Back to School ~ With a Twist

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Back-to-school days are an exciting childhood rite of passage: new backpacks and old friends.  I remember well the drama and excitement leading up to my first days of school each year.

What about the children who don’t board the school bus?

As a homeschooling family, we strive to make the return to structured education special for our kids each fall.  Our solution for our growing 8 and 9 year old boys: Not-Back-To-School Week.


The week before Not-Back-To-School Week, we shop for colored pencils, choose notebooks and debate over weekly planners.  With our supplies organized, we plan our special celebration, scheduled for the week local public school students return to class.

We reserve our first week of school for some of our favorite activities.  While our friends board busses and climb into minivans, we hike, visit the science museum, go to the zoo, play board games, fly kites and read to each other in the backyard.  We bake, plan special dinners, and walk to the local coffee shop for our favorite vanilla steamers.  Our days are spent enjoying each other, searching for adventure, and celebrating family.

The second week of school, we get down to a full schedule of classes.   After all, we’re pretty serious about learning around here.  Not-Back-to-School Week gives us time to adjust (we’re planners… we need time to prepare our brains!).  It’s a special time of bonding and festivity for our family that we savor each year.

Does your family do something special to prepare for school each year?  How do you celebrate the advent of fall?

~ Danika Cooley

Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.


  1. says

    What a great idea! We always save our summer treats like the wave pool until the public schools are back in session so we have the place virtually to ourselves.

    We use the first day of school to make an “All About Me” book with each of our kids. It records height, weight, different likes and dislikes that of course changes every year. It’s fun to look at the books and see how much they’ve grown! Here’s a link to my blog post from two years ago with a download for the “All About Me” book in case you’re interested.

  2. Debbie says

    We had a tradition of going out for dinner on the last night of Summer Beak. The boys jokingly referred to it as their ‘last meal as free men’. No fast good for this meal, it was a special event.

  3. says

    So wise! I homeschooled early on and loved being able to set the tone for our household each year. Although, I made the mistake of jumping in too fast each year and would have been wiser to adjust more gradually like you do. Blessing for a great year!

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