I can remember the first day of school for me as a young girl was always marked by a new outfit, and fresh school supplies. That's pretty much all I remember. There wasn't the back to school photo shoot or a special breakfast so when our girls reached school age I didn't have the thought or need to create back to school traditions for them. It just wasn't something I considered.
Now as the years have gone forward, we have tried a variety of things to get back into the swing of things. For several years in our old community, we would attend the Home School Not Back to School Picnic. This was fun because it was one of my first interactions with a large group of home school families. Our first year home schooling, we did not do much with other home educators which pretty much left us on our own island. The picnic became something we looked forward to, and help marked our beginning of the new school year. This event along with finding the blogs of other home schooling moms contributed to my desire to try to incorporate some back to school traditions of our own.
Now I will admit, I have yet to successfully do the same things or activities each year. As you know, a tradition is a long established custom which has been passed on. So far our only tradition is new pencils and getting rid of the old supplies and papers that are no longer needed before we start the new school year. I have been really trying to establish some for my girls so that they will have something to look forward to at the start of the year.
Tips for Creating Back to School Traditions
- Involve the family. I am guilty of trying to come up with everything on my own, but home schooling is a family thing so asking my family what are some things they would like to do to mark the beginning of the school year has been helpful. I have found that they have ideas too that are just as fun as mine. This year we marked the first day of school with bike rides to the school playground with dad. There was great joy in having dad at home with us on the first day of school. This was his first year ever being home with us to commemorate the new year. I would love for this to become a tradition.
- Utilize online resources. Last school year, I printed an All About Me page from SuperTeacherWorksheets.com. The girls enjoyed filling it in with all things about themselves. I reprinted the pages this year, and it was interesting to see the ways their responses changed. There are plenty of online printables and ideas to help you come up with a few back to school traditions. I am actually looking forward to seeing the way their responses continue to change over the years on the back to school surveys.
- Go with the natural flow. Each family has its unique qualities. Some traditions would not work for us because they are not natural to the make up of our family such as getting in the car driving around, and returning home to start the school day wouldn't work for us because that just isn't our thing. But, playing a game together, running around the playground, or going out to lunch at a sit in restaurant would be right up our alley. Back to school traditions should be fun for YOUR family, and not stressful. If it's not natural to you then it might make the event a little more frustrating than enjoyable.
This year we held on to some old things such as the back to school survey, and the girls sharing their hopes for the new school year while adding a few new things like hanging out with dad and lunch out together. We will also be going back to one our favorite traditions which is the back to school picnic with other home school families. It has been about three years since we enjoyed one, and we are all excited.