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Back to School

By Becca Evenson

Are your children wistfully watching their friends and neighbors buy new school clothes and supplies? Do they feel left out because they are not “going” anywhere for their first day of school? The opening of the new academic year is a great opportunity to reinforce the blessings of learning at home! You may want to try one (of more) of the following:

  • Take your children shopping the week before you have your kick-off and buy special “school food” or clothes to wear on the first day. Second-hand shops are great places to find fun, unusual things for not a lot of money.
    * Go to the zoo or a park while the other kids are in class. Your family will have it all to themselves. Take a picnic and your nature notebooks and make an afternoon of it.
    * Plan a meal or activity around this years’ course of study. Examples: if you are studying early American history, create a cornucopia out of construction paper and put the new school supplies, books, whatever, into it and have it overflowing onto the kitchen table; if you starting a science unit on botany or zoology, go to the mountains, desert, or Jordan Parkway and look for animal tracks and changes of the season; if you will be learning about your own family’s history, make a meal from your country of origin, i.e. try escargot (France), brats and kraut (Germany), Yorkshire pudding (Great Britain), shoofly pie (Pennsylvania Dutch-and a personal favorite in our family).
  • Make a library trip during the day when the library is quiet and ask the librarians there to help your children research and locate materials for this years’ topics or their own areas of interest.
  • Have a scavenger hunt that takes you around your house or yard with clues about the upcoming academic topics. Place study-related materials throughout the hunt or end with a “treasure box” with the materials they will be using. If your neighbors are willing, go all over the neighborhood or hold the hunt at Grandma’s.
  • Create T-shirts with a family logo or let your children create their own to wear during outings (fabric paint is great for this).
  • If you do not have a lot of money to purchase things, that’s okay. Create personalized notebooks or other supplies for your children. Purchase inexpensive spiral notebooks from a back-to-school sale and glue or clear contact a label onto the front with a fun picture and their name. Use 3X5 cards to create flashcards or make your own dominoes with card stock. Scour second-hand shops and yard sales for things to add to your school supplies for a fraction of the cost of new.
  • Introduce this years’ schedule, supplies, routine, whatever with a game (charades, hangman, etc,) or song or puzzle. (Then stick to it.)
  • Set up a field trip for the whole family.
  • Go on vacation or camping while everyone else is in school.