Posted by : Karen Sunday, January 08, 2012

We're gearing up in our household to start the school year. I love how my kids are itching to get back into the school routine, and that they are asking for school - literally, the work part of school! I never recall doing that - sure I wanted to go back to school to see my friends, but to do the work? Never!

As Belle starts on a set day, it's propelled me forward to make a decision about a start date. And so we've pegged this Wednesday, 11 January as our start date. What that really means for the boys and I is that it's the date we're going to start to ease into everything!

If there's one thing I wish someone had told me last year in my first year of homeschooling, it's this golden nugget: the beginning of the year can be the most stressful. There's a lot to get your head around - a new curriculum, at a new level, new sports/activities etc. Getting into a routine takes TIME, and it doesn't happen instantly. You have to start with something, and then with tweaking and molding, you soon end up with a smoothly running day to day, week to week, month to month homeschool lifestyle.

So my nugget? 

Give yourself grace.
 Realize it's going to take time
and enjoy the tweaking and shaping
- it's part of the process!

I recently read this on Helium's website
Never underestimate the value and magic of traditions as seen through the eyes of a child. Children are ritualistic and ceremonial, and who among us doesn't desire to celebrate an occasion and make the most of our daily lives? For this reason, every home school family ought to have their own little nuances that get the family mentally prepared to tackle another school year, motivating mom and dad in the undertaking of teaching and getting the kids pumped up to begin their studies.

I'm big on making things special and memorable, and one of the things I want for our homeschool lifestyle is to celebrate the day we start our formal study. To this end, I think I'll be baking a cake (complete with candles so we can belt out "Happy first day of school to you"  at the top of our lungs!), and have organised a "back to school" bring and share party on the common near us.

Here are some other  ideas I'll store for the future-

  1. A special breakfast (taken from this collection of lovely ideas) 
  2. I'm quite taken with this Time Capsule idea from The Snail's trail - keeping the first day's work somewhere secret till the last day of school and then re-looking at it all. Her post has a number of other ideas including the famous "Not Back to School" Day!
  3. How about designing a 'school' T-shirt?
  4. Make a list of field trips they'd like to take this year, or journal about what goals they'd like to reach, challenges they'd like to overcome...
  5. Take a class (family) photo in the same place each year.
  6. Award a new privilege - "Unveiling some kind of new event or item that makes this school year different from the last keeps each school year distinct and makes presents the new school year in an appealing light." Could it be a library card, staying up 15 minutes later, dates with dad once a month etc?
What will you be doing this year? Do you have any traditions yet?

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