Going to school comes with lots of little milestones and special moments that parents and children look forward to. There’s school dances, sports carnivals, graduation and the all important ‘First Day of School’. This last one is deemed so important that many families make a special occasion of it every year. The sense of ceremony and celebration that comes with that can be something that feels missing when we choose to homeschool.
Which is why we celebrate ‘NOT Back To School Day’ on the first day of each new school year!
Many families enjoy creating meaningful rituals around their first day of lessons for the new school year. Taking inspiration from the traditional rose ceremony found in Steiner/Waldorf schools worldwide, Elke from Another Day starts her family’s school year by gifting her children with a rose bush to plant in their garden. These special plants are then carefully looked after by the children, their petals lovingly collected and used in crafts and meals throughout their school year.
Similarly, Heidi from Willywam Whimsy draws on the rose ceremony tradition to create a ceremony with her local homeschool families. The children gather together, dressed up in capes, to collect flowers from the garden which they then weave into crowns. They wear these handmade crowns in a ceremony the families have created together to welcome the children to the new school year.
Other families are happy with the more common first day of school photos. Every year on Instagram you can find homeschool families sharing their first day of school photos. Usually their children are busy having fun doing a very un-school like activity 😉 What a fun way to celebrate the individual path we have chosen.
With only a week to go until our new year starts, I am deep in planning mode. The big picture stuff is sorted, the supplies ordered, now it’s just planning the nitty gritty of our first few blocks. I LIVE for this! But in amongst that I’ve made sure to plan out a special day for our first day of 2017. Here’s what we’ll be doing…
A Special Breakfast
You may recall we tried out school for a while there. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t our best fit either. One of the things that sticks out in my memory from those days was the rush of the mornings. So for our first school day of the new year we are going to take a moment to celebrate going slow. While the children are busy with their chores I plan to cook their favourite breakfast of choc-chip pancakes. We will roll a new beeswax candle to light, say a little verse and dig in! And we’ll have plenty of time to savour every bite 🙂
A Gift of New Supplies
I am so excited! I have a bundle of fresh supplies currently en route from Spiral Garden. We will be starting our new year with fresh beeswax crayons (we’ll finally have ALL THE COLOURS), new Lyra Ferby pencils (a big step forward for us in the handwriting department) and a special little something in there just for fun. Lauren packages everything so beautifully, I will be able to just lay the parcel out on the table to be opened by an eager little boy. Not to leave out the little one, I will have the Mister make her a small set of blocks to play with at the school/kitchen table.
A Very NOT School-like Outing
While I’m totally in love with the meaningful rituals Elke and Heidi have created, I’ve taken a very different route with my son. We will be spending our first morning playing with dear friends who are new to homeschool this year. I’m predicting a rather rough and tumble time.
A Fun Afternoon
After all that rough-housing, we have quieter plans for the afternoon. We’ll be breaking out some of those new supplies for our first art lesson of the year. I’ve been wanting to try ArtVenture for a while now and this seems like the perfect time. Afterwards, if the weather is nice (and let’s face it, it’s bound to be a hot one in Queensland) we will go for a swim and eat our dinner outside, ending the day with another verse. And Daddy will get to share this part with us 🙂
I envision our NOT Back To School days evolving as my daughter grows and joins us in lessons, but for now, this is a fun and special way to mark the day. And that is what is important. Not what ritual you create, but that you create something to honour and mark the occasion.
We as humans have an innate need to create and celebrate. We’ve been doing it since the dawn of humanity. And that’s what this is. Creating and celebrating an important moment in your child’s life, honouring where they are and where they are heading. They have never before been in this grade. The stories they hear this year will change them forever. There is a certain magic in that. Our children are precious, being their parent and teacher is a privilege, and it’s important to let them feel that this moment matters.
How are you planning to commemorate your NOT Back To School Day this year?
P.S. Look out for photos of our day on Instagram 😉