Now that it’s August, we can feel our summer winding down and preparation for fall (and fall homeschool classes) gearing up. It’s a bittersweet time; time to say goodbye to our sweet, lazy summer days, but also time to say hello to new classes, new friends, and new learning opportunities.
We always celebrate this time of year — when the school kids are back in school and homeschoolers suddenly have the parks, the zoo, the Botanical Garden, Fernbank (you get the idea!) to ourselves. We celebrate having space to explore, we celebrate the changing of the seasons, and we celebrate the fact that we get to plan our own learning adventures together.
One thing our family does to celebrate is to go to the annual Not Back to School Party with one of our local homeschool groups. It’s part potluck, part park day, and all fun. And it’s been one of our traditions since I organized the first one way back when my oldest, now-adult son, was about eight years old.
Another way we celebrate is with a special meal on our first day back at classes/lessons. It could be going out for pancakes, having a special brunch at home, or going out for dinner, but we always like to mark the day with a happy, family meal.
And one other tradition we’ve followed for years is to kick off the year with a “School Cone” (Schultüte in German) filled with new school supplies, treats, and little toys. In Germany, it’s done to celebrate the first day of first grade, but we do it every year to celebrate the first day of each new grade. I got the idea from another homeschooling mom about 15 years ago, and we’ve been doing it ever since.