For those of you with school-age children, it is that time of year.. Back to school! Whether you homeschool or your child attends school elsewhere, it is really great to be able to talk about what to expect and what to look forward to in a new school year.
Since my oldest daughter has a December birthday, she won’t be enrolling in a traditional preschool class yet. I’m okay with that since I want to enjoy the time with her and my husband and I are still discussing what avenue of education to pursue long-term. In the meantime, we are combining some light homeschooling with her first outside class, a Nature Discovery course offered once a week this fall through the local Park & Rec. It is only one hour long and meets once a week, focusing on outdoor play and exploration, so it should be lots of fun! Plus a friend from church will be in her same class, so she will have a familiar face in a new environment. I am so excited for her! As we prepare her for this new experience, we have been reading several books about school.
The one I’m sharing today is I Love School! by Philemon Sturges. I like this book because it’s very general and works well for first-time and returning students. It has simple text and bright illustrations, with positive attributes of school. Although it centers on a traditional classroom setting, it could be easily adapted for use with homeschoolers. And it includes lots of school experiences, from play time to art to lunch/snack.
Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade
- If your child is going to school for the first time, ask what he/she is looking forward to doing. What information do you already know about the school and the teacher? (Such as the teacher’s name, room number, start and end of the school day, class pet.)
- Ask your child if he/she is nervous about anything on the first day of school. Reassure him/her that it is normal to feel a little nervous but give them lots of encouragement that you know they will get through it and become more comfortable with the routine each day.
- Check out this amazing and creative idea on creating a time capsule for your child as he/she enters the school year! Mariah at Giggles Galore came up with this for her twins as they entered kindergarten, but you could use the general idea for any grade level. Homeschoolers can use this, too!
- As a pre-reading activity, ask your students what they are excited about at school. Is there anything they are nervous about? Have a time of free sharing and encourage them that all their feelings about starting a new school year are normal!
- Go through your daily routine or class schedule and compare it to the activities described in the book. Were there any differences?
- Share Mariah’s idea for creating a time capsule with parents in your class newsletter. Or depending on the size of your class, allow students to make their own time capsule during the first week of school! Add to it throughout the year and have the time capsules be a neat surprise for parents at Parent Teacher Conferences, winter break or the end of the school year. A class photo would make a great bonus addition!