaps my favorite start-of-year tradition is writing a letter to each of my children. I have a variety of stationery to choose from, and I write a personalized word of encouragement to each of them. They keep them all year. Some of my kids have saved all of their notes, tucked away into the corners of their rooms, tattered and well-loved reminders that I love being their mom and being their teacher! I am always touched when I spot the notes that have been kept! I love knowing how much those words mean to them!
So, here we go again. The 9th time I have felt the full weight of my responsibility to my children, and the full measure of how much I love that I get to spend these years with them. It’s true what they say: the days are long, but the years are short. We’re diving in, and I think I already need a nap for tomorrow! Many blessings on each of your first days!