As parents we’re often excited to jump right into a new school year and immerse our kids in all the learning we have planned. But our kids may benefit from a gentle start to the homeschool year, especially if they’re still in summer mode. Choose one or two of these ideas to start a back to school tradition that everyone can look forward to.

1. Special Breakfast

Start the day off right with a traditional back to school meal. Deciding on a favorite that you can have year after year builds a tradition everyone can look forward to. Maybe homemade cinnamon rolls, blueberry pancakes, or a special feast cooked up by Dad! You could even go out to breakfast.

2. Back to School Supplies

Wrapping up some special craft supplies or new books to open when your kids wake up builds a sense of joyous anticipation for the first day of school. It’s almost like Christmas morning!

3. Beach Day or Nature Hike

Setting aside the first day of school for a fun adventure is a great way to drum up enthusiasm for the coming year. You might try revisiting one of your favorite summer haunts now that all the other kids are in school for the day.

4. Library

Start your school day with a trip to the library to choose some new books. Or schedule in some library time before your afternoon rest time or quiet time so that everyone has some fresh reads to enjoy on the first day of a new routine. You could even end the day with a library trip as a motivator for getting through your school work.

5. Picnic Lunch

Take an extended break in the middle of the day with a picnic lunch at a favorite park or nature spot. Pack some favorite treats to make it extra special.

6. Service Project

Collecting backpacks or school supplies for kids in need, passing out homemade cards or crafts at a nursing home, or serving a meal at a soup kitchen are all great ways to volunteer together. Reminding your children that you are on a mission together as a family is a great way to set the tone for the school year.

7. Soft Start

Sometimes easing into the new school year is best for everyone. For the first few days (or weeks) just focus on getting into the routine of one or two subjects. Or if you’re starting a morning basket ritual, do just morning time for a few days. Then add additional subjects on once everyone gets the hang of it. Beginning the year with half days or a shorter school week can also get everyone into the new rhythm gently.

8. Back to School Sundaes

When everyone finishes their school work for the day, celebrate with ice cream sundaes. Whether you make your own at home with everyone choosing their favorite toppings or you go to a favorite ice cream shoppe, a sweet treat is great thing to look forward to at the end of the day.

9. Fun Field Trip

The first day of school is a great time to visit that museum, zoo or aquarium you’ve been wanting to try. You may find you have the whole place to yourself!

10. First Day of School Pictures

Document the first day with a back to school photo op. We’ve got free printable signs for each grade level for you to download here. It’s so fun to see how your kids grow and change over the years!

Whether your first day goes as planned or not, a fun back to school tradition will give you special memories to look back on together.

This post is Part Three of our Back to Homeschool series. Check out some of our other new Back to School articles below:

First Day of School Printable Pack with Signs

5 Strategies for Back to School Success

Begin the New Year Thanking God for Your Homeschool

How to Set Up Your Homeschool Space for Maximum Learning

Stocking the Pantry with Self-Serve Snacks for Your Homeschool

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Aimee grew up among the cornfields of rural Michigan, where she was captivated by Jesus as a teenager and married her high school sweetheart. Together they moved to New England, chasing dreams of ministry, and landed in a city by the beach where they homeschool their two children together. Aimee has a Master's degree in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She enjoys exploring new places, reading great stories, and enjoying the outdoors with her family.