I remember so clearly how excited I was for the first day of each new school year as I was growing up. It was like having a birthday - it clearly marked the beginning of a new level, a new age, a fresh start. Here are five ways to create an exciting and positive start for your homeschool.
Nothing gets my children begging for school to begin as quickly as opening the boxes of next year's books. Getting to see, touch and hear what they will be learning about actually makes them drool. Talking about the new things they will get to learn in now that they are older (cursive! an instrument! touch-typing!) is a great validation of their continuing progress in learning.
2) Sprucing Up
We always take time before our new year begins to put away all the items we used last year (giving us time to discuss all the things we loved about learning during that time) and clean a bit. The shelves get wiped down and reorganized, leaving clean and empty areas just begging for the year to begin. We clean up our learning spaces and sometimes add a new place that would be fun to work.
3) New Supplies
Remember the brand-new box of crayons? The fresh, unsharpened pencils? Each year I provide the children with surprises at the beginning of our school year, including things like erasable pens, character pencils, rulers and counting charts. Older children can be given protractor sets, staplers, binders and sketch books.
4) A Count Down
We do not run on a tight schedule. We have started our schooling at a different time every year and tend to make our decisions about when to begin based on what is happening in our lives RIGHT NOW and plan around it. However, we always manage to include a count down to the new school year, even if it is only a week.
5) Create Traditions
Find a special way your family likes to celebrate the first week of school. My children love having their pictures taken to mark the beginning of a new grade. They spend time choosing a location, setting the stage and reviewing the photos to decide if we need to take another one. Other ideas would include a special meal, a first-day field trip, or a surprise activity after lessons (like roller skating or going to a restaurant with Dad to tell him all about the day).
Whether you are preparing for your first year of learning at home or your tenth, the start of the new year is a wonderful time together. What helps your family build excitement?