How do you prepare for the first day of school “homeschool” as yellow buses start to roam neighborhoods and children get fresh school supplies?
(Well, maybe not so much this year, but you know what we mean!)
Even if they’ve been homeschooling all year round, it turns out that local families have plenty of great ideas for making their “back-to-school” time extra special!
Here are some suggested traditions and tips from area homeschoolers:
First Day Tradition No. 1: Special foods
OK, OK … so maybe doughnuts aren’t the healthiest foods around, but many homeschool families start their first day of school with these delectable morsels. After all, we have 364 days in the rest of the year to eat healthy.
Other families will go out for a meal at a local restaurant, pack a special boxed lunch, bake a cake (who says your first day can’t be a “piece of cake”?), or order pizza.
First Day Tradition No. 2: Field trips
This is a lot harder to do this year, but sometimes even a quiet walk in the woods or on a nature trail can put a fresh spin to restarting school.
Historically CoCo Key Water Resort and other area attractions will host Homeschool Days in the summer. Some families have chosen to go on the one in August and mark that as their “back-to-school” day.
As another example, Great Wolf Lodge is offering a “Homeschool Week” for Sept. 13-18 this year (not extending to the Friday night). You can see more details on our Facebook event here.
(As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to check our Facebook events page to see what’s available in your area!)
Other options include recreational resorts, museums and parks, and the zoo.
First Day Tradition No. 3: Shopping
Because now is the time for back-to-school deals, some families will take their kids on a trip to the grocery store or mall to purchase fresh supplies.
Bonus tip: Shop during the Missouri Back to School Sales Tax Free Weekend.
Certain back-to-school purchases, such as clothing, school supplies, computers, and other items as defined by the statute, are exempt from sales tax for this time period only.
In 2020, the Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 7, and runs through Sunday, August 9.
First Day Tradition No. 4: School pictures
What better time of the year to snap a few photos than when everyone’s gathered together in one place?
One tip is to photograph your child in the same place every year, so that you can look back and see how much they’ve grown.
First Day Tradition No. 5: DIY decorations
Some enterprising moms will create big banners, such as “Welcome to X Grade!” with craft supplies purchased at local stores.
Another idea is to create homemade badges for your children, depending on which grade they’ll enter.
First Day Tradition No. 6: Family powwow
Just like a New Year’s resolution, only it’s in the summertime before school starts!
Some families find this time especially fruitful for setting goals and expectations, discussing them together at an appointed time and place. It helps to bring out the new school supplies as props!
We have updated this blog post, originally published in July 2014, for timeliness and detail.
Is this your first year homeschooling?
Check out these great additional resources:
- Avoid these 5 mistakes during your first year of homeschool
- Learn how to write a free school withdrawal letter (templates included)
- Looking for an area homeschool co-op, program, or enrichment activity? 7 questions to consider