First Day of School 2022

Today marks the start of my 15th year as a home educator!

We started the day with the Schultüte, as is our tradition:

I think they were a hit!

And of course I took pictures of my students…it’s still a little hard for me to believe that I’m down to two, and one of them is in her second year of high school!

We did some light schoolwork…religion, math, a read-aloud, and a bit of language arts. We’ll get into the rest of the subjects tomorrow, but the first day of school is mostly about fun, including building a new Lego set. I got something really different this year…an art set of Mickey Mouse, which was the perfect way to bridge summer school and our vacation to the new school year! And since we started school before everybody else, the rest of the children were still here to help!

It was (I think) a really fun build!

Here’s a closer look…I think I may get a second copy of this set for our last day of school, because there are alternate building instructions to make Minnie Mouse, and I would love to have a matching pair!

I think we got the school year off to the right start!

Schultüte 2022

Time for a look at my favorite first day of school tradition…the Schultüte! I enjoyed putting them together even more this year since I’ve been putting so much work into making our German/Austrian heritage a bigger part of our daily lives. I included all of the items you would expect…candies, school supplies, and a few fun things:

I wanted the fun items to reflect our vacation, so I added some Goofy blind bag pins, and some Lego Muppets minifigs:

This is always a fun beginning to the school year!

Schultüte 2021

Just because our little homeschool is down to two students doesn’t mean we’d give up our favorite first day of school tradition! As it turns out, my college students (as well as Moose, who starts back to school in person later this week) mentioned to me that they hoped they’d still qualify, so I put together five schultüte just like I always do. In addition to the standard school supplies and candies, I added a Kirby pin to each, as well as a minifig from the Lego Looney Tunes collection:

It makes me happy that this tradition has become so well-loved that no one wanted to miss out!

Schultüte 2020

Things may different this year, but I made sure to keep our favorite back-to-school tradition going…the schultüte!

I think I came up with some nice additions, including Animal Crossing pins for everyone, and new Lego minifigs. I also included some needed school supplies like pens and pencils and tape.

The Fab Five seemed to like them!

Turkey told me this morning that if I could find a way to keep doing this when he’s in college, he wouldn’t complain, and that made me happy…I created a fun and appreciated tradition!

Ready for the First Day of School?

I’m not going to lie…I’m not really sure that I’m ready for the 2020-21 school year. If I’m totally honest, I’m kind of dreading it for several reasons, and the top reason actually has nothing to do with COVID-19. Instead, I’m apprehensive because it’s Turkey and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling. That’s right…this experiment that we began in 2008 when they started kindergarten is now coming to a close, at least for them. And I’m afraid I’m going to spend the entire school year crying, as each “last time” comes up.

But, our homeschooling experiment is far from over, especially now that Moose is joining us at home while doing distance-learning for at least the first semester of his first year of high school (which, again if I’m honest, is a little scary to me), so one way or another, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for our most unique and challenging year of homeschooling (which includes two twelfth graders, a 9th grader, an 8th grader, and a 3rd grader) yet!

First, a look at some of the fun we’ve had in the last week of summer vacation, including Lego-building and cookie-baking. We may not have been able to travel this summer, or even do the usual local stuff we would during the summer, but we still managed to have fun experiences!

Tonight was our annual “Farewell to Summer” dinner, this time a mail-order meal from Portillo’s, which mirrors a dinner we had shortly before summer break began.

A summer classic for dessert…root beer floats:

Plus some Frango mints, another little taste of Chicago:

This year’s first-day-of-school outfits are Animal Crossing themed. It’s a good reflection of our summer, and they were pretty easy to get in a time when clothes shopping can be a little challenging.

The school room has been cleaned and organized…it looks pretty much like it did for most of last year, with the keyboard being the most recent (but not really new anymore) addition:

I prepared the schultüte for tomorrow, too:

So that’s pretty much it. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be, and our 13th year of homeschooling begins bright and early tomorrow morning!

Schultüte 2019

It’s time to take a look at one of my favorite traditions of the whole year…the first-day-of-school schultüte! Not everybody got all of the things pictured here (for example, only Ladybug received a calculator because Turkey, Bunny, and Moose already have their own, and Chickadee doesn’t need one yet), but most things, including the pencils, pens, highlighters, tape, crayons, micro Squeezamals, and Hershey’s bars, were found in all of the cones:

The children are always so excited to see what’s inside:

It can be a little challenging to come up with new things every year, but somehow, I keep finding fun items to include!

First Day of School 2018

We have officially begun the 2018-19 school year!

Our first day of school is pretty much the same from year to year…the children get their new workbooks, and open their schultüte:

We do a little work (today that included religion, foreign language, and reading time):

And then build our first day of school Lego set…this year, it’s the Hogwarts Great Hall!

Tomorrow we’ll get into more serious work, but for today, we mostly had fun!

Schultüte 2018

Another first day of school means another opportunity to put together schultüte for my students! This year, in addition to the standard crayons, glue, candies, pens, and pencils, I went with a Harry Potter theme, and added a pin and a Lego minifig to each cone.

The children were very excited, because they each received a unique minifig, which is pretty hard to accomplish with blind bag items!

I’m always happy we added this tradition to our first day of school celebrations…it’s so much fun!

2017-18 School Year–Week One

The first week of the 2017-18 school year is already behind us! This year, I have two ninth graders, a fifth grader, and a Kindergartener!

We started on Tuesday, so it was a short, four-day week. And the first day of school is always mostly fun…finding out what’s in this year’s schultüte, handing out books and organizing desks, taking lots of pictures, and building a Lego set. The latter took several hours, as it is the largest Lego set (the Lego Ideas Saturn V), that we’ve ever built in school. It was a fun project that everyone got to help with (we intentionally started before Moose’s first day of school so he could participate), and was educational, thanks to the fantastic extra details in the instruction book.

On Wednesday, we had a pretty full day of school, beginning most of our subjects for the year, from high school geometry and biology to fifth grade math, spelling, and vocabulary, all the way down to reading Ramona the Pest out loud and Kindergarten handwriting. But then we took a break from our work on Thursday to go on our first field trip of the school year, to see The Discovery of King Tut at the St. Louis Science Center. It was a fantastic exhibit, full of extremely well done replicas from Tut’s tomb, and was also a great way to kick off our history studies for the year, as everyone is going to be studying ancient history in one way or another.

Today we finished off with another regular school day. The only subject we haven’t started yet is our various literature studies (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to start for Turkey and Bunny, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Ladybug), which we will add to our schedule next week. I’ll close with something new for this year…I chose a Bible verse to be our theme for the year for the first time ever, and I think our chosen verse of Philippians 4:8 is an especially good reminder with all the chaos in the world right now:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Schultüte 2017

I really love finding special little things to put in the children’s schultüte every year. This year, I included some fun tape, stickers, and Lego minifigs. Chickadee also received her first pair of scissors and a pencil sharpener in hers!

The children had fun opening them, and also had a good time trading minifigs. In the end, I think everyone was happy with what he or she ended up with.

I love this tradition, and I always look forward to seeing the looks on the children’s faces as they go through their schultüte each year!