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It is not easy for some children to get out of the summer holiday mood to get ready for the first day of homeschooling or schooling. After more freedom and fun, they need to return to the normal routines with less screen time. We are quite flexible at home, but we still have some limitation and routines as a part of life education.
The start of the homeschool year is quite important for us since it is like our homeschooling journey milestone. A good start will give more enthusiasm and desire to learn better. A special first day of homeschool year will give us better impression and nice memory in the future. For several years in our homeschooling, we have learned more and more things, both good and bad. We don't claim that we have achieved perfection. On the other hand, we still keep learning to make things better for children and for myself.
Today, I would like to share some activities and tips to make more special first day of homeschooling
10 Ways to Make a Special First Day of Homeschooling
I often not sure when we start our first day of homeschooling. Officially, it is usually started on the second Monday of July, but we often start it earlier on the previous Friday for earlier orientation. This tradition was started in the second year of our homeschooling. The earlier orientation will work for us:
- Explaining the change of the year and introduction for children levels
- Check up the equipment and organization
- Share the expectation and targets from/among children and parents
The earlier orientation will make the first week much smoother. If you have taught in school, it is like giving a foundation for the classroom management. Well, we don't bring the school to our house, but children need to understand their position and time of the new homeschooling year. By doing so, both children and parents will be more confident in the official start of the year.
Decorate Folder or Binder
Folder and binder decoration sounds very trivial for me as an adult. I think that kids who have been in the middle elementary and middle school levels will not be interested in pictures anymore. I am totally wrong.
The change of images and themes in children's folders or binder will make the new year more welcoming. Children grow and what they love last year might change on the next year after. When they have something new, they will be more enthusiastic. We don't need to purchase new binder every year. Changing the covers will make them look new and the kids are happier.
This year, my eldest son chooses the Japanese comic charaters or images to be his theme. The middle son chooses Marvel Avenger themes for his binders. My youngest son chooses Clash of Clan as his theme. They are super excited for this year's themes.
A clean classroom will definitely change our mood. After finish decluttering our last year's stuff, we moved some furniture and tools around to make them more effective and cleaner.
The effect is also different when we involve kids in cleaning and managing the room. It is not easy for us, but I always encourage them to be involved in cleaning classroom. Some self-made decoration will also work well in the new homeschooling year.
Prepare The Stationary
After the holiday, kids usually mixed up and lost some stationary, like pencils, eraser, pens, and rulers. A new homeschooling year doesn't always inquire kids to have new stationary. If you have budget that will be cool, but if you don't, you need to get them collecting and searching the stationary that is still good to use in the new homeschooling year. It is not funny at all to open the new year with searching pencils and erasers.
If you have several stocks of pencil cases or stationary containers, you can get children to decorate and to tidy up.
With the stationary, you can also play the scavenger hunt to make the new homeschooling year more special. Kids will love to move around searching for their things.
Don't Push The Gas Earlier
Most children are not ready for starting a new homeschooling year (I think). Parents might also not be ready to have high expectation in academic learning. Make less scheduled lessons in your lesson plan. Be realistic.
Get more lessons learned along with the day coming. You might have one or a couple of lessons on the first day. In the next day, add a bit more lessons. Around a week, you will be able to get the hole lessons delivered and learned. The warming up will finish by the time.
Yearly pictures are things we must take. It shows us how much children have grown in a year. We are always surprised to see our last year's picture. Looking at the pictures, we will be more enthusiastic in welcoming the new homeschooling year. It seems that there is a booster that motivates us to be better in the next year image.
We also love to see our year by year uniforms in the early year pictures we took. Well, we wear uniforms in our homeschool to ease our choice of clothing and save money for purchasing clothes. Besides, It is our proudness to wear uniforms. People will see us differently. Every year we change uniforms since the kids grow fast and the clothes get worn out.
Before starting the first day of homeschool, it will be great to have special breakfast as a celebration of achievement. It will depend on where you live and what menu you consider special.
Don't forget to provide snacks for children to eat in the break time. Kids will need a transition to their normal eating time habit. They might also eat more for their more serious thinking.
Give Some Surprise
Kids will love surprise. It doesn't have to be big things.
- You might give them new stationary packed more exclusively.
- Some bento or cute lunch boxes will be a great surprise for the meal or school break time.
- Some well packed snack put in their locker or drawer will give a great impression.
- Well decorated classroom will give them surprise. After they clean the room or house together, you might want to give some welcoming or decorated room.
- Some favorite books or encyclopedia might work to give them surprise.
Family Gathering or Bonding
You might have a gathering as a family or with relatives on the first day of homeschooling eve. The purpose of this gathering is mainly for
- Tightening the family bonding
- Celebrating children's achievement
- Wishing for better achievement on the next year
Here are some things you might do in the gathering:
- Eating together
- Children entertaining performance
- Sharing from children and parents
- Bonding games
- Sport activities will be fun if you have relatives or neighbors join
Set up Individual Goals and Wishes
If you don't have party or bonding event, you might do simple reflection time with children which will end up with goal setting and wishes.
You might do it in just about 15-30 minutes on the first day of homeschooling.
- Share everyone's expectation and wishes
- Brainstorm with some action planning to achieve them.
- Write the expectation, wishes, and action plan and put them on the visible place.
If a day is not enough, you might separate those activities into short chunks.
What tradition do you have to start the first day of homeschooling?
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Adelien Tan is a mother of three awesome boys and a wife of a great husband. They are a home education family who live in Surabaya, Indonesia, where home education is still very rare. English is her foreign language, but She tries to use it in blogging.