Friday, July 28, 2006

First Day of School Traditions

I remember that when I was growing up, back-to-school traditions made the whole experience of starting school somewhat exciting. I read an article a couple years ago about the importance of having back-to-school traditions even for my homeschool kids, and I realized it was something I had neglected. Since we don't really need new school clothes, or lunch boxes, and such, I have come up with a few things all our own.

On the first day of school, each kid gets some kind of treats. Since they don't normally carry lunch boxes with packaged foods, these things are a real treasure in our house, so each year I give the kids an assortment of their own packaged chips, cookies, and candies. This year it was all in a gift bag with some new school supplies (don't care how many crayons or pencils we have, you just have to have new ones to make it feel like the first day of school!), and some individual drinks.

There are, of course, new school supplies, although over the years I have discovered that we need less and less replaced every year. One of the boys got a new backpack this year, but not all three needed one. One got a pencil pouch. Nobody really needed a binder. They all get new pencils, colored pencils, and I stock up on art supplies and such.

Our first day of school is a preview day. There are very few "real" assignments. We design portfolio binder covers--this year we did them on the computer with photos of the boys and cute individualized graphics. I take their picture with all their new books for the school photo album. And we look over all their materials and do any introductory lessons or reading.

One of the things I did with Josh this year about two weeks before we started was to help him make a list of all the things he thought he'd be doing in ten or fifteen years. We came up with things like married, dad, homeowner, church member, and he thinks he might like to have a job (he keeps insisting as a video game tester!). Then I sat with him and we brainstormed all the skills or knowledge you need to have or do those things. Although I didn't get and grand oooohs or aaaahs, I'm hoping I've given him a little of the practical reasons for why we do this stuff.

The first week has been a little less organized than I planned. Rather than being: "Wow, what a first week!", it's been more . . . well . . . normal. But I'm excited about what we are doing, and about all the new and additional challenges we will face (like how I'll homeschool three kids with a toddler around, and when I'll get to the gym for some much needed exercise!).

No comments: