When I was teaching in the public school setting, the first day of school was always looked on with great anticipation and excitement. New supplies, fresh faces, all new possibilities for the year. It was also accompanied with a multitude of preparations – decorate room, make sure all papers needed were copied, start learning names, PowerPoint presentations completed, etc.
The first week was not my favorite.
Yes, I enjoyed getting to know the kids. I enjoyed helping them find their way around the building, but not so much the policies and procedures. The fact that we had to spend the first 4 or 5 days getting used to school routines and classroom procedures never got better for me. I just wanted to jump into the learning process.
As our first day of home schooling approached, I realized it was my dream come true! We didn’t have to do policies and procedures! I didn’t have to spend time “training” Mason to get a tissue by himself or sharpen his pencil as needed, or how to properly check out of the classroom to go to the bathroom.
I was free!
We could get right to learning all about Forces and Motion, US symbols, skip counting, and silent e words. I thought about the day and how it would be full of learning and increase of knowledge. Then a thought hit…
This is the first of a first.
All of a sudden, I realized this was the first, first day of my son’s school journey. We couldn’t go through the day without celebrating and having some fun to commemorate this amazing day. However, this epiphany came to me the night before, of course. So my brain began to reel…What should we do? Do we do any work? How do I make this special? Enter Google and Pinterest. Hello, where would we be without these beauties.
At the same time that the internet helps, it can also hinder. In just a few minutes I was swimming in a wealth of homeschoolers first day traditions, more confusion. Then I calmed myself down and remembered one of the lessons I have already learned regarding teaching/learning at home: whatever we do it needs to be totally and completely “us”. This helped me begin to weed out activities, resulting in a half plan that I trusted would fill itself in as we went forward the next day. Here is a bit of what our first day looked like:
Mason loves doughnut shops so I planned to start our celebration by visiting his favorite. He surprised me by requesting to go through a different drive-thru doughnut shop, but it was his day and that was easier anyway!
I wanted to have a fun basket of school supplies waiting for him on the table when he woke up. That didn’t happen, so we decided to go and buy school supplies together. We all had a blast and I believe a First Day of School tradition was started.
Picking out school supplies didn’t really take that long. Since we start our school year in July, I knew there would be great sales coming after public school started. So, we grabbed a few basics and a couple fun items as well. Wandering around Wal-Mart we came upon some Angry Bird socks that Mason thought were the coolest. Aaaannnd, another new tradition was created…fun new socks on the First Day of School. (P.S. I love fun crazy socks, so this was perfect!)
All About Me
I really liked the idea of this four page packet “About Me”. At this point, it is probably more for me than Mason. However, doing this at the beginning of every school year, I am betting it will be fun to look back on these when he is a Senior. We did one page a day for the First Week of School. I’m sure it will become a one day project as he gets older.
This was a fun little graphing project that I had seen on one of the First Day tradition websites. Of course, they loved eating the manipulatives at the end. This was fun, but I’m not sure that it will end up in the “tradition” category.
Overall we had a wonderful first day. I’m sure our First Day of School traditions will morph through the years, but I feel this was a great start. I am very glad that we took our first, first day of school to celebrate instead of hitting the books right away. I thank the Lord that he placed that seed of a thought in my mind the night before our First Day of School.