Monday, August 11, 2014

Ideas for the New School Year



School Box or Time Capsule...
Make a school box that you'll add to each year (or a separate "time capsule" each year)... Either hide the capsule to open at the end of the year, or tuck it away to open years in the future. The contents may include some of the ideas listed below. 


A Hand Tracing or Hand Print
At the beginning of each school year, trace your child's hand or make a hand print, then cut it out & laminate. I got the idea from Crissy's Crafts, although her idea is a little different, and goes along with the book "The Kissing Hand ." I love the idea of doing one hand each year then keeping them on a ring to see how they grow each year! 


Height String 
Also cut a piece of string equal to your child's height and put it in the box. Or, if you have a chart of some sort then you can mark their height on it. 


A Completed Questionnaire 

At the beginning of each school year, have children fill out a yearly survey... This will be fun to look at in the future, especially if you can compare how the answers change from year to year. Here is a downloadable copy of my questionaire. Here's what it looks like: (the downloadable file doesn't have my website name on it) 




A picture of your child... 
Either go to the back yard and snap a quick photo, or if you're like me and like to overly-think how to do it creatively, here are a few other ideas... Have the child lay beside their grade written in sidewalk chalk (posted here), or holding a chalkboard sign with what they currently want to be when they grow up (posted here), or holding a sign with their hand-written name to see how their writing changes over the years

Another cute idea I've seen is a picture within a picture showing the first and last day of school each year (posted here), or taking the photo in front of a large, neutral background giving you room to write in things they like (my favorite... posted here and all over pinterest!). 

I also think it's nice to get a shot of all the kids together... (posted here) The second one cracks me up! 



Back-To-School Breakfast..
Start the year off by celebrating with an extra-special breakfast... whether it be serving favorites at home or going to Krispy Creme... whatever it is should be a special, out-of-the-ordinary treat that can be your fun yearly tradition to start out the school year with a bang. Dads may even want to join in on the fun if they're able. Here's a back-to-school celebration breakfast (posted here), Cake Batter Pancakes (if you're ok with getting the kids sugared up- posted with recipe here), and Icecream Waffles (a festive, healthier alternative to the Cake Batter Pancakes... posted here). 


School Supplies..
Let the children help make or decorate a certain school supply to be used during the year. Or just take them shopping to pick out their own new ones. 


Back-To-School Blip..
If you have video capability on your camera, shooting a quick blip of the kids together saying hi & starting out the school year each year would also be a neat keepsake to have from year-to-year. 


Back-To-School Party or Field Trip...
If you start home schooling after public schools start, some party places will be deserted like splash pads, parks, etc. If you start before they do then be sure to take a "fun day" when the other kids start school. Load up a picnic and head to the park to enjoy some nature study. Take along journals, pencils, binoculars, camera, etc. Or, just go on a fun field trip. The point is, while other kids are stuck in a boring classroom, you get to have fun being out-and-about!

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Back-to-School Brainstorming for Mom & Dad... 
Some things to re-consider each year: 

  • What ways do each of your children learn best?
  • (consider their learning style... has it changed since last year?)
  • What things do you want to accomplish this year?
  • What things do they want to accomplish this year?
  • What worked well last year and what didn't?
  • What were the best things about the last school year that you want to repeat or include more this year?
  • Review your educational philosophy




Back-to-School Brainstorming for The Kids...
Ask your kids each year: What would you like to be knowledgeable in by the end of the year? (So you can be sure to include it in your plans.... If it's totally off topic from anything you've got going already, consider taking a break from your regular school plans at some point and having a special unit study all about their chosen subject.) 

Name about three weaknesses you'd like to overcome by the end of the year. (This can be physical, mental, spiritual, etc... anything they see as a hindrance to them that they'd like to overcome... from unable to shoot a free throw to a bad habit... anything.) 


Making Goals... 
Some moms like to write out yearly goals and present them at the beginning of the year. These goals can reflect both what's important to you and them, and help the children to take on an active role in their education by letting them work with you to accomplish them. 

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