120 Ideas for Back to (Home)School

120 Ideas for Back to (Home)School

Last year I found the first day of school crept up on me and I stood there without so much as a “Yay! It’s the first day!” 

Not even a blinkin’ picture.

What kind of mother does that? This kind.


I was determined that I would not let this year go by without doing something special to commemorate the day. Something… anything.

Getting back to school (even if you’ve been doing it over the summer like us) is a fun event! It’s the time of new beginnings and fresh starts.


As Homeschoolers back to school is just as fun and important as non-homeschoolers.


Enter research time! Wow, did I find some great ideas! I wanted to share them with y’all. I decided to put them in all one spot so you wouldn’t have to go searching and searching like I did.

Now you’ll just have to click and click.


120 ideas


Trust me, I’ve found some goodies for y’all!



Check out nobiggie.net’s adorable polaroid frame and tutorial!


Photo Ops

1. Giant Polaroid  Make your own polaroid frame photo prop.

2. Pencil Prop Cute giant pencil photo prop.

3. Chalk speech bubble  Fun DIY sign.

4. Same outfit on first and last day of school. See how they’ve grown!

5. Chalkboard sign  Make your own sign with a canvas and some paint. Personalize with their details.

6. Photo checklist  Not all of these photo ideas are for homeschoolers. You can adapt the list to suit your situation. Have fun with it!

7. Printable sign

8. Printable signs (put on a stick)

9. Printable sign

10. Big Letter/Number Sign Use a big wooden letter and paint it! Cute photo prop

11. Graduating year T-shirt Make a T-shirt for their graduating year and take a photo with them in it every year as they grow up.

12. Chalkboard sign A framed chalkboard.

13. Large Printable Sign This one is editable with photoshop and she printed it at a copy shop.

14. Sidewalk chalk Make a grade year sign on the sidewalk. Add in some personal details or fun pictures. Pose away!

15. Paperstrip backdrop Cute backdrop for some pop of color.

16. Mini Chalkboard Such a cute little chalkboard.

17. Mom holding all the signs of each kid Show what grades mom is teaching this year!

18. Printable Bus Sign Cute school bus sign.

19. Hashtag sign Modern #photoprintable

20. Photo props Cute photo booth-like props



Check out Who Arted’s awesome printable interviews!!

Interview Your Kids

21. Interview made into a special page Ask your questions and design them into a pdf or pretty document to print and keep.

22. 21 questions to ask Great questions to ask. Put them on video or write them down. Or be crazy and do both.

23. First and Final Day Ask your kid the same questions at the start and end of the year.

24. Printable interviews Free printable for each grade level.

25. Back to school Survey Another fun set of questions.

26. K-12 Printable interviews More I tell you, more!

27. My summer printable What did you do this summer interview!

28. first and last day memory page Put your memories down on paper!

Doesn’t that look amazing!? Go to Parties for Pennies for the deets!


Celebrate it Up!!

29. You’re so Sharp themed party – with printables

30. When I Grow Up Fun idea for what you want to be when you grow up party.

31. Ice Cream Party Who doesn’t love ice cream? Don’t answer that. I”ll just pretend I didn’t see that.

32. Dessert Party Desserts people, desserts!

33. Apple Party Cute classic apple theme.

34. “Be Brave” I love this idea. Be Brave is their slogan for the year.

35. Going Places Great theme.

36. Wheels on the Bus Cute for the little ones. Even if they don’t ride a bus :)

37. Coffee Date for Moms A fun celebration for the moms and dads to celebrate the start of a new year.

38. “Future is Bright” Another fun theme.

39. Milk and Cookies party Milk and cookies people, milk and cookies! Classic after school snack!

40. 50 more Celebrations Dude, my hand would’ve cramped if I tried to post more of these. I ♥ Naptime did it for me.



Mique at ThirtyHandMadeDays made the cutest joke printables! Go go go!


Special Meals

41. Lunch box notes Gotta love lunch box notes!

42. decorated lunch bag Make their brown bags look extra fun.

43. lunch survey A fun way to get to know what your kiddo has been up to at school (or wherever if they’re homeschooled)

44. lunchbox notes Love fun printables!

45. lunchbox jokes Jokes! Who doesn’t love a good laugh? Your kiddo could use some cheering up.

46. owl lunch bag Another fun way to decorate the classic brown bag.

47. back to school luncheon Celebrate with a special lunch. Invite some homeschool families.

48. back to school dinner Special dinner either the night before of the night of.

49. back to school breakfast Have a feast!

50. back to school bash Invite the friends over!

51. breakfast butterflies Cute special breakfast meal.

52. back to school feast !ith crowns!

Cute treat bag full of whatever goodies you want! School supplies, treats, gifts, whatevs.



53. Back to School Fairy visit Have her visit the morning of.

54. Fairy Treat bag Have her visit the night before.

55. Magic School Bus Same idea, but it’s no fairy, it’s a Magic Bus, baby! *cringe* Sorry about the cheesiness.


This is so fun! Kiki & Company whipped this adorable smile catcher up. Check it out!


A Little Something Fun to Give

56. First Day Ribbons Little badges for them to wear with their new grade!

57. Decorate a Composition Notebook Decorate a notebook for them to use all year long.

58. Craft Stick Bookmarks  They’re designed to look like pencils, crayons, or super heroes.

59. Decorate Journals Make journals together!

60. School binders Have a special binder just for them.

61. First day Certificates These are just for your preschooler and kindergartener.

62. Smile catchers Fun little toy you can put in their lunch box. You know those folded thingys you used to say who your crush was and all that fun stuff. What’s its name?

63. Back to School Mad-Libs Who doesn’t love a good mad lib?

64. Washi tape bookmarks, clothespins, thumb tacks, dry erase board, and labels  Lots of cute supplies you can make with washi tape.

65. Crayon Favor Box Cute cute giant crayon stuffed with whatever treat you want to put in.

66. Button Book Marks Sweet little things!

67. Personalized Pens Decorate a boring ole pen.

68. Pencil Bag So fun, it looks like notebook paper

69. Personalized Pencil Cans In the post they aren’t personalized, but you could definitely make one for each child.

70. bottle cap magnets Such a fun thing. If they have a locker, a magnet board, or anything really.

71. School supply crate A fun idea to decorate their curriculum/supply box.

72. Dry Erase Clipboard Could be a great tool for keeping them on task.

73. Printable bookmarks Cute easy bookmarks! Free!

74. mini chalkboard easels Cute little gift.

75. Survival bag Scroll down a bit in the post to see it.

76. First Day Survival Kit Gotta survive that first day!

77. pencil can with pencils Make a fun pencil can and then fill it with fun pencils!

78. Back to school pencil cases Love pencil cases!

79. notebook cover Fun way to cover a notebook.

80. Schultute A cute way to give a bunch of gifts. Could be used along with the BTS Fairy.

81. back to school bag Great idea.

82. school tools Fun fun! Fill it with whatever supplies they love.

You’ve got to check out this great lesson on Confidence Cookies by Raising Lemons!!



Yummy Treats

83. Lucky Charms goody bag Cute little cereal bag.

84. Apple Cupcakes Adorbs!

85. Gumball Rulers So clever! You gotta check it out.

86. Rice Krispy Apples So simple and fun

87. Confidence Cookies I hearts and flowers this idea.

88. Edible Glue Stick What a cute idea – a fake glue stick filled with white candy!

89. lemon cake cookies Lemon. Cake. Cookies. Yummmm

90. 7-up treat Cute little saying to go along with the 7-Up!

91. bookworm cupcakes So cute. There’s a couple more cupcake ideas on this post as well.

92. tic tac printables Cute little printables to put on a Tic Tac box.

93. apple cake pops So cute!

94. back to school cookies She did a fabulous job on these cookies!

95. edible crayons Such a fun idea to make together.

96. Back to school cupcakes Cupcakes! Love!!

97. hershey kiss pencils These are so cute. Big pencils but with candy instead of graphite. Win!

98. apple jelly bean treat Super cute! Jelly beans are so yummy.

99. crayon cupcakes Cupcakes made to look like crayons. Love the wrappers. Post has a party idea as well.

Wouldn’t that motivate you? Yes, yes it would. Eighteen25 made this awesome print!


Won’t Be Boxed Into a Category (a.k.a. Don’t put Baby in a corner)

100. Countdown paper chain Fun free printable chain!

101. Morning routine printable Great idea to get the kids ready for their day.

102. Alphabet art Cute way to decorate your home.

103. Be Awesome Today print A fun print to keep near your kid’s desk.

104. Countdown banner Another fun countdown idea.

105. Back to school printables Lots of cute and practical stuff here:  lunch checklist, refrigerator note, daily school clothes labels, and school money.

106. Printable Reading Log A fun printable to keep track of reading.

107. Crayon Wreath Make a cute wreath for your door or school room. Run out of crayons during the school year just steal one from your wreath. 😉

108. Ruler Wreath I love this wreath!


little miss drawings


Great Ideas Without a Blog Home

109. Write a letter to your child

110. Scavenger hunt for school supplies.

111. Scavenger hunt for a treat at the end. Maybe a gift, or special meal, or a gift card.

112. Make goals with your children.

113. Ask them what they want to learn this year. What are they looking forward to this year?

114. Make a list of “firsts.”

115. Start a newsletter.

116. Draw or paint self-portraits.

117. Homeschool club parties — some homeschool clubs and co-ops have back to school parties.

118. Field trips – go somewhere fun on your first day back!

119. Do something special that non-homeschoolers can’t do!!

120. Go out to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner.



Are you exhausted? I am!

Obviously you cannot do them all. If you try I’m calling an asylum and have you committed. I’ll visit once a year and bring you a shiny red apple.


What are your family traditions for the first day of school? What new ones will you start this year?


I’ll report back to tell you which ones we decided to try this year!

♥ Rochelle

jonathangarcia via photopin cc


  1. Fantastic resource! I love one stop shopping and your efforts are my gain. I’m posting this everywhere, and I hope others will too. Great job!

  2. I love no. 109 and can’t wait to do that for my kids. They write me all of the time, but I only write them to tell them to do stuff. I am going to have so much fun just sending them notes to tell them how much I love them and how awesome they are.

    Wow, what a wonderful blog post. #Sharing !
    ~Donna :)
    Donna Johnson recently posted…[FAITH FRIDAY] Our Story of How We Know Everything Is AwesomeMy Profile

    • My mother in law writes notes in our stockings every Christmas, and a note every Easter and I love them. The few times I’ve written my kids notes it just really meant a lot to them. I definitely want to do this one this year. I think it’ll be just what they need. Isn’t it awesome when our parents (even now) tell us how awesome we are?
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

  3. You had me at giant Polaroid frame!! I needed that this morning-as the bus was coming up the street I realized “WAIT-I need a picture!!!” The entire bus was laughing as I made them pose in the driveway! You have gathered up a HUGE list of goodies-I’ll be back to try more of these ideas.

  4. That back to school party looks like a blast!!! And those treats?? nom nom nom.

    • I know right!? Love me some milk and cookies. There are some other awesome parties as well. Some way too elaborate for me, I’m a minimalist (read lazy).
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

  5. These are such fun, cute ideas! I would have actually been excited to go back to school if I had done some of these!

  6. I loved back to school things when I was younger! Cant wait to have kids and celebrate with all the fun pinterest ideas popping up.
    Deidre recently posted…Two Year Q&A with AdamMy Profile

    • Oh I know, there’s so much stuff on Pinterest to do with kids. You’d need 5 full-time nannies to keep up with it all. My recommendation: don’t try to do it all. Not even a third of it.
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

  7. Oh my goodness, this is an amazing round up! I’m definitely going to have to bookmark it for when I have kids to send to school :) xoxo
    Joelle recently posted…Joelle Vlogs :: Why CharmingMy Profile

  8. I love all of this!! Back to school is SO exciting!! I cant wait to have kids to do all of this fun stuff :)

  9. These are all adorable ideas! I used to hate going back to school when I was younger so any of these would have made it more fun. Love the Polaroid idea – perfect to see how much they grow every year and would make a brill graduation present in a frame or something!

    Katie <3
    Katie recently posted…ArtigianoMy Profile

    • I love that idea Katie, that is awesome! That would be so cool to see how they grow with the polaroid frame. Is it too late to start since my oldest is in 3rd grade? I wonder if I could photoshop an old pic?? ha ha ha. That’d be janky looking since I can’t photoshop.
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

  10. Such great ideas! I never realized how tricky it could be to have your kids go back to homeschool.
    Alyssa recently posted…Dawson, party of three!My Profile

    • It’s not really tricky, it’s just I like to make sure my kids feel the excitement as well. 99.9% of these ideas will work for non-homeschooled children as well. It’s just fun to make it an event, a day to look forward to.
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

    • Thank you kindly Taylor. I wish I could take credit for the awesome ideas, but I only thought of a handful at the end. That’s what’s so awesome about blogland
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

  11. Wow, do you have back to school covered. Some great idea, food and fun! Thanks for sharing!~

  12. Those are some fun ideas.. back to school soon!

  13. I usually just take the basic first day of school picture, but I’m really loving these ideas. My oldest has her first day on Tuesday, so we’ll see how many of these I can pull off in time.

    • There’s nothing wrong with a basic picture! I didn’t even do that last year! Ugh, I could slap myself. Don’t try to pull off too many or you may wind up in therapy.
      Rochelle Barlow recently posted…How to Schedule Without ScreamingMy Profile

  14. Those are so many great ideas. I love the giant Polaroid photo prop.

  15. I bookmarked this post because I found so many things that can be useful to me for the events that I do at work. The polaroid frame is my favorite.
    R U S S recently posted…PROJECT PIE IS A GAME-CHANGERMy Profile

  16. I really really wanted to home school. When we lived in Florida that was always the plan. Now I am not sure if I am going to. My daughter is starting “school” 2 days a week next month and that is the test… we will see what happens.
    Tessa Smith recently posted…The Bumble Collection Brittany Backpack GiveawayMy Profile

  17. These are all great ideas and so very creative. My kids are grown, but try to do special things for my grandkids as busy mommies can only fit in so much into their busy schedules.
    Kathy recently posted…Roasted Organic Chicken BreastMy Profile

  18. Awww this is a great post that I am sure will help lots of home schooling moms. I love seeing these pictures of the kids and how much they grow up within a year!
    Lauren recently posted…Happy Mail Project – August Partners ListMy Profile

  19. These are some really great start of the school year ideas. I don’t have any kids in school anymore and this is the first time I wish that I did haha!
    Rena McDaniel recently posted…THE MAGIC OF MACKINAW CITY, MICHIGANMy Profile

  20. What a list! We don’t homeschool but I could still do a lot of these.
    Karissa recently posted…Bloglovin Blog Hop!My Profile

    • You could definitely do 99.9% of these! Thanks Karissa!

  21. I’m going to take so many pictures on B’s first day of kindergarten… I’ll be soaking my camera with tears!
    Rebekah recently posted…Polish Me Silly – FrecklesMy Profile

    • Oh, how sad :( Poor mama. It is so hard to let go of our little ones, huh? It’s so fun and so hard to see them grow up.

  22. Some great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  23. I love these ideas. I wish my kids were still little so i could do these with them. Great post.

  24. These are some great tips and advice for back to school home schooling. Thanks for sharing. More and more parents are home schooling now.

    • There are so many more parents homeschooling! I have several friends that are pulling their kids out this year and even more that pulled their kids out last year. It’s crazy! Crazy awesome!

  25. These look like some really creative ideas! My sister is considering homeschooling her daughter and was looking for some ideas, so I will definitely tell her about this post!
    Jessica recently posted…Weekly Blessings: Week 7My Profile

    • Oh great! That’s so awesome that you’re so supportive of her. I’ve got a few other posts that might help her out — they’re for getting started in homeschooling, including deciding if it’s for you.

  26. Such an awesome list of ideas. I’m going to have to pin this to come back to it. Thank you!

  27. Will pass this information to my friend who is homeschooling for sure this will help her a lot.

  28. Great tips!! Will pass this on to my friends who are homeschooling

    • These are great for non-homeschoolers as well. Thank you so much for passing it on to your friends, you are very sweet.

  29. I have always loved the idea of interviewing family members of any age and putting them together in a journal. Doing them individually or as a family group and giving them out as Christmas gifts. I love the Polaroid photo too. You can always add photos to their journals.
    Joyful Gifts by Julie recently posted…ComfyLicious Infinity Scarf Giveaway!My Profile

    • I love the interview idea! My husband has a few interviews of him as a kid on video and they are just adorable and hilarious. I want to start doing them with my kids. That’s a great idea to write them down into their journals and put photos there as well. It’d be a great keepsake.

  30. Wow, tons of great ideas! Absolutely loving that polaroid frame… too cute!
    Jenn @ hellorigby! recently posted…Why I BlogMy Profile

    • Thanks my dear. Happy back to school season to you as well!

  31. I love this great resource, we’re years off needing something like this but good to know its there :-)
    Sarah recently posted…Puy Lentil and Chard SoupMy Profile

    • Thanks Kira! I hope you find some goodies for your family!

  32. Wow, Rochelle! This is a intense roundup! 120 links! Thanks for taking the time to put this all together for us! I’m featuring this post as one of my picks tomorrow in the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party! I hope you come check out the others that I have picked, it is Back to School week.
    Pinning this to our group board as well.
    Rebekah @survivingtoddlerhood recently posted…Dear Iraqi MommaMy Profile

    • Thank so so much Rebekah! For sure I’ll stop by tomorrow — I love a good round up (as you can tell 😉 ), especially fun school stuff!

    • Thanks Kristen! It was a fun one. I loved your link up – it had lots of fabulous posts and bloggers! I’ll be stopping by again, even if I don’t have anything to share :)

  33. This is such an awesomely fun list of activities! Thank you for sharing your post with The Natural Homeschool and The Life of Jennifer Dawn Linky Party. :) See you next Wednesday! :)

    • Thank you so much! I’ll see you next Wednesday! I found lots of great posts and new friends to follow :)



  1. Writing Lessons: Build Your Own | Rochelle Barlow - […] I came up with this when doing my round up of Back to School ideas. […]

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