5 Memorable Back to School Traditions for Homeschoolers

Image of a chalkboard with rainbow colors of chalk on top with text "back to school" in white in the center for the article 5 Back to School Traditions for Homeschoolers from That Homeschool Family written by Elizabeth Dukart

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There’s nothing quite like starting a new school year with some beloved back to school traditions, right?! While we are a homeschooling family, our suggestions for celebrating going back to school can totally be fun for families with kids that go to public or private school, too!

When I was going to school, I went to my town’s public schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. I remember absolutely dreading the first day of school because, after a summer of going to bed and waking up late, I would have to start waking up at the crack of dawn again. I am totally a night owl and NOT a morning person, so this was a huge deal.

Now that I’m homeschooling my own kids, we (thank goodness) don’t really need to worry about waking up early. BUT, if your kids will be attending a “traditional” public or private school, totally consider starting the “early to bed, early to rise” routine a few weeks before the official “back to school” date. I swear, it’ll make the transition back to school way easier for everyone!

Now that I’ve gotten that suggestion out of the way, let’s get on to the fun stuff.

My family is very big into traditions. Whether it be a tradition for big holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving or setting aside homeschool Fridays as a “Fun Friday” day for field trips and special outings, traditions give us all something to look forward to. Naturally, we now have a few homeschool back to school traditions, too!

Take a look through our suggestions to see if there are any that you can include in your annual back to school traditions!

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5 Homeschool Back to School Traditions!

1. Enjoy a Special Meal Together

Every year, I see so many social media posts of families enjoying a meal at a restaurant together within the first week of the kids going back to school. What I love about this tradition is that it doesn’t necessarily “need” to happen on THE first day. Enjoying a special meal together on the first Saturday after starting classes again would be just as special as a meal on the very first day, right?!

Whether you choose to make a meal together at home or visit a favorite nearby restaurant, use this celebratory meal as a time to connect with each other and chat about all the exciting experiences and learning the new school year will bring.

2. Make a Vision Board

New year, new possibilities, right? I love doing this back to school tradition right alongside my boys because, if you ask me, vision boards can be helpful for every person at every stage of life. Put your vision boards together and hang them in a spot where they’ll be seen often so they can always provide some inspiration whenever needed (right now, I’m typing out this article with my own vision board on the wall facing me!).

When it comes to the actual creation of the vision board, there are quite a few tutorials to be found online. In my own experience, I do well with creating my own vision boards by putting magazine cut-outs on a piece of poster board. I know my reasons for putting certain images and quotes on the poster, so I’m able to guide myself in the right direction.

we finished our second year of homeschooling

The kids, though? They totally benefit from having some direction when it comes to making their vision boards (and, quite honestly, for other activities, too!) I created these themed vision boards with elementary-age kids in mind. Depending on your child’s interests, there are multiple themes to choose from (books, space, dinosaurs, and candy for example!) and I simplified the (potentially overwhelming) vision board creation process by breaking the board down into 4 separate sections. Just print out the pages, let the kids complete 1 of the 4 sections at at time and then tape it all together to form one big, cohesive vision board. Check out all of our options here!

3. Choose a Word of the Year

Along the same lines of creating a vision board, choosing a “word of the year” as one of your back to school traditions can help to set you, and your family, up for a successful school year. Choose a word that has a positive, and powerful, meaning to all of you and make it official!

This year, our word of the year is “purpose.” We chose it so we could be reminded to have a purpose for things we do (goal: be more productive and less lazy!), eat (goal: eat healthier foods and less junk), and as a reminder that everyone has a purpose.

To keep this word on our minds, we made Morse Code Bracelets to wear and have the word “purpose” on post it notes around the house. We also included our word of the year on our vision boards!

homeschool travel opportunities cover image from that homeschool family

4. Take a Back to School Photo!

Kids grow up so fast, don’t they?! I swear, my oldest was a 5lb. 14oz baby not too long ago, but he’ll soon be turning 10 and has bigger feet than I do! Capture the excitement of the new school year as well as their physical changes by taking a back to school photo each year.

If possible, try to take your homeschool back to school photo in the same spot each year. A friend of mine takes a photo of her daughter with an artist’s easel each year and I WISH I had thought to do that with my boys. Taking a photo with the same prop each year will let you capture the (sometimes astonishing) number of inches your kids have grown each year and can also serve as a memorable back to school tradition.

While you’re at it, you might consider having the kids hold a “back to school” sign in the photo. Our back to school fill-in-the-blank signs serve as both a keepsake and a photo prop for those yearly “first day of school” photos. Just print it out, have the kids fill in the different sections (including details like their ages, what they’re looking forward to this year, and what they want to be when they grow up), and hold the sign up for the photo! Check out all of our “back to school” signs here!

Text "I go to school in my pajamas keepsake sign" with image of a back to school sign from the That Homeschool Family Teachers Pay Teachers store
This first day of school sign is especially true for our family! #welovepajamas

5. Enjoy a Special Treat Together

Yes, I know that I mentioned having a special meal together, but treats are totally different! When it comes to back to school treats, I totally suggest doing this tradition ON the first day back to school.

My boys and I started this back to school tradition back when my oldest was in pre-k (outside of our home). I’d pick him up from his first day at school and we’d head over to our favorite water ice store (for those of you not in South Jersey….that’s “italian ice”) and enjoy a sweet, cold treat together.

Now that I’m homeschooling my boys, we still continue (and anticipate) continuing one of our favorite back to school traditions at the end of our first official day of homeschool. We love it!

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in the midst of planning for the new school year, so I’d just like to say…I hope you, and your kids, have a great year! The school days go by quickly (I can’t believe how quickly the years go by!), so I hope your family can make so many happy memories this year!

Do you have a special back to school tradition that I didn’t mention in the article? Please share it with me! I’m always game for trying new things and making even more memories with my boys.

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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