The start of a new school year is always exciting, but it is also daunting. Both homeschooling moms and in-school teachers are busy getting classrooms, school supplies, and lesson plans ready for a new year of learning. However, in any space for learning, there are some dos and don’t on the first day of homeschool. It is so very important that the first day of the school promotes the structure you want in your classroom as well as fun. Start school off with the right attitudes, activities, and expectations, and you will certainly make sure you are setting yourself and your students up for a successful school year!
The First Day of School!
One of the best things about homeschooling is that you have an immense amount of flexibility that is not normally present in a traditional classroom. However, with any environment, including a first day of homeschool, some definite dos and don’ts come with the territory.
The Dos on the First Day of Homeschool
1 . Do be Flexible in How They Learn
While there will be certain parts of the day that will require the same structure every day, the first day should promote a feeling of fun interaction with their teacher, which just so happens to be you. For example, maybe you have a storytime set out, and your kids choose a different story. Or possibly, change your worksheet into reader interactions with the kiddos. Whatever you do, just know that you can stay structured while also being flexible with learning.
2 . Do Have Ice Breaker Activities
I do fun icebreaker games with my students in my classroom that include treats like M&Ms, marshmallows, a scavenger hunt, and maybe some trash-ket-ball.
You can do these same activities on the first day of homeschool. Stating off the homeschool year with getting to know your kids better while allowing the same on the flip side. You can always find a ton of great ideas for ice breaker activities on Pinterest or Google that will keep your little ones will love!
3 . Do Take that First Day of School Picture
Many children who attend public school will get that first day of school picture that the parents look forward to, but the kids do not. Make sure that you take the first day of homeschool pictures. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Make all the fuss you want about marking those precious milestones with your children, even if their school is at home.
4 . Do Create an All About Me Poster
Your homeschoolers love telling you about all of the amazing things that they can do! For example, “Look, mom, I can count to 100!” or, “Hey mom, watch me touch my toes!”. Whatever it is, promote all of the things that they love and are proud of up on your classroom wall. The first day of homeschool is the perfect day to allow your little student(s) a chance to display all of the things they love, like their family, pets, and special stuffed animals.
5 . Do Have a Special Treat at the End of the Day
As I said, there is so much flexibility with homeschooling schedules that is simply not available in traditional schools. At the end of your first day, why not have an ice cream treat to celebrate? What’s better than just ice cream…field trips to go get it. Whether your special treatment involves a mini field trip out of the house or something right at home, just be sure to end the first day in a sweet way.
The Don’ts on the First Day of Homeschool
1 . Don’t Feel Like Homeschool Has to be Like SCHOOL
As I have mentioned now several times, you can be more flexible in homeschool. As a public school teacher, I have to think about my classroom protocols and rules and the schools as well as being considerate of other teachers. Being a homeschool teacher, you don’t have to worry about many of those aspects. Primarily, be comfortable in your teaching style that works best with your environment.
2 . Don’t Try to Cover EVERYTHING on the First Day
You may feel the urge to cover all of the important things on the first day of the new school year. Don’t! If you try to do this, your kids will quickly get overwhelmed and tune out whatever you are trying to convey to them. Instead, break up your day into small chunks and include games or coloring. Also, consider breaking up all of those important things into several days during the first week of homeschooling.
3 . Don’t Forget to Plan a Lunch!
It’s basic; however, in the business of all the planning and doing; you make forget to plan lunch for your kids.
Here are some lunch tips: Whatever you plan, be sure to plan something easy and quick as you may not have a whole bunch of time during the school day for extensive meal prep. Possibly, prepare lunch for the week on a Sunday before the week starts, so you don’t have to stress at all during homeschool hours.
4 . Don’t Forget to Create a Schedule
I am aware that I have harped on the immense flexibility of homeschooling, but it’s crazy important to have something or some type of schedule available for both you and the kids to see. Even on that first day of homeschool, it is important to have your day outlined so that you and your kids know exactly what is coming. The reason for this? When kids feel secure in knowing what to expect, they learn better, and when adults feel confident in their schedule, they teach better. A homeschool planner will help you to plan the week, term, or year in advance.
5 . Don’t Forget the Free Printables
The first day of homeschool doesn’t have to come with the stress of re-inventing the wheel for various fun assignments and ideas. Make a point to spend some time online to find some great and free printables for your kids. There are so many fun and good tips and ideas online for homeschoolers that will help you navigate those first few days. Plus, with a pandemic well underway and so many parents now choosing to homeschool over public education, you will find that you can get a ton of printables that will work for your new classroom.
So, in the end, don’t stress about that first day of homeschool. There are a ton of amazing ideas to help ensure the start of your year goes exactly the way you want it to. So whether your homeschoolers are little or big, we wish you the best of school years.