10 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of School

Today’s post is sponsored by: FBS Books – Homeschool Curriculum, Preschool Resources, Great Books to Strengthen Mommies

photo by avolore

I don’t know about you, but the first day of school at my house isn’t always greeted with excitement — by the kids or myself.

There is no promise of catching up with friends not seen all summer, no new clothes to wear (because it’s still way too stinkin’ hot to wear all the cute fall clothes on sale), and new pencils and crayons can only create so much excitement in a kid, especially as they get older.

I confess, I’m very guilty of the first day of school being just the day we sit down and resume formal seat work. No fanfare. No excitement. And, honestly? That’s no fun for anyone.

This year, I’m sincerely going to try to make the first day of school something to look forward to at least a little bit. Following are some ideas that I’m considering :

1. Back-to-school Pool Party. We actually did this last year with another family who does it every year…except, I don’t think it was our first day of school. It was the public school’s first day of school, which meant the pool was basically deserted. Still, if you start school after the public schools do, it could make a fun day to spend together as a family before diving back in (pun totally intended) to formal learning.

2. Special Breakfast. Okay, granted, with my late sleepers, they’d be more impressed with a special lunch. Still, we rarely go out for breakfast. It could be fun to visit our local Shoney’s for their breakfast bar or hit one of the fast food places for those special breakfast treats that we’re never up early enough to enjoy.

Or, you know, you could actually fix a special breakfast — or lunch — at home.

photo by theogeo

3. School Pictures. Yes, this one is more for us moms since it probably won’t excite the kids too much. However you will treasure these photos in years to come as you look back and see how much your kids have changed from year to year. Make it even more special by making a point to always take the pictures at a special location.

4. Field Trip. The very first year we homeschooled, our first day of school was a field trip. We visited the downtown area of our city and walked around visiting all the cool places that you never really take time to see when you live in a city. We still remember the highlights of that day.

Our trip was partly because we were going to be studying something related, but mostly because I wanted to start off showing Brianna how fun homeschooling could be. While her friends were sitting around in a boring classroom, we were out wandering around the city.

Sadly, it’s like when a couple starts dating and they expend a lot of energy trying to impress each other. Then, they get married and start neglecting the relationship. It’s time for homeschool to start dating our family again.

5. Back-to-School Party. It would probably be hard to plan a back-to-school party that would coincide with everyone’s first day of school, but if you’re doing the planning, it could coincide with your kids’ first day of school.

Every year our homeschool group has a back-t0-school party. It’s always a pot-luck deal at a local park/playground. Easy to plan and lots of fun.

6. Serve Others. Start off the year demonstrating a heart for others. Bake cookies and take them to your local fire hall or police station. Serve meals at a soup kitchen. Take toiletries to a homeless shelter or participate in a backpacks for kids program.

7. School Supplies. Instead of Mom doing all the back-to-school shopping, take the kids along (during the day before it gets insane) and let them pick out their school supplies while the crayon, markers and notebooks are ridiculously cheap. Think about #6 above and pick up some extras for stuffing Operation Christmas Child boxes later in the year.

photo by jonathan garcia

8. Visit the Library. Yes, you probably did that over the summer, too, but now that you have a course of study in mind, let the kids pick out related books that will capture their interest. You might also check into getting a tour of the library if you’ve never done so. Your kids can learn how to find their own books (if they don’t already know), how the Dewey Decimal System works, and they can find out about any special resource rooms your library may offer.

9. Picnic. Load up a picnic, head out to a park, and enjoy some nature study. Take along your journals, pencils, binoculars, camera and other nature study paraphernalia.

10. Games. I’m a big believer in the power of learning through games. My kids still realize that it’s school, but even the most cynical among them (I won’t name names) will admit that games are still more fun that your average seatwork. So, why not start the year off with some fun review and enjoy some games as you brush up on facts.

What about you? What are some ways that you enjoy celebrating the first day of school?

Kris is the sweet-tea-drinking, classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason mom to her three Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She chronicles her transformation from morbidly obese couch potato to runner on her fitness blog, Eclipsed.


More about FBS Books, which is owned and operated by a homeschooling family:

We are the second generation of being a family owned and operated small business located in Orlando, Florida.

We love books and love to read and we are constantly working on putting items on our website that have impacted us personally as well as books that we are excited to read soon.

Our children are ages 10, 7, 5, and 1. It is a full life that I love, but I know how much good books can be a means of grace for my own soul to help equip me for this task of being a wife, mother, and teacher. I would love to pass that on to others as they are ordering their curriculum over the summer.

We try and offer the most competitive prices that we can, even with being a small company. We are right there with you, homeschooling three of our children and know how hard it is to find great curriculum at great prices. We strive to not only give you great prices, but great service as well.

Kris Bales
Kris, who blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, is a homeschooling mom to three amazing kids and wife to her unbelievably supportive husband. She enjoys photography, running, and drinking sweet tea. You can connect with Kris on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.


  1. says

    I love your blog. I don’t home-school my three children because my hubby works from home and needs quiet (hilarious concept with a big family and small house, right? I wish we laughed more about it.) but I love to incorporate what you do with what they are learning at school. I just did a post on what the library offers for back to school, would be honored if you came over and checked it out (the library is my bloggy passion, I don’t work for them, but I probably should). xoxo michele


    • says

      Yes, during our first few years of homeschooling my husband worked 3rd shift, so I fully understand how hard it is to keep kids quiet during the day. We practically did cartwheels through the house when he went on 1st and we didn’t have to be quiet anymore.

  2. says

    I love these ideas.

    We are making muffins and taking pictures this year. :) The kids are pretty excited though, they really like starting school (for now).

  3. says

    Great ideas! We are starting back today also — we’re celebrating with a special breakfast (for the kids) and clean and sorted book shelves (for mom!). Here is to another great year!

  4. says

    We’ve never had a first day of school as homeschoolers (YET!) but these are all great ideas. My kids are old enough to participate in the decision making, so I’d love to get their ideas of what they’d think was fun and incorporate them into the first day. That would be memorable for all of them I think!

  5. Jamie @ Ser Jamie Blog says

    Great ideas! We’ll be easing into the school year starting next week so maybe I’ll incorporate some of these ideas. And I totally didn’t think about extra school supplies for the OCC shoeboxes we do every year, so I’ll be headed back to the store!

  6. says

    Love your ideas! We usually do breakfast out with dad, because although I iften cook a nice breakfast, we NEVER go out for breakfast! Usually followed with a run to staples where everyone gets $5 and can load up on their own stash of notebooks, crayons,highlighters, etc. We usually don’t do much “school” our first day, just enjoy the fact that we can kickoff our schoolyear any way we want to.
    We might try the pool party idea this year.

    • says

      We’re the same way about never going out for breakfast. I think that’s one thing that makes it so much fun. Enjoy your school year!

  7. says

    I LOVE these ideas-I want to do them all. My family is in transition right now because my husband just lost his job. Because of that we are putting all curriculum purchases on hold and looking at a possible major move (1200 miles away), which, as you can imagine, can put a damper on our school-starting plans. But these are just such great ideas. I especially love the line “It’s time for homeschool to start dating our family again.” Yes!

    And from the sounds of it-you and I have very similar homeschooling techniques. We also are classically leaning, eclectic homeschoolers, with a bit of Charlotte Mason thrown in for good measure. Which works well with our current situation-we don’t need much more than a library card and a walk around the block for a good curriculum!

    • says

      Homeschool started dating my family again today. 😉 It was a great first day, as agreed by everyone. Tomorrow when it’s regular bookwork may be another story, but today was a huge hit.

  8. says

    We used to kick of the year with a Not-Back-to-School picnic at a local park with our homeschool group. It was a chance for us to declare our independence from “school” strictures (yes, we can learn and socialize and have fun at a park at 11 am on a Tuesday); it was also a chance for the homeschool parents to connect and plan activities for the year.

  9. Samantha says

    My first son and I will be starting the homeschool journey for the first time. I will be doing a K curriculum with him. To create excitement for the first day, I created a colorful paper chain. He gets to rip off a link each day, and then I have him practice counting the remaining links. He’s having a ton of fun with it and can’t wait to tear off each one every day. Plus, it gives him a visual of when schools begins and helps mommy prepare as well.

  10. says

    These are all great tips! We are going to have Breakfast with the Principal (aka daddy) this year, then head out for First Day of School pics in a new First Day of School outfit. Instead of new lunchboxes, backpacks, etc., that aren’t necessary for homeschooling, I am going to let each of them pick out a new water bottle to use at home. I also think we will make some mini muffins and attach them, in the baggie, to a pencil to give to the kids at the bus stop next to our house to wish them a great first day back to public school, since they start the same day we do.

    • says

      That is such a sweet idea about giving muffins to the public school kids at the bus stop! I love that. Our ps kids start late this year because of the tornadoes in our area earlier this year (still doing repairs on the school). We should do something like that.

  11. says

    I love these ideas. We always do the beginning of the year pictures which is kind of funny since we school more year round than anything but it is nice to see the change in kids with each additional year.

  12. says

    Great ideas! One of our homeschool groups is having a pool party the day after the public schools start and our other homeschool group is having a back-to-school party at a local park. We’ll also make a special breakfast (my daughter has requested pecan sticky buns).

  13. Angie says

    We always start our homeschooling year by having a “teacher-student conference” (as opposed to public school’s parent-teacher conferences). Our student gets to pick a place of her choice for the meeting. When she was younger it was usually a donut shop. Now that she’s in high school it’s usually Starbucks 😉 ! We use this time to discuss the class/curriculum that is set up for the year. Is there anything she’d like to add? Things she’d like to try. We set goals, etc. Then forthe last day of school we do the same thing, only a review of the year. It really helps get her involved.

  14. says

    We go out for ice cream after we’re done for the day. Grandma joins us and the kiddos get to tell her about their “first day”.

  15. Holly says

    I home school my two kids and this last school year was my first . I took pictures outside for their first day of school , made breakfast, and tried to make it as special as possible throughout the year. For a “yearbook” I did a scrapbook and it included notes they wrote me friendly letter their friends wrote them , ect .

  16. Noreen McTague says

    One year I put up balloons and steamers throughout (what I call) our schoolroom. The kids loved it.

  17. Corrine says

    Great ideas!! I think we may do the picnic one this year – with my kids’ ages (8, 4, and 3) I think they will enjoy that one the best :) Thank you!!