by Eaman Elhadri
It was a Monday morning and I got out of bed very early. First day prep was on my mind, even though I prepared about…10 months in advance. 😉
The Math books were out. The English books were out. The Social Studies books were out. The Science books were out. ETC. ;0)
The clock struck 6 (yes, a.m.) and I woke my very young, sweet little fiver year old boy for his first day of homeschooling. Yes, you read 5.
I had it all planned out. Time schedules. Time slots. All that jazz.
My son was unhappy to be awake so early. It was a terrible, no good, lousy morning. Alhemdulilah ala kulee hal.
By the afternoon he was done. And so was I.
Guess what happened to the plans? Out the window.
First day of homeschool Mistake #1: We didn’t ease into it
After homeschooling for so many years, I’ve finally learned a thing or two and one of them is that you can’t just jump into all.of.the.things.
For your child’s sake. For your sake.
First day of homeschool Mistake #2: We did formal lessons
Sister, the first day of homeschool is school, but it shouldn’t look like it. What should it look like?
One big partaaaaaaay!
It should not look like school. It should look similar to Eid. Yes, you read that correctly.
No. You don’t have to go all out.
No. You don’t have to spend a lot of money.
Please make it special. Please don’t be boring.
I have suggestions for that below, so don’t worry. Make it fun!
Oh and don’t worry if you’ve already started, you can always re-do the first day. I’ve done it before. 🙂
Back to Homeschool Mistake #3: We started on a Monday
Don’t start on a Monday. Start on a Friday or mid-week.
But not a Monday.
You want to cut the first week short and this is the best way to do it. This is the reason why we’re starting on Friday. InshAllah.
Back to Homeschool Mistake #4: We started at the crack of dawn
Just don’t. Enough said.
Back to Homeschool: Tips and activities for your first day
You can learn and enjoy every day of your life, but the first day should be a celebration. What do you think of when you think of celebrating?
I think of special field trips, meals, treats, gifts, and more!
Go on a field trip (social distancing in mind)
This year I’m allowing my children to pick their forest of choice and we’ll pack a picnic. InshAllah.
Perhaps your area allows you to reserve a time slot to a museum or farm. Check in advance and be safe.
Pick a theme
Themes aren’t just for parties! Pick a them for your first day of homeschool.
Themes are fun and simplifies your prep.
Decorate the house with back to school paraphernalia
Decorate with back to school supplies and books that go with your theme. We decorated with chalkboards, used fake glasses as a prop, and vintage classroom printable decor.
If you’re interested in that, simply google “vintage classroom decor” and you’ll find a ton of options.
Have a special first day of school breakfast, lunch, or dinner
You don’t have to go all out. If you’ll be outdoors, like in our case, grab a special dessert like ice cream.
We’ll pack something special in our picnic, but the focal point for the kids will be an ice cream cone from a special local farm. InshAllah.
If you’re busy with tons of games, etc. on the first day, then order your kid’s favorite takeout.
I’ve known homeschoolers who have a tradition of waffles or pancakes for breakfast.
Notice the word special here, sister. Please ask your kids what they would like!
Give your children back-to-homeschool gifts
This one is easy. Let them pick out their own homeschool supplies.
Shop when there are back to school sales (like right now). Children are excited to pick out simple things, such as pens, markers, and notebooks.
Allow your child to pick out his first read-aloud of the school year
Due to the pandemic, our library has a service where they bring books to your car. MashAllah wa Alhemdulilah.
If this isn’t your case, ask your child what book they’d like to read and purchase it online.
Take back to homeschool pics and use props
If you’re into picture taking, use fun back to school props, signs, etc. You can use a “I’m in ___ grade” sign and more!
And of course, just take pictures to document the first day.
I like this idea of personalizing your back to homeschool pics.
Conduct back to homeschool activities
There are tons of options out there for “About Me” printables, back to school games, etc. Choose one and have fun!
There is even a “First Day of Homeschool” book sold on Amazon!
Have a back to school date with each child
This may be difficult for those who don’t have help. That has been my predicament since the beginning.
For those of you who can pull it off, spend some one-on-one time with each of your children. This doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
Take a walk with one child and leave the rest with baba or an older, responsible sibling.
Talk to your child. Listen. Give them all of your attention.
Write a letter to your child
This is one of my favorites. It ends up being a beautiful keepsake that your child will have forever.
OR. Have your child write a letter to himself, sharing his hopes for the year. Seal the letter in an envelope and put them aside to be opened on the last day of school.
All letters can be kept from year to year in your child’s binder or scrapbook and can be wonderful mementos for a family to keep and hand down.
Allow them to take a curriculum ‘walk’
Allow your child to do unboxing and look through their homeschooling resources, without actually using it.
Beyond the First Day
So you’ve had your paaaarttaaaay, and now it’s the next school day and you’re like “Ok, but what now Sister Eaman?”
Don’t worry, I’ve got you mama!
Back to homeschool tip for the first week: Introduce One Thing
Please, please, please don’t do all.of.the.things on the following day either! This is what causes stress and frustration for everyone.
Do one thing and leave it there. For us, that’s our Morning Basket.
And even then, I don’t do everything in that I have planned for our Morning Time.
We start with our Morning Time Menus and only focus on positive affirmations and one hadith memory work, for example. Then we STOP.
Then what? Then the next day I add in another aspect of our Morning Menus.
The following day I’ll add in math. STOP.
The following day I’ll add in notebooking. STOP.
Now do you get it? Never start off in full swing.
The following week is when we start our full week. BUT, we don’t ever do everything every day, except for math.
The last thing you need to know about your first day of homeschool
Make it fun!
Now it’s your turn sister. What did you do or what will you do on your first day of homeschooling? Please comment below!
New to homeschooling? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families.
Already read enough and just need to jump in? Grab the Quick Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families form our Free Resource Library.
A Gift from Me to You!
Click on the orange link below for a little gift from me to you, for your new homeschool year. No email needed. 🙂
May Allah AWJ Bless your homeschool year. Allahuma Ameen.