Jumpstarting Your First Day Back of 2013


Happy New Year!! It’s 2013! A new year full of promise and expectation. Of course, this may also bring something akin to dread. Have you ever heard these words? “School again? Do we have to?” Oh yeah, it is time to put away the holiday excitement and batten down the hatches for a long stretch of homeschool! Here are a few ideas that
might make that first day back one that neither you nor the kiddos dread.

First, have a “Last of the Holiday Hoorah Celebration” the night before! Get out the board games and reminisce about the holidays. Allow your kids to dream about what they would love to see happen this year! You will be amazed at what might be ticking in their minds. Don’t limit, just listen! Dreams are stepping stones to goals, which can translate into actions!
Next, treat the first day back like you did the first day of school. We were energized on that first day, took pictures, and shared a fun morning together. You can do this not only for the start of a new school year, but for the first day back of the New Year, too! Here are a few
ways to add a bit of excitement.
  • Enjoy a Breakfast for Champions! Make your child’s favorite breakfast. It might be something you don’t make every day
    or maybe it is that Sunday morning favorite! In either case, it will be a treat to start out the day.
  • After breakfast, talk with your kiddos about the importance of fresh starts. This is good to remind your kiddos as well as yourself! As adults, we can all attest to the fact that a fresh start with a clean slate works wonders for you mentally and even physically! Perhaps your student has struggled in a subject or plans didn’t work out like you had hoped. 2012 is over and the year of 2013 is a brand new slate so let’s work on making something special out of it! One idea is to write 2013 on a board, chart or piece of paper. Then allow your students to think of ways they would like to
    make 2013 even better than 2012! One might be, “I would like to know all of my multiplication tables through 10 so I don’t get so frustrated in Math.” As the teacher, you can then use these answers to chart your course of studies as well as find new resources and activities that would support them.
  • As there are fewer holidays, get out the calendar and plan a few fun days each month to look forward to; for example, Backwards Day, Upside Down Day (do the last subjects first), Crazy hairstyle day, Board Game Wednesday or Wacky Tacky Day.
  • If you have a curriculum based instruction, allow your child to go on a book exploration to see what kind of things are coming up in the remainder of the year. Give your student tabs or sticky notes to mark lessons they are especially excited about. This will encourage them to work towards that point in their book by completing the assignments they are on now.
  • If you are delight driven, have a conversation about what they would love to learn! You can then create a theme per month with your child and mark it on the calendar. For instance, you could have Mummy March! During the month, research Egyptian practices, the history of Egypt, explorations and discoveries of Egypt, read books and complete activities that center around this theme. It grants you direction for the year, allows the student to get involved and creates something exciting to look forward to.
  •  Lastly, create a “Gift of Memories” or Time Capsule for your kiddos. Here are ideas on what to include. Use a string to measure their height. Draw their handprint on a piece of paper and decorate. Include a picture and if possible a recording of them speaking or singing. You could also have them answer questions about some of their favorites. I have created a sample questionnaire for you to use. Just click here to download. You then place all of the items in a tissue box, wrap it with copy paper and allow the kids to decorate. Put them up in the closet and then bring them out at the end of the year to be placed under the tree and opened with the rest of the gifts at Christmas. I call them the “gifts of memories.” You might want to set up a reminder on your phone or calendar so don’t forget at the end of the year as I am sure a ribbon on your finger wouldn’t survive the year. 🙂

The first day back of the New Year can be an exciting one! Maybe you can use one or all of the ideas above to erase a few of those grumbles and replace them with smiles. Do you have any ideas you would like to share to give 2013 a bit of a jumpstart?

Leah was a public school teacher who is now a home educator. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. After working in a first grade classroom for four years, Leah decided to use her passion for education to teach her own children. So began a journey that has entered its fourth year! When she is not teaching her three girls (11, 8, and 3), you will find her reading a book or creating music. She assists her husband in leading a growing church in Tallahassee and feels passionately about connecting with others.  She also loves creating teacher resources for educators both in the schools and at dining room tables around the world! Thus, she added blogger to her resume. To sum it up: God and family is life, reading is a love, music is a passion, and coffee is a necessity.  You’ll find Leah sharing her journey at Learning 4 Keeps.

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