Welcome to the first day of the Annual NOT Back to School Blog Hop hosted by the Homeschool Review Crew. All week, seasoned homeschool moms are sharing their expertise. Today’s topic is on traditions.
Every fall I’m excited to start a new homeschool year. Our summer is usually filled with busy activities, and I’m ready to settle into a more quiet routine. This summer has been different. With so many events canceled and social restrictions in place, everything feels strange and unpredictable. I feel it’s really important to maintain some traditions in starting this homeschool year.
A couple of years into our homeschooling journey I began having my kids fill out a questionnaire. With pages for tracing their hand and drawing a self-portrait, one child was busy while I interviewed another. They delighted in answering questions as I carefully listened and noted their response.
The morning of our first day of school still includes the questionnaire. Although they suggest they are getting too old for it, they don’t hesitate to fill it out. My high school boys laugh how their hands are almost too large to trace on the paper, and measuring height is always a big deal. They all prefer to fill out the questionnaires themselves now, but always take turns reading aloud their responses. I’ve kept each year’s questionnaire and it’s fun for them to read about their younger selves.
I wrote the questions intentionally to engage them about what is important to them and to notice positive things in each other. One simple question asking what a sibling is good at has always brought encouragement to the start of our school year.
Here’s our questionnaire if you would like to use it with your kids. I’ve also added an additional page for my older students.
It took a lot of time to interview each of my kids in their early years. Quite by accident, we began the tradition of making bookmarks on our first day of school. I had printed bookmark color sheets to help fill the time. Although they don’t really need a busy activity anymore, it’s become a wonderful time to talk and listen to my kids. We laminate and trim the bookmarks to use throughout our school year.
Traditionally we delay starting our school year. A normal summer is usually filled with busy activities and crowded events. In years past we have enjoyed a delayed start for uncrowded parks or short trips that are offered at off-season rates. We will likely maintain a bit of a late start to enjoy the end of summer weather with a hike or day fishing.
Regardless of what is going on in the world, traditions will provide kids with a sense of comfort. Even if you are new to homeschooling, it’s never too late to start a tradition. Maybe your kids are too old to start with a questionnaire. Play a game or build a puzzle together. The most important part of our traditions is the time we talk. Listening to my kids and building a stronger relationship is the foundation of homeschooling. The best lessons are never in a textbook.
Find more traditions being shared through this blog hop by my fellow Homeschool Review Crew members. Click on the banner or the links below.