I heard a homeschool mama talk about her favourite day of the year: the first day of studies! The anticipation of a new study year with freshly sharpened pencils, new books, unopened notebooks, pretty binders, and always a box of Smarties to make the kids a little smarter, is one of my favourite days of the year too.
Here are some activities we do on this special day:
- Dictionary game. A race to a word. Here’s why: so they know where the dictionaries are, I can introduce new vocabulary, and it’s an easy game that kids of all ages can do (well, ‘reading’ kids anyway).
- Sign the sibling constitution. Yes, we really do this. No, it’s not adhered to like a legal document, but it is a good reminder of how we want to engage our siblings. “We, the Wiedrick siblings, in order to form a more healthy relationship and have a happier home, do solemnly intend to do the following: help a sibling out, take turns and share, never borrow anything without tasking first, return borrowed items promptly in the same condition they started in, respect each other’s privacy, always knock before entering each others’ rooms, give each other space when friends are over. No spying or tagging along, try to talk out problems and solve disagreements, listen to each other side without interrupting, take responsibility instead of blaming each other, treat each other with kindness, respect, and forgiveness.”
- Discuss emotional health and emotional self-care. An ongoing process for all of us, but if there is a useful lifelong educational tool, it is definitely this one.
- Biographical dictionary introduction. Yes, Wikipedia is a useful tool, but I like to reinforce that so are actual paper books like a biographical dictionary. (Though, anyone after 2000 doesn’t exist in my present version, ha.)
- Pepper our day with back 2 school jokes. Cause it’s fun. Cheesy, but fun.
- Discuss “how I learn” questions. Both for the purpose of getting the kids to think about how they learn best and for me to reconsider our academic goals for the year, we discuss these six questions: what are you passionate about, how do you want to be recognized, what do you see as your greatest strength, what will a successful school year look and feel like at the end of the year, what are the characteristics you want in a teacher?
- Back 2 school time capsules. With ‘dear future me’ letters. Just for fun.
- Decorate our room. This year we’re buying a periodic table poster and a stringing up the numbers of Pi (well, obviously not ALL the numbers of Pi).
- M & M games. This game always works. Take a red, tell me something about yesterday, take an orange, tell me something you do well, take a yellow, tell me something about your childhood, take a blue, tell me something you learned last week, take a brown, tell me something you can’t live without, take a green, tell me something you have watched or listened to lately.
- Starbucks fall drinks (cause we gotta).
- Write 50 things you did last summer list. An introductory writing project and I just find this fun.
- Pre-make waffles for easy breakfasts. I’m not into waffles myself, but the kids like to have freezer waffles on hand (that actually taste good), so they make dozens.
- Put together a jar of bookworms for afternoon reading time (gummy worms), a jar of jeopardy candy (for Friday funday) and a tray of apple sugar cookies or apple slices with pb, choco chips and coconut for tea and reading.
- Decorate the homeschool room with the numbers from PI, multiplication flashcards, pom poms or the Periodic Table of Elements.
- Take new grade photos…