The start of a new school year is just around the corner! Accordingly, this post is chock-full of fun ways to celebrate starting back to school.
Even though, as homeschoolers, our family usually does lessons year-round, I still love the fresh start August brings with regard to co-ops and school supplies and new routines.
I’ve written about some of our family’s Back-to-School traditions before, but when I recently spotted the following message in my inbox, I thought perhaps it was time to do a dedicated post on the topic.
I just found your incredible blog! Wow, Everything for Life Tips!
I saw the tab which had ideas for celebrating Christmas and celebrating other great family holidays/events. Do you have ideas for celebrating Back to School for the children?
The answer is yes, Marianne, I do have a few ideas for celebrating the new school year. And now, thanks to you, all those ideas will be much easier for others to find! Just follow the links below to get the full scoop for each bullet point.
Please note that most of these links to other posts on this blog where you can download the free resources pictured, but a few are affiliate links for which, if you make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Those commissions help support this blog, so thanks!
Resources for Starting your School Year Right:
It’s a good idea to begin every endeavor with prayer, and a new school year is no exception. Use my back-to-school prayer guide as a reminder to pray for your child’s companions, learning, authorities, safety and self-worth.
First Day of School Pictures
I love the idea of taking pictures of your children the first day of school holding signs like these. I never thought to do that when my older ones were little, although I did try to take portraits of them at least once a year to mark how quickly they grew. Good news is, our free printable first day of school signs can be used any day of the year — not just on the first!
Back-to-School Conversation Starters
Use these school-themed discussion prompts to get your kids talking about the things they’re most excited, happy, frightened, or nervous about. Specific, targeted questions draw them out more than the ubiquitous “How was your day?”
Back-to-School Picture Books
Get your little ones excited about starting back to school by reading a few of these school-themed picture books.
Back-to-School Word Scramble
Another fun way to celebrate starting back to school is to challenge your family and friends to see who’ll be first to decipher all the school-themed words in our Back-to-School Word Scramble Game. Maybe you could even offer a prize to the winner. 😊
Back-to-School Chapter Books
Of course, all seven of the Harry Potter books mark the beginning of another school year at Hogwarts. We’ve read those aloud, too, but my hands-down favorite school-themed chapter books are Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Schooled by Gordon Korman.
Kids never grow too old for story time. These two titles make great read-alouds, whether your children are starting back to school or not.
Back-to-School Ice Breaker Bingo
I created a holiday-themed ice breaker bingo game for a Christmas party years ago. Once I realized teachers were downloading it in August to use in their classrooms, I published this back-to school version of the same getting-to-know-you game. (Hint: It’s a fun way to celebrate starting back to homeschool co-ops, too!)
Another of my most popular printables this time of year is my free printable academic calendar. It will let you view the entire school year at a glance — perfect for tracking school holidays, field trips, etc.
Here’s another chart that helps our family stay organized. This weekly schedule lets college students track their class schedule and lets me keep up with extra curricular activities like co-op days, piano lessons, and choir or sport practices.
New Curriculum and Thinking Games
Since most of the curriculum I use for homeschooling basic subjects is non-consumable, I’ve been teaching out of the same textbooks for three decades now. But I do like to buy a few new enrichment-type products each year, like thinking skill games and art kits. Even if your kids spend their day in a traditional classroom, I recommend investing in such resources to keep at home.
My all-time favorite place for finding items of this nature is Timberdoodle. They’ve curated some of the most educational-yet-engaging resources available, and they add a wealth of new products to their catalog every year. Whether you’re looking for a full hands-on, STEM-based curriculum or are only supplementing what your kids are already doing, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing company.
School Supply Shopping
I usually stock up on new pencils, markers, paper, and glue when prices drop before school starts each year. The kids love having fresh, crisp new folders for each of their school subjects, and I love buying them when they’re only 10- to 15-cents apiece.
Rather than scouring newspapers and sales flyers for the best deals, I follow Crystal Paine’s Money Saving Mom blog (click the “blogs” tab in her menu bar to subscribe to her free newsletter). She lets me know when prices drop, and that’s when I buy. (I’ve even ordered a lot of these slashed-priced school supplies through Walmart Grocery Pick-Up and had them delivered directly to my car).
Incidentally, if you need help getting your kids (or yourself) back in the routine for school, I highly recommend Crystal’s Make Over Your Morning and Make Over Your Evening courses. She shares lots of great tips and tricks to make your whole day less stressed and more productive.
One of the easiest ways to celebrate starting back to school and get your kids excited about heading back to class is by hanging our festive Back-to-School Banner. You can do this whether they’ll be schooling at home or sitting in a more traditional classroom.
Back-to-School Table Setting
I thought you might enjoy seeing how my own mother decorates the table for back to school. Isn’t this cute? She uses colored folders as placemats, tucking bright napkins and flatware into the inside pockets. And if you look closely, you’ll see she’s decorated her centerpiece, hutch and bay window with chalkboards, crayons, and other essentials schoolchildren use to do their lessons.
Back-to-School Coloring Sheets
Here’s a couple of free printable coloring pages to encourage your back-to-schoolers to study hard. First, we have a coloring page based on 2 Timothy 2:15 — Study to show yourself approved.
And second, we have a matching coloring page based on 1 Timothy 4:12 — Show yourself an example.
Homeschool Report Cards
If you’re a homeschooler, you can use our free printable report cards to keep track of your student’s marks. Lots of businesses offer rewards for good grades and will accept these report cards as proof from students who qualify.
High School Transcripts
Schooling a high schooler at home? Use our free template to keep track of his coursework and build a 4-year high school transcript
The onset of a new school year is not only a good time for taking portraits, but good for taking measurements, as well.
I have several pretty vintage charts for tracking an individual child’s height and weight changes, but the record I use most faithfully is this plain-jane family growth chart. It lets me keep track of all my children’s measurements on a single page. My little ones love referencing this one, to note how they compare with their older siblings’ heights and weights at the same age.
Whether you are sending your children to another’s classroom or teaching them yourself at home, I pray God’s richest blessings upon your school year. I hope these ways to celebrate starting back to school will bless you with sweet memories together.
If you have friends who would benefit from any of these ideas and resources, I’d love for you to share this post with them by emailing a link or posting on social media. Thanks!