The best part of going back to school when I was young was getting new school supplies. Yes, just about everyone can say they liked that part but usually they mean the back pack and clothes. Maybe even a fun trapper keeper. Me, I was all about the new pens and pencils and notebooks and the ideas and things I could put in them.
When I first started homeschooling my kids, I was sad because I thought
maybe my kiddos would miss out on this yearly tradition.
Would they need back to school shopping?
What would they be excited over getting new every year when most supplies we still had?
Why would my kiddos be excited over pens?
Well, yes they are definitely my kids and yes, they are very excited. They didn’t seem as excited when they were younger but back then a packet of construction paper and a glue stick had them smiling all week. This year they showed me that they so very much love back to school shopping. so I got to wondering
What are so fun back to school things to get and to do?
Fun with Supplies
One simply cannot talk about back to school and building excitement without talking about supplies. We have already talked about the fun we had with it while we were kids and now some of the same excitement our kids are having. So what supplies did my kids get that they were crazy excited over?
-Back pack: While we do not buy new ones every year and we certainly do not need them all the time, back packs are extremely helpful. We use them when we need to do “truck schooling” on the way to appointments. We use them when we want to take school to the park and we use them when someone has decided to try to skip school that day and the whole family needs to run errands. That kid gets to try and do it at store and such instead of look around.
-Notebooks: Now, I tried the whole binder thing and in my house that was just laughable. Even with reinforced pages the papers didn’t even last a week. My kids are very active, tumbly, exuberant beings. Binder work was lost work. We stick to spiral notebooks now. My kiddos LOVE picking out fun and colorful notebooks for each subject and this gets them excited for the information they will fill that notebook with. I will say, this year my older boy decided to get a 5 star 3 subject in one cloth spiral notebooks with removable subject dividers. He has some fun notebooks for his fun stuff he likes to write down but he wanted to try and keep all core school work together.
-Pens: Oh how we love pens. I personally am a G2 pen lover and the more colors I can find, the happier I am. This year I think I found 9 different colors lol. My kiddos, they are all about Frixion pens. Have you heard of them? I learned about them on youtube from another home school mom but these pens are fully erasable gel pens. FULLY ERASABLE! There is no smear or anything left over and they are a dream. My youngest does his math in a green frixion pen and doesn’t argue anymore. The two oldest use them for notes all the time. My daughter is definitely my blood though because she spends a decent amount of time alternating what color she wants to take notes in every other paragraph. We get Very excited about pens.
-Personal Art: I cannot say enough that we are an artistic family. This means that our personal art supplies are Very important to us. Every year I get my kids a new spiral bound, hard cover sketch book. Yes, these are filled up by my kiddos, sometimes not even halfway through the year. My older boy is all about pencil drawings and schematics so his art picks were drawing pencils, rulers/drawing guides, and high quality erasers. My daughter is my little painter so she picked up some refills for her paints, new paint brushes, and her first set of oils this year. My youngest is my builder so he needs a variety. He is the one who still uses construction paper and glue sticks but he also needs more hot glue sticks (for his metal and cardboard builds) sharp scissors and a new ruler because he broke his last.
-Index Card books: Finally, we found some fun index card booklets. These could technically fit in a back pocket as long as the jeans are not girl cut, lol. We found some ring bound index card holders that were so cute. My older boy picked one with open mouthed sharks all over it, my daughter picked a colorful paint splashed looking one, and my youngest picked one with dinosaurs all over it. These are going to be used for our daily word review flip through. They will have curriculum vocabulary words and foreign language words they are learning in them.
Fun with back to school traditions
What would a back to school post be without talking about traditions? Yes, back to school shopping is one of those traditions but I’m focused more on the fun extra things done to celebrate the new school year. While in the past we have not been consistent with any one thing, we have a tradition of doing Something every year. There are many possibilities and you can do one or do them all. The whole point is to get the kiddos (and you) excited about the new year.
-Back to School Breakfast: This is probably the tradition I do most often. My kiddos love when I cook for them and so I will do a large breakfast for back to school. We have done bacon, sausage links, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, muffins, English muffin egg stacks, and many more in a variety of combinations. I try to have something fun and edible for the kids to decorate their breakfast with. One year I let them use strawberry and chocolate syrup to draw pencils and books on their pancakes. The point here for us is that we have good food together and we talk about things we are excited to learn about in the new year.
-Back to School Pictures: These do not happen as regularly as I would like but last year I did pictures up in the mountains with my kiddos and I LOVED how they turned out. They grow so fast and you can really see the change when you look back at the first day of school pictures. I have seen some families do their pictures on their front porch every year, some families go to the orchards the beginning of every year, and some families take a hike and find a pretty place to take pictures on the way. This is one tradition I intend to repeat this year.
-First Day of School Art project: Did I mention we are artistic? We LOVE art. This of course means one of our favorite things to do each year is a new art project. While my kiddos were small I had them do finger paintings every year. As they got older I would ask them to draw or paint something that made them happy or that they loved. Now that all my kiddos are middle school age (when did that happen??) we are upping our game. Last year we did group tie dye shirts and had a blast with it. This year I think we are going to try to make the sharpie galaxy shoes project or maybe do a paper mache creation.
-Who am I? Papers: The last suggestion I have is to fill out the “who am I” papers you see floating around pintrest and teachers-pay-teachers. These typically are for classroom students to fill out and share to help get to know each other but these are Wonderful mementos to look back on. It’s fun for you kiddos to look back on too. My older boy personally cannot understand how he used to love Little Einsteins so much when he was in first grade. My daughter loves that for the most part, her chosen future job has stayed the same. She wants to work with animals. My youngest loves that every year his tends to be done completely in the color green, even scribbled over fully the first year he did it in K3.
Have a BLAST with Back to School
Back to school can be an overwhelming and daunting time for us and can be for our kiddos too if we are not careful. Having fun and building up excitement every year before the new school year starts is the best way to keep stress, tension and anxieties down while building life long memories with your kiddos. The current status of our society makes these fun ideas even more important. The fun helps our kids stop worrying and start being excited and that is what we need to help them learn fun and wonderful things. No matter what gets you and your kiddos excited, no matter how you and your family celebrate a new school year, be sure to do something and share smiles with each other.
Enjoy the journey.
Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we’ve been doing this for 9 years now. I am also a military spouse, so we have the added joys and some of the complications that come with it. As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs, or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.