Three cheers for homeschooling!
We get to make our own schedules, we don’t have to stress about a hugely interrupted routine when school starts back, no worrying about blowing money on new “cool” clothing, and best of all, we can celebrate our first day in a way of our choosing!
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about NOT back-to-school.
One of my favorite ways to start our homeschool year is in the kitchen. This is the perfect time to begin hands-on learning. You can make something everyone can pitch in with.
Last school year, we started out with a unit study on dairy, so we began with making cheese. That first week also involved breaking out our ice cream churn! It was fun and delicious.
Another idea is to make a create-your-own dish for lunch. We love making our own personal pizzas and it’s not something we get to do all the time. If you like to bake, maybe have each child pick a type of muffin or dessert to make, or grab some puff pastry and let everyone choose their fillings.
One of the best things about when public school is in session is that there are also tons of activities for homeschoolers only, at least if you live in an area with a higher homeschool population.
Check with your library system as they often have an event each month that takes place during regular school hours, and that could be great way to connect with other families.
Also, be sure to call companies offering extracurriculars, e.g., martial arts, dance, gymnastics, music, community sports, skating rinks, bowling alleys. They might just have new classes starting up during the day that are geared toward homeschooling families. These are often cheaper and are more family-friendly, meaning the entire family can attend, possibly with lower-cost family pricing. They also may have open gym or similar and that would be a really fun way to kick off the new homeschool year.
If there isn’t anything like this in your area, get some kids together and start it yourself. You might be surprised that many companies are open to the idea of hosting homeschool groups and events during non-peak hours. It’s a win for everyone.
No School at All
On the first day that public school starts back, we like to do absolutely no school. Personally, I want my kids to really understand the freedoms that come with homeschooling and to value that we are fully in control of our education. It’s really a great civics lesson, so it is essentially doing school to talk about it all, but it goes along with our belief that every day of life is a learning experience. Not all of school needs to be formal.
I’ve actually heard of families who get up early and watch the bus come through their neighborhood and talk about why that’s not what their family does. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it does drive the point home. The homeschool lifestyle is truly a blessing.
Make New Traditions
We always take a picture of each kid holding up a sign with their name (written by themselves), our homeschool name, and a few of their favorites listed off. I also include their hobbies and aspirations. It’s easy to make one of these signs on Adobe CC (which has a HUGE discount for homeschoolers, and their Spark desktop app is perfect for creating stuff like this) or maybe even in Word. These are great to have for their portfolios and also just for nostalgia.
Other traditions might be a trip to the ice cream shop, grabbing lunch from a food truck, going barefooting at a park, or taking a special field trip to kick off the new homeschool year.
Kick Off Your Homeschool Co-Op
If you’re part of a co-op or homeschool group, you could try to time your first day to their first event. Getting together with other homeschoolers is so important for a sense of community for a lifestyle that can sometimes seem isolating. Again, if you’re not part of a good group in your city, consider starting one yourself.
How do you mark your start to the new homeschool year? Do you have any not-back-to-school traditions you enjoy?