Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School ... or Going There For the First Time!

The first day of the school year is always an important milestone.

  • Excitement and some fear are common emotions (for students and their parents!) on the first day of preschool - kindergarten - first grade - middle school - high school - and college.  
  • The first day of every other grade is significant as well.  It is an opportunity for a fresh start after a summer of growth, with all new classes, new teachers, and possibly even new friends as well.  
  • The first day of the last year of college has special significance - the last of these firsts!   My niece recently wrote on Facebook: "Cheers to my last first day of school."  
Image: Alphabet cookies I baked with my kids, after a first morning of preschool

Important milestones should be celebrated and documented.  

Many families have traditions regarding these firsts.  We have some - although if Pinterest had been available when my kids were small, we might have a lot more!  I relied heavily on magazines such as Family Fun and Parents for creative ideas.  The wealth of information on the Internet now makes it easy to be inspired by many good ideas.

Our Family "First Day of School" Traditions - and what I wish I had done differently:

  • On the first morning of every school year, we've taken photos of my kids, before they've headed out the door. - I wish now that I had given them a sign to hold, showing the date and the year of school they were entering.
  • I've always tried to cook a special dinner on the first day of school. - It would have been even more meaningful, had I always cooked the same special menu.
  • I saved special school papers and art work. - I wish instead that I had taken a photo of my child with the art work (which I might have then discarded) and created a scrapbook of photos of their work. This would have created less paper clutter - and I would now have a photo of the child at the age when they produced each piece.
  • We occasionally videotaped on the first day of school. - I wish I had done a short videotaping on the first day of every school year. Growth shows in photos - but children's voices change a lot from year to year.
  • We go back-to-school shopping for clothes before the first day of school every year. - I didn't always realize how quickly the weather would cool off - and should have bought less warm-weather attire, as it was sometimes outgrown before it saw much wear.
  • There is something motivating about new pencils, crayons and school supplies.  - Rather than just shop with my children for their own supplies, I wish I had encouraged them to pick out supplies to donate to others in need.
  • With the beginning of school, I always tried to be sure my kids took their daily multi-vitamins and got adequate rest. - In retrospect, I would remember to be sure my kids took their vitamins and got adequate rest. Being back in the classroom means being exposed to lots of germs!

On the first days of preschool, we took before pictures - and these after photos to document the day!

First Day of College - A Surprise for Mom!

Last year my daughter moved to another state for college.  Imagine my delight, when on her first morning of classes, she sent me a text that read "the obligatory first day of school photo." It was accompanied by a photo of her taken by a friend, before heading out to her first class!
My daughter continued our "first day of school photo tradition" on her own in college
Of course, receiving this text and photo made me cry. I realized something though. All those years of making my children pose before they headed out the door meant something to my kids as well.  Family traditions are important.

Our school starts (for 10 - 12th grade) on Thursday.

I wonder if my son, entering his junior year of high school, will remind me to take his picture before he leaves for school? I highly doubt it, but, like years past, he will humor me when I suggest it!

What Are Your First Day of School Traditions?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog.  Check them out!


  1. How sweet that your daughter sent you that photo from college! She looks very excited and happy. First day of school pictures are often met with groans, but they are so special to look back on. Videotaping would have a been a great idea. I wish I had thought of it! :)

    1. It was just what I needed that day! Sorry to make you feel badly about not videotaping, Marie. There are many things I wish I had done - but I guess we should try to focus on all that we have done right!

  2. No matter what age I was, the first day of school always made me feel so excited. Saw you over at Delores' blog this morning. Loved your take on the words! I would love to follow your blog but I can't find a GFC follow button. Am I overlooking it?

    1. So glad you visited my blog - and I would love for you to follow my blog! Thanks for pointing out the need for a GFC follow button! I hate to admit my ignorance, but first I had to look it up to see what that was ... and it turns out to be something I thought I didn't need as a have an option to follow my blog on Google+. (I always thought they were the same thing!) I will add one - just as soon as I figure out how!

  3. Susan, I love, love, love that your daughter sent you that photo! Our traditions are very similar to yours. The boys always groan about it, but deep down I think they love it!

    1. Since we have so many other similarities - it certainly doesn't surprise me that we share these traditions as well, Lana! When does T go back to school?

  4. That brought a tear to my eye as well.

    1. The passing of time .... Children grow up much too quickly!

  5. Family traditions are indeed important. Things to cherish - and I love that your daughter sent you that photo.


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