Creating Homeschool Traditions

 

Homeschool Traditions

Adapting yearly rituals for homeschool traditions

I wrote several months ago about our desire to homeschool our daughter due to bullying at her local school and our dissatisfaction with the education she was receiving (link to that story here). I’m happy to say that we have officially made the transition! Bella begins online school in less than 3 weeks. But along with our excitement about this new adventure, I have one lingering concern as we approach back-to-school season:

How do I create meaningful back-to-school homeschool traditions?

So I’ve been racking my brain for the last few months, trying to figure out how I can adapt the usual rituals to our online/homeschool experience. I think having some traditions is important, because they create lasting memories and can increase feelings of comfort. To ease our transition out of traditional schooling, I’ve come up with the follwoing list of back-to-school homeschool traditions.

Shopping for school supplies before the school year begins

We do this every year anyway, but we’re gonna change things up a bit this time. We already have a lot of what we need, like crayons and paper. Since we won’t be carrying things to school, we also don’t need a backpack this year. And we aren’t limited to buying only what the teacher wants us to have. This allows us to get a little more creative when we buy our supplies. We’re going to get some fun art supplies, organizational supplies, and even some books for our “learning nook.” We’ll do this together, which should get Bella excited for the start of school the same way that shopping for her yearly backpack does.

Decorating the “classroom”

Every year, Bella’s teachers always have the classroom decorated to the nines. They must spend a fortune! My plan is to surprise Bella by decorating the space we have set aside for her classroom area, which is a corner of our home office. And I don’t have to break the budget, either. Dollar Tree has some great classroom decor, and each item is only $1.00. Target also has some reasonably priced decorations and classroom-appropriate posters. If you’re crafty, you can even make your own decorations from craft supplies you have on hand.

Back-to-School Photo

Homeschool Traditions

Our very first Back to School Photo

 

We have a tradition of taking a back-to-school photo on the morning of the first day of school each year. Typically, Bella’s dog, Pinki, is also in the picture, though I don’t remember why we started doing this. Anyway, it’s become an important back-to-school ritual for us, and we often look back on past year’s photos and reminisce. We plan to take a first-day photo this year, too. Instead of a new backpack and school uniform, though, Bella will hold a “Back to School” sign. Since she’s crafty, we’ll make the sign together a day or two before.

A Special Celebratory Breakfast

Obviously, with homeschooling, we have the benefit of taking things a little easy when we want to. Even in traditional school, the first few days don’t involve much learning. We plan to take advantage of our ability to take it easy on the first day by having a special breakfast. I’ll make Bella’s favorites: fried eggs (over easy) and pancakes with blueberries. Special meals make excellent traditions, which is why they are featured in so many holidays. I expect this will be one of our favorite homeschool traditions.

Take it Outside

Homeschool Traditions

How I hope to spend our first day: Outside!

Depending on the weather (it’s the rainy season here in Central Florida), I plan to spend the morning half of our first day outside. And I don’t plan on limiting this practice to the first day of homeschool. One of the awesome things about schooling from home is that we can do this whenever we want! (I think this is going to be great for reading time and science lessons, especially.) But as long as it doesn’t rain, I hope to make this a first-day-of-school ritual every year.

After School Treat

We used to go get ice cream after the first day of school, but I want to try something different this year. Most kids love cooking with their parents, and Bella is no exception. Instead of ice cream, we’re going to make cupcakes together to celebrate the end of the first day of school. Maybe I can even sneak in a little math lesson about fractions or measurements while we’re at it. At any rate, bonding together while creating our sweet treats is definitely more meaningful than grabbing an ice cream at a fast food joint.

This is our first year trying out homeschooling, so I can only hope that my ideas for homeschool traditions create special memories for Bella to remember. No doubt we’ll add other celebrations throughout the year. In the meantime, readers, I’d love to have your input regarding things you do to make homeschooling special.

What are your favorite homeschool traditions?

 

 

 

 

40 Comments

  • Emily July 27, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    We do year-round homeschooling, so we don’t really have any back to school traditions. I do buy new school supplies and plan out new curriculum and activities every year. I am submitting our orders this week.

    Reply
  • Traci | The Petite Chef July 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Love the idea of adding back to school traditions for home-schoolers. Makes it feel a little more special/different from the norm!

    Reply
  • Kim July 27, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I love this. I think traditions of any kind make kids feel special and give them something they can pass along to their children too!

    Reply
  • Chelsea July 27, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Cute! I love the cupcake idea! And maybe sneak in a little ice cream to go with them 😉

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 27, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Ooh. Good idea!

      Reply
  • Rachel July 27, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Traditions are such an important staple in every family. Love this.

    Reply
  • Jacqueline Marie July 27, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    I think your ideas are great! I’m sure she will love being able to spend more learning time outside and spending more time with her mom!

    Reply
  • Lisa July 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    These sounds like great ideas for homeschoolers!

    Reply
  • Lisa July 28, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Every mom that homeschools their kids deserves a medal in my opinion!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 12:30 am

      I just really hope I survive this year. My daughter can be really hard-headed.

      Reply
  • Anitra July 28, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Love This! My favorite go to place when I’m looking for stuff for my classroom is always the Dollar Tree! I fill up my basket with tons of things, because, hello, it’s only a dollar. Then at checkout and $25 later, I realize I have a bit of an addiction, but its ok!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 12:30 am

      But you get so much for $25, so it’s okay right?

      Reply
  • Gina July 28, 2017 at 12:32 am

    These are such great ideas! I always thinking about homeschooling if I have kids someday and lacking these traditions is something I think about. This helps me to see that there are ways to build your own traditions!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      We are very non-traditional, so we’re always making our own traditions. They feel more special because we created them.

      Reply
  • carmensar July 28, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Traditions are fun and so important in building memories as a family. I would buy the kids books in the summer–and always had fun ones that they were intrigued by–but I wouldn’t let them read them until school began. They sat on the shelf teasing them for at least a month. haha

    Reply
  • Shelanda July 28, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I wish I could homeschool.

    Reply
  • Michelle Kunkel July 28, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Love the idea of creating traditions. My daughter isn’t technically old enough to be considered homeschool, but we definitely have a homeschool type environment going on. Our living room looks like a preschool!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      I did the same thing before my daughter was school age!

      Reply
  • laceandsparkls July 28, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Love these ideas! I’m from Mexico but currently live in the US, so the whole homeschooling concept is kind of new to me. Really interesting 🙂

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      I lived in Scotland for a year, and there weren’t many homeschoolers there, either. I think it’s mostly an American thing.

      Reply
  • Stacey July 28, 2017 at 4:43 am

    These are great ideas! Really the only traditions I have are taking a picture and buying supplies. I like the idea of making a treat. Hopefully she’s not too tired. I teach 30 minutes from home, and last year, she fell asleep eating Cheese-Its. She fell asleep with her face practically in the box!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Oh how funny. When my daughter went to a private school that required us to drive 30 minutes each way she would always pass out in the car on the way home.

      Reply
  • Kourtney Elliott July 28, 2017 at 4:46 am

    These are such fun and special traditions that I’m sure she will fondly remember forever! We do similar things with our two little ones. We homeschool too! Good luck on this new adventure. It is the most incredible joy and privilege to get to experience all of these things with your child, even when there are hard days. And the freedom is wonderful! I wish you the best!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • raisingtheselittles July 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    These are great. We did many of them too. My daughter is really looking forward to the first day of school again this year (our 2nd year homeschooling). Last year for our special breakfast we had homemade waffles which she wants to do again of course:)

    Reply
  • waneklychaoticlife July 28, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Seriously- so much respect for those who homeschool. I hope we don’t encounter issues with bullying and poor education when my girls are old enough to start school because homeschooling just wouldn’t be an option for us, but you make it look easy!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      I never thought I’d homeschool, but our schools in Florida are too awful! We plan on moving out of state soon, and I might consider traditional schools again.

      Reply
  • Lori July 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Great ideas! We take back to school photos every year!

    Reply
  • kiersten July 28, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Love these ideas! I never thought much about those simple aspects that can be missed with homeschooling! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Joanne July 28, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Great ideas. I honestly never even thought about the traditions for homeschoolers. Thanks!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • Lisa July 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    School outside sounds great! I hope the weather holds up for you!

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks! Hopefully we’ll get a few hours without rain or scorching heat.

      Reply
  • Jennifer S July 29, 2017 at 1:31 am

    First of all, your daughter is adorable.

    We have homeschooled for years and one of our favorite homeschool traditions is celebrating the first “Blustery Day” of the fall. They would come out and see the wind and rain and see the television set up and run back into their rooms to put their pajamas back on. I set up the television with “The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh” and got their hot chocolate ready and we would spend the morning watching the movie and then reading a favorite book. It made our homeschool feel cozy and always blessed them to know that they had their own special holiday.

    Reply
    • kamieberry July 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you! You’re making me wish we had blustery days here in Florida. That tradition sounds lovely!

      Reply
    • kamieberry July 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
  • The Dirty Living Co. July 29, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Some great ideas for maintaining certain traditions while making the transition to homeschooling!

    Reply
  • AutumninAtlanta July 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Love this! Traditions are always great to implement for our children.

    Reply
  • Amanda August 2, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    These are great ideas! I love traditions and I can see how your kids would love to feel like their first day of school was like everyone else’s 🙂

    Reply

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