Straight into Homeschool

It’s a social media tradition to post photos of your kids on the first day of school, holding a sign with their age, grade, and future aspirations. Being a sucker for all things mom-corny, I love these photos, and I wanted to re-create them in a special way for our first day of homeschool. Of course, this imperative occurred to me at 10PM the night before our first day, as I was running around like crazy trying to get everything ready, I thought, I don’t have nearly enough to do, why not go ahead and make my own t shirts for the entire family?!?!

So I had a little coffee (that’s NEVER a good idea at 10PM, but I was determined), grabbed my favorite TNT patterns, and set to work. I chose Jalie 2918 men’s t shirts for the boys, tracing new sizes since they’ve grown like weeds over the summer- thank goodness for the amazing size range of Jalie patterns! For the Princess, I chose the Brindille and Twig Flutter Sleeve Tee, without the flutters, since it is also a good fit on her and was already traced out and ready to go. All three shirts were made with a black athletic knit from So Sew English Fabrics ( my kids love the feel of athletic fabric for their t shirts, and its perfect for our hot weather!)

While I was stitching away, Stephen was firing up the heat press, and designing our cut files (aren’t we an awesome team? I’m so lucky to have him!), so we managed to get it all done in a few hours. He even took one of my tanks and pressed a matching design on it, as a surprise, to show his excitement and support of our homeschooling adventure.

The kids were excited to see their matching shirts laid out on our school table in the morning, and we took our photos outside to commemorate the first day of first grade/tot school- no sign necessary! I just can’t get over how big and handsome these guys look- its a good thing they’re staying home this year, or the girls would be all over them!

The best thing about homeschool is that after our photos, instead of being separated to go about our day, we had the privilege of learning and playing together. Sure, these guys drive me nuts sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our first stop, of course, was the donut shop (first day of school tradition!), where I made them do math to figure out the cost of our donut order, and how many more donuts we needed to get an even dozen. See the phonebook on the floor? That’s the princess at work being destructo-baby again.I left a good tip to compensate.

We delivered donuts to daddy at the office, and went home to continue our learning fun.

Although homeschooling is becoming more mainstream, many people may be wondering what we do all day, so here’s a quick list of our activities for the first week of homeschool:

  • Learn about wind energy, and design and test our own mini sailboats; practice math by timing the sailboats and comparing their times

  • Build kites and modify them to fly higher and better
  • Graph the weather and create a weather vane so we can see which direction the wind is coming from
  • Paint our own windchimes
  • Develop STEM and writing skills by building structures and writing sentences

  • Practice addition and subtraction via worksheets, card games and board games, such as  Monopology Jr.
  • Learn about American History via music
  • Practice our phonics and sight words via hands on activities (play doh, stamps, etc)
  • Read, read read. Their favorite read aloud right now is the Black Stallion, but they’ll sit for hours and listen to pretty much any book.
  • Clean up after the baby. Again and again and again. Her mission while we learn is to destroy the school room, demand a snack every five minutes, and ignore any activities I prepare for her.

The boys also enjoyed attending two days of “Self Directed Learning”, at which they seem to spend most of their time in cooperative and constructive play (making marble runs and swords out of pool noodles). Thankfully, their center seems to have an unlimited supply of duct tape, but I’m buying extra just in case. I’m all too appreciative of the opportunity they have to create a mess away from home.

I’m very excited for this year, and while I know it will have its ups and downs, I feel very fortunate to be able to spend time nurturing, encouraging and learning alongside my favorite little people! Even on the days that look like this:

I hope you had a great first day of school if you’re a mom, teacher (or both, like me!). I’d love to hear your first day traditions!

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  1. Saskia on September 4, 2017 at 9:22 am

    I love it!
    The whole taking a picture on the first day of school is growing momentum over here now in the UK. I’ve never done it though. As we never officially stopped for the summer, we haven’t officially started home educating again yet either.
    We’ll make a good effort when we get back from our summer holiday, taken after the school’s go back, because it’s cheaper, and quieter 😉

  2. Stephen Connell on September 4, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Sarah and I had a great time making these shirts. She was able to sew up the shirts in about the same amount of time it took me to cut, weed and press the vinyl! Of course I had to cut the first one 3 times to get it right… but the 4th shirt was super quick!
    Note to self: The colorful side of the vinyl goes down when cutting and up when pressing! Stay focused when weeding the vinyl, especially if you are doing regular text and knockout text on the same graphic.

  3. Saly on September 4, 2017 at 11:21 am


  4. Martha on September 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Great post. Today my twins turn 40. Homeschool was a little less common when I raised my kids, however a couple of families in our neighborhood choose to homeschool. I observed
    it was time well spent, the kids grew into amazing adults.

    • Sarah on September 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      What a wonderful perspective you have! I’m grateful for all the resources we have now!

  5. Kara on September 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    This reminds me we need to take our yearly beginning-of-year photos! (We’ll ignore the fact that we started in July….) So….What’s your school’s name? We had a lot of fun naming our school, picking out school colors and learning about heraldry to make a school crest, then making shirts and binder covers when we started homeschooling. We wear a school uniform to “field trips” and they love wearing their school shirts everywhere and talking about it 🙂

    • Sarah on September 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      What an amazing idea! We will have to brainstorm! Although I’ve got two boys- so don’t be surprised if it ends up being “dinosaur school” or “truck university”!

  6. Grannie on September 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Wow, what a team you are, my grandkids are so lucky to be growing up in such a creative loving environment.

    • Sarah on September 13, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      It’s a team effort- so grateful for your support too!

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