It’s the first day of school! Your social media feeds are bursting with pictures of cute preschoolers, and sweet elementary students (and perhaps some reluctant middle and high school children) all dressed in brand-spanking-new clothes. You can see the excitement in their eyes as they pose on the front porch or at the bus stop.
Your children? They probably haven’t even left the house yet, and there’s a good chance they are still in their pajamas. For whatever reason, you’ve opted out of traditional schooling. In fact, because you can set your own schedule, everyone else’s first day of school may not even be yours! You may not start until after Labor Day, or maybe you’ve already started. Whatever the case may be, don’t let the blues creep in over the deluge of photos that you aren’t necessarily a part of. Take advantage of your situation and make the most of everyone else’s first day of school with these ideas.
1. Skip School
This one is obvious. Just because everyone else is doing school today, doesn’t mean that your kids have to. If skipping school entirely isn’t possible for scheduling reasons, go light or take a half-day if you can.
2. Hit the Pool
If it’s still warm enough, head to your neighborhood pool or splash park. If it has cooled down too much, find a local indoor pool. Whichever you choose, you’ll have the water all to yourself. No lines for the slide or diving board!
3. Take a Field Trip
Head out to your local amusement park, zoo, museum or other field trip location. All those places that are swarming with children over the summer are going to be quite vacant today. Also, because it’s the first day of school, there aren’t going to be any school field trips there either. Take advantage of the emptiness, and enjoy yourselves at these near-deserted venues. Can’t make it a big field trip day? Visit your neighborhood park instead for a low-key, local field trip.
4. Have Fun with Friends
Host a Not Back to School Party. If you already know someone who throws one, then join with them in the fun. You can hit the pool, play at a park, take a field trip together, or just play games or watch movies at your house (or theirs). Elaborate or low-key, the choice is yours for how to celebrate that you are NOT going back-to-school that day.
5. Have a Special Breakfast or Brunch
Take some extra time this morning and cook a special late breakfast or brunch. Depending on the ages of your children, they can help, too. Try a pancake or waffle bar (with various toppings), breakfast burrito bar, or bake Grandma’s special blueberry muffins.
If cooking is not in your repertoire (maybe you even burn toast), you can always celebrate by purchasing your child’s favorite cerealyou know, that one with the annoying character on the front and way too much sugar. You can also combine this Special Breakfast with a Field Trip and dine out for breakfast instead. You can even let your kids go in their pajamas for extra fun!
6. It’s Okay to Have Doubts
If seeing your social media feed makes you question your decision to homeschool, you are not aloneespecially if this is your first year homeschooling. Instead of focusing on the shining, excited eyes of your friends’ children, take a look at your children. Look in their eyes and imagine the wonderful opportunities and experiences you will have with them this year. Remind yourself of the reasons you chose to opt out of traditional schooling. Take some time and read a few articles about homeschooling, or read a few pages in your favorite homeschooling book for inspiration.
7. Photo Shoot
Finally, DO take a picture anyway. They can wear new clothes while modeling on the porch…. Or they can wear what they’ve worn all summer while standing against your living room wall…. Or you might even snap a sneaky photo of them still sleeping at 8am. Take a picture for posterity (and social media, too).
Hopefully, these ideas will make your not-back-to-school day a fun and joyful experience.
For more information about non-traditional schooling, check out Homeschooling Curriculum Options or Finding the Best Learning Environment For Your Child.
Photo Credit: Project 52: Week 33 – Back to School by Angelia Sims (CC BY 2.0), School Day and IMG_1699 by Isabelle Acatauassú Alves Almeida (CC BY 2.0), Stefani, Bullseye by Jake Jung (CC BY 2.0), Dani, Becca