Whatever school looks like for you this year, might I suggest that you continue some of your normal back to school routines? You can most definitely still have a lot of fun with this. Here are some ideas!
This post contains pictures of my grown-up kids back when they were little. Remember these guys?!
We’re starting our 18th year of homeschooling. Every year before we officially begin a new school year we:
- Order books and basically have an unboxing party when they come in! (Read: excitedly spread books and materials ALL OVER THE FLOOR. This is one mess that mom doesn’t care about and most certainly contributes to.)
- Make school supply lists for each kid and go shopping together – and yes. I make them pose in the school supply aisle for our annual picture. Then we go out for a fun lunch. (Said lunch used to include free kids meals which made the final bill very small. Now? I don’t want to talk about it.)
- Have a special prayer time the night before our first school day.
Numbers 1 and 3 can easily be accomplished even with COVID. We’ll have to get creative about accomplishing #2 – but WE WILL DO THIS IN SOME FORM. I love this family tradition too much to nix it.
Back to School Routines – How to Make them FUN this year!
Consider what your family typically does in the weeks before a new school year starts. While some of you may be distance learning or homeschooling for the first time this year – if at all possible, still do your traditional back to school “things.” I’m guessing your kids are longing for some sort of “normal” and most certainly they need something to look forward to if you’ve all been stuck at home for months and months. Here are some ideas:
Shop for clothes.
Even if your kids don’t need as many school clothes this year. Even if you can’t actually go to the store. Online shopping works. New shirts are fun. And the excitement of picking out some new items as a fresh school year begins may be a nice pick-me-up for your kids!
What about picking out new school supplies?
A new school year means new pencils. Folders. Notebooks. Make a list of what each child needs, even if the list is minimal, and let them be a part of choosing their new items if possible. Perhaps find a fun basket or tray to house all of their supplies. Maybe set up an inviting schooling area in your home.
Something for lunches?
If your kids are used to packing a lunch every day for school, but will instead be eating lunch every day at home, I think it’s a nice idea to allow them to suggest some fun lunch items they might like as a new school year begins. Hopefully, this will double as a win for the parents who likely need some easy lunch foods ready to grab out of the fridge as you all settle into a new routine!
Ah, the extracurriculars…
Many of them are canceled for the fall. So is there a way you might be able to organize something active and safe for the kids in your neighborhood? Or at the very least, make a plan for your family to do something active and creative together in the afternoons or evenings. If your kids are into music or drama – come up with says to sing and act. Make videos. Play charades. Be intentional. Have fun.
The last hurrah
Our family has had this tradition for 17+ years and by golly, I’m going to figure out how to keep it going this year too. (Why yes I do plan to make Asa drive from out of town to meet us for this. Even though he’s done with college. Even though he’s fully adulting with a full time job and a retirement plan. I’ll buy him something for his work or for his house?? Whatever gets him here.) :)
As I mentioned above, our tradition is that every year we make a list of school supplies we need, go shopping together, then eat lunch at Runza, our local favorite fast food restaurant. Since we almost never eat out, this is always a huge treat.
It’s worth noting that our years of school supply shopping have gone from crayons and glue sticks to college dorm rugs and trashcans and…back to crayons and glue sticks. This year we’ll be shopping for both (school kids 1st grade through college senior!!).
Can we actually make this last hurrah happen? Taking our huge tribe to the store for shopping together this year may not be an option. So I’m brainstorming for how we can still shop together somehow. Runza is a given, because at the very least we can go to the drive thru and eat our food together at home. Hmmm….
That little baby looking at his kindergarten school list is heading to college in one week.
I’m not crying. You’re crying.
Start a new tradition!
So this year is different. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. Be an example to your kids by letting them know how excited you are about some of the fun changes this year brings! Brainstorm with your family for ways to celebrate this new school year – different though it may be. Ice cream for dinner the night before school starts? Popcorn and prayer time as you head into a new year? New pajamas for everyone for the first day of homeschool? Vote on a homeschool mascot? Be creative – have fun!
Here’s to a great new school year!
God is biggest. And because of this, we can count on many great blessings as we head back to school!