Back to (Home) School Ideas: Seven Ways to Encourage Kids to Get Excited

20 Sep 2017

Back-to-school for kids who go to traditional school means back packs, locker chandeliers, and the school list that we spy other moms trying to fill in the local Walmart. These traditions don’t always work for those of us who school in our PJs.

I wanted my girls to look forward to back-to-school. Here are some ideas that got them excited, and me too!

Joy is the serious business of Heaven. C. S. Lewis

1. Take pictures on the first day.

Go outside. Pictures always look better outside. Don’t be a perfectionist. Try to catch your kids’ personalities. Tell them in advance, so they can plan what to wear. Don’t rush. Let them pose. Be silly; no rules!

Consider taking pictures of a tree in your yard or a view that you see from a kitchen or a schoolroom throughout each season this school year. I have pictures taken that way one year. It is a wonderful way for your family to see the seasons change and to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is also a great way to say goodbye to summer.

Seeing the changes in the seasons has reminded me that spring is a new start, summer is for building, autumn is a time of change, and winter is the time to buckle down and stay the course.

2. Make “Back-to-Home school Bags” for the first day of school.

My kids look forward to this every year. I use pretty or colored gift bags but you could use back-packs or paper lunch bags as well. Ask your kids what they would like for school.

From preschoolers to high schoolers, they may like some of these: gum, candy, sharpened pencils, markers, crayons, paper of their own, journal, stationery, glue sticks, colored pencils, erasers, hot wheels, games, sharpeners, Lego’sTM, hair clips, PezTM candy and dispensers, Life SaversTM, chocolate, socks, pocket knife, snacks, notebooks, calculator, cool pen(s), punching balloons, shaving cream, a special razor, crafts, coupon for classes they want to take, make up, nail polish, a new tooth brush, tooth paste, dollar bills, coupon to a coffee house, homemade coupons, special drinks, or that little something you usually do not let them have. My youngest wanted vitamin water. Who knew?

3. Write a letter to your child addressing things you are looking forward to this year.

You might include character issues you are proud of and ones that need work, a Bible verse for encouragement, thoughts on the new school year, and anything else you would like your child to remember. I have done this every year and what memories they hold! Many of the thoughts I expressed I would have forgotten without the letters.

4. Conspire with your kids to find out what they would like to study during the year.

Then, follow up. Buy a book or check one out from the library and incorporate the subject into your studies. We saw a shark at the beach this past summer, and my youngest is now very interested in sharks. Investigate things that align with your child’s bent. Start slow: don’t do every subject the first week.

5. Ask your kids what they would like to do during the school year.

What would they like to accomplish or try? These ideas can be like a school-year bucket list of goals: field trips, mission trips, theater productions, movies, games, sports, 5Ks, camping, friend dates, etc. We keep these on large index cards and go through them throughout the year to see if we hit our goals.

6. Think about a new perspective on lunch.

Sometimes, I just need a kick start to get inspired. My girls had their own ideas when I asked for suggestions. Google easy lunch ideas.

Making a special breakfast the first day is always appreciated, too. Special treats are something my kids look forward to.

7. Get excited!

The best way I have found to get my kids looking forward to back-to-school is for me to look forward to it. Get organized. Pray for yourself and your homeschool. Make starting anew special. Mention your excitement often. We are so blessed with this opportunity to homeschool, and our gratitude is infectious if we show how blessed we are by our actions and the words that come out of our mouths!

Here is to a successful, prosperous, and most excellent year! Cheers!

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

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