Thursday, August 18, 2016

Another (Home) School Year Begins with Traditions: 2016-2017

Last week, on Aug. 8, we started our 2016-2017 homeschool year.  We are slowly getting into a routine and gradually implementing the curriculum that I prayerfully and patiently chose for this year.

We started our first day last week with some of the simple and easy new school year traditions we have been doing for several years now. I'm thankful the traditions are easy enough to prepare since it's the last thing I get ready before the school year starts.

Each year on the first day of our homeschool year we bake and eat our traditional cross cake.  Since our homeschool is called Sacred Heart Academy we add a Sacred Heart to the center with the current school year. 

In the morning on the first day I have to be honest...I was in tears from frustration!  Let's just say some of my children (who I will not name) woke up in bad moods and there was alot of fighting, yelling, and disagreements over who knows what!?!?!  So before 8 AM I was in tears as I tried to get all of us out the door by 8:15 AM to start our first day at morning Mass at our parish.   I was so frustrated and discouraged that I remember asking myself, "Why am I doing this!!!???!?!?"

As we came to Mass, I was happily surprised to see the priest who said our wedding over 19 years ago visiting our parish that morning and con celebrating Mass with our parish priest.  We have seen this great priest several times through the years and it was so nice to see him on our first official day of our homeschool year.  I asked if he could say a blessing over my children and me and it gave me the peace I needed to face the rest of our day!  I'm so grateful for the gift of prayer and a blessing from this priest and it helped me focus on "why I am doing this!"  I homeschool because for our family raising souls for Heaven (even when the going gets tough) is best done in a homeschool setting.

When we got home we took photos holding up grade level signs: First Day of Grades 11, 9, 7, 3 and Preschool.  A few years ago I stumbled upon 13 Free Printable First Day of School Signs that I have been using.  I don't think I have taken first day of school photos every year since I started homeschooling in 2005, but when I remember to do so, I think it's a great way to start the year.   

I have the kids draw on their "We've had a Tee-rific Summer" paper t-shirts.  I got the pattern from a teacher resource book, but HERE is a link to a similar t-shirt pattern you can use if you would like.  As they use their creativity and draw pictures and write words about their summer fun, it's always interesting to hear some of the memories they have had over the summer.  Even my big kids do this simple activity! 
I hang the finished shirts up on a clothes line in our hallway leading into our homeschool room and after doing this for several years, they like to look back and see their memories from previous summers.

Another tradition that we do (even the older kids) is write on and color the All About Me sheets.
It's neat to see how their interests have stayed the same or have changed from last year.  I then taped these sheets on their lesson plan notebooks that I am using this year for lesson planning.  More on how I do our lesson plans in a post later...

Each year at about this time, we measure the kids heights and record it on a door frame in our classroom.  My children like to compare their heights year to year.  Here is an image from last year because I didn't take a photo from this year :)

Our first week of school was filled with craziness, traditions, fun and meaningful memories too.  Here's some highlights of our first week...

After morning Mass on our first day, my son spotted a tree frog on our parish's school building and then placed the frog on a tree trunk to show how it camouflaged itself.  Can you spot the frog on the tree trunk?

During our "Couch Conversations"  in the morning after our Couch Catechism time, all my children worked together on a US puzzle as a way to refresh their memories on some geography. (Blog post coming soon on details of our "Couch Conversations" time.) Throughout the week I timed them to see if they could put it together faster than the previous days. 

On Tuesday, August 9, some guy running for President visited our town and my 3 older children went with my in-laws to see the Trump rally! I'm so glad they got to experience history in the making and it made for a great homeschool "field trip", but don't even get me started on this election. Uggh!

On Thursday, August 11, our family took another field trip to Myrtle Waves water park mostly because I had won 4 tickets through a Family Fit Challenge our family was involved in.  We had a fun time!

We've been going to Friday morning Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament regularly for the past couple years and on Friday, August 12 we had our annual "back to school" sweet treat after Mass....Dunkin' Donuts! 

First week of our 2016-2017 homeschool year in the books! *Only* 35 more weeks to go! :)

Do you have any special new school year traditions whether you homeschool or not?  I'd love to hear about them! 

Have a blessed school year!


Billie Jo said...

Love. Love. Love.
I find myself lingering over ever part of this post.
I am so inspired by you, and am excited to begin our own homeschool year soon.
We were late to the homeschooling party; discontentment with our local private school led us to it.
How I wish I would have started from the beginning!
What a blessing it is!
Have a happy, healthy, blessed school year!

Tom Seaman said...

Tracy- Your blog is really wonderful! You do such a great job; not only with the blog, but with your family. Everything you share is so interesting. Thank you and have a great school year! Maybe I'll see you all on a field trip to the pool :)

Thank you Billie Jo for your visits and encouraging comments always! I hope you have a blessed homeschool year!

Thank you Tom for your visit! So good to "see" you in the blogosphere! :) Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and your kind works. My kids keep asking me about pool field trips all the time! I must make it happen again! :) Hope you are doing well!

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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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