The First Day of Homeschooling
There is one major difference between homeschoolers and public schoolers. Public school kids are beginning to get jittery about their next teachers and are getting excited about seeing old friends again. Back-to-school excitement is in full swing. But what about the kids who aren't going back to school? Same old teacher. . . same old social life. . .how do you get homeschoolers excited about the upcoming school year?
Whether it's their first year of homeschooling or their ninth, there are ways to help homeschoolers become excited about the school year. One way is to look at the things public school parents do to build toward the big day.
Public school kids are shopping for new clothes. Now, admittedly, our kids usually prefer to come to school in
their pajamas, but consider budgeting for one killer socialization outfit. While you're shopping, let them choose a backpack, essential when you study on the road, pencils, notebooks and other school supplies that are usually on sale at this time of year. Younger children might love to choose the all-important lunch box in which to pack field trip lunches. Children who were in public school before might even want to pack lunch when they are just eating at home. Those school supplies are a traditional ritual, and there is no reason for homeschooled kids to miss out on them.
When I was a little girl, I lived across the street from my school. My friends and I used to love to go over to the school the week before it started and help the teacher set up our new classrooms. It built excitement as we decorated and talked to the teacher about the upcoming year. When we arrived on the first day, we took great pride in looking around at the classroom and seeing our own contributions. Homeschooling parents can easily create this experience. Visit your local school supply store and choose a few decorations that fit your school curriculum-borders, posters and so on. Ask the children to make some as well. Decorate some area of your house with previews of the coming year.
Let your children help plan your curriculum. This is one preparation the public schools can't match. For instance, younger children might be asked to make a list of things they want to learn about in science. You can work together to choose the topics you want to study. Then go to the school supply store to find unit studies on the topics. Older children might even help you search the internet for lesson plans and web pages. Brainstorm ideas for projects and visit the tourist bureau for field trip ideas.
Finally, build suspense. Come home with mysterious packages they can't peek into. Let them catch you making things for school that you quickly try to hide, saying they are a surprise for school. Make big plans for the first day of school-special lesson plans, a big craft, lunch out or whatever makes it fun.