A Great Start

My kiddos were eager to start lessons again and we’ve now almost completed our second week back at school. I must say that if we can maintain the momentum with which we began, this year will be lovely!

school suppliesI’d like to think that my children’s eagerness to get back to school was due to the fact that they love to learn, but I’m afraid it was more because their neighborhood friends began to disappear every day. At any rate, I’m hoping and praying that this enthusiasm will continue throughout the entire year as we memorize Scripture and as some of my kiddos learn the sounds of the letters, while others study fractions and explore how the human body functions.

Now, I’m not much of a list-maker, but I’ve always benefited by writing out my goals for a new year, whether it’s a new school year or a new calendar year. While my number one goal as a teacher is to instill a love of learning, there are many things I resolve to do every day to accomplish this goal and I’ve managed to keep my “school year’s resolutions”… I know that today only marks the eighth day of our school year, with many days left to go, but it is certainly a good start, right?

One thing I need to work on is encouragement. I suppose encouragement can show itself in many forms ::

  • Helping the kids through a rough problem, while ensuring them that they can indeed do it
  • Providing opportunities for them to excel in an area of interest
  • Allowing ways for them to encourage and uplift each other

Whatever form it takes, I need to remind myself that my kiddos need my encouragement, no matter how difficult it may seem at the moment.

There are so many great things in store for us this year…. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all! To stay refreshed and rejuvinated, I’ve finally connected with other homeschool families in our community, which was something my kids and I really need this year. We now plan to go on some fun field trips with this new group, connect with old friends who homeschool, and continue to learn about life and the world around us.

I am so excited!

Going back to school is an exciting, fun and sometimes, hectic time. To calm the butterflies and build your kids’ confidence, Hallmark has put together this great resource to encourage moms like you. Just for sharing a bit of advice, you’ll be entered to win a prize package valued at $500… Check it out!

You can also win a $50 Hallmark gift card, right here at From Dates to Diapers! Just leave a comment here about your kiddos’ first day, week or month of school. I would love to hear about any fun traditions you may have started this year. You may receive additional entries (up to one per day) by tweeting a link to this giveaway, using the hashtag #D2Dgvwy. Be sure you leave me a separate comment for each tweet. A winner will be chosen, and contacted via email, on September 30th.

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Hallmark. The views and opinions are mine.


  1. says

    (Did you mean October 15th?)

    Our kids were home-schooled years ago. Our eldest is now 40 and they are homeschooling their 8 children. I won’t give you all the details of our family (6 kids) but our 2nd child (38) also home-schools their 8 as well. Back ‘in the day’ we didn’t have all of the resources this generation has but one of things we did was buy new school clothes each fall for the children, set up a regular class room with desks for each, said the pledge of alliance, (to the American and also the Christian flags) each morning and we toured all kinds of businesses. Going shopping for school supplies also helped build excitement for them. It’s very rewarding to see all 22 of our grandchildren home-schooled and the difference it has made in the choices they make and their overall behavior.

  2. Rebecca Orr says

    I buy some clothes and school supplies for my step-son and step-daughter every year. I know that they love getting new clothing….but I truly think that I enjoy buying the school supplies more than they do. The notebooks, the pens, the smell of brand new binders!!! Ahhh…I love it. It makes me want to be back in school…okay, maybe I could just go back to college and get my degree!! I am thinking of homeschooling my two year old when he gets to be school age…or maybe a christian school. I went to public school until 9th grade. Then I spent 4 years at a christian academy that I loved. I have no say what schools my step-children go to considering that they don’t live with us…but I want to make the best choice for my son.

  3. says

    my kids first week has been good so far. already in contact with teachers about my children. we are discussing any problems that might arise or problems that I’m aware of.

  4. Linda B says

    Because of birthdate requirements my grandaughter cannot attend pre-K because she was born two weeks late. I care for her while her mother works and therefore I am going to do a pre-K homeschool. I have a lot of her older brothers books, cds and activities from pre-K to help. It’s going great! She is learning so fast and is really enjoying our “school” time.

  5. says

    School here in MI just started last week, so I decided to do a little homeschool preschool with my oldest who is 3. We do a few worksheets a day along with a few learning activities. A couple days a week we’re focusing on a letter/number of the day. Today we focused on the number 1. She did her worksheets then we baked ‘1’ big cookie and we played her Clifford UNO card game. I think I’m having as much fun coming up with things to do as she is having fun doing them! LOL! :-)

  6. says

    I take the kids shopping a few wks before school to pick out their fav backpack and lunch box. They we pick some new shoes and clothes (not over kill, I garage sale all summer for winter wear). I take them into the school the first day (only day all year I go in with them to drop off) and of course take pictures and hide my tears, for I know that these years will go by so fast. I send little notes in their lunch boxes all year for encouragement. Thanks for the entry.

  7. Heather says

    We homeschool year around so nothing really changes in the fall except I get the crockpot out more :-)

    Mostly I am in awe of the first responder! Six children – and two of your children have 8! What fun you must have at your house! I will definitely be checking out your blog next!

  8. Soraya says

    The first month of school was par for the course for my kiddos. Now that they’re in middle school, their so self directed!

  9. becca says

    My son goes to preschool 3 days a week and loves it. He doesn’t cry, but I do all the way home. Of course I am all smiles when I drop him off:)

  10. carol says

    My granddaughter starts school next year. She already is well prepared to go to school. She knows her alphabet, numbers, How to print etc. She will be teaching the other kids how to do it!

  11. says

    Have ten kids who have living and learning at home. An amazing journey where I wonder who actually learns more … the kids or momma.

    Been an amazing adventure.

  12. says

    Just found your blog by way of some random blog hop and really enjoy it! We homeschool year round so no “start of the year traditions”. But I did take school pics of the kids this year. They dressed up and then quickly turned the nice clothes into messy play clothes :)

  13. ky2here says

    The grandkids first week was kind of frightening. Due to new security, several children were isolated from general population and held until parents/guardians could collect them from school. Many of the children were frightened and wondering if they would be singled out and detained. Kind of like Gitmo but without Lindy Englund and the leash.

  14. Anne Taylor says

    I always loved the tradition of packing up all the kids, lists in hand and heading out to get everything in one trip! It was hectic, but it was fun too! The kids love the crisp, new books, the new pencils and pens!

    Everyone would get a new pair of shoes, and a few clothes. We would wait for the weather to change before getting the colder weather necessities.


    (in Canada)

  15. Michelle Draveski says

    just getting new school supplies and clothes is fun but I also get them an educational video game ( like jump start) pertaining to whatever grade they are going into and the subjects they will learn that year. To them they are just playing a game but I know they are getting a chance to be ahead of the rest of the class and get better grades

  16. Carol says

    Our long-standing tradition is that my husband goes in later to work so he can cook a big breakfast to start the year off right.

  17. debi welbon says

    My daughter was shy – so we both cried when she started to school, but my son was a real handfull and I was so excited when he started!!

  18. Linda Fish says

    well my kid daughter is in college and we had fun last year shopping for items for her student apartment.

  19. Tari Lawson says

    I felt a little bad about my son’s first day of school. He had a great day, however, I was not at the bus stop to meet him when he got home. Thankfully we had gone over what to do if that ever happened and he did it (he is in 2nd grade). I was actually headed out the door when the bus pulled up 8 minutes ahead of the scheduled dropoff time. Ugh.

  20. Margaret Smith says

    For my kids first day of school, we have something of a tradition,whereby I bake a special cake. I bake something to do with school. In the past few years, I’ve done a school bus, box of crayons, book, and a ruler. The kids really look forward to these cakes each year.
    Thanks so much.

  21. Laura says

    School is going well so far! We have a tradition of making a sign with what grade the kids are going in to, then they hold it for pictures on the first day of school. That way we can see how much they grow and change from the beginning of the year until the end.

  22. Carol G says

    This year the first month of school has been for my daughter, who has gone back to college after her kids were grown. She has been excited about it, but also felt that her brain had atrophied! I think this first semester will be the most stressful for her, since she doesn’t do well with math, and she is taking one of her required math courses, which has been fairly difficult for her.

  23. Erica C. says

    I just love when my girl comes home and talks so much about how exciting her first day was. I love it!

  24. Sharon Harmon says

    What I started doing this school year is making these small cards, decorated in paint or rhinestones or stickers, and writing positive affirmations on them, then hiding them in my kidlets’ lunch boxes, pockets, shoes, anywhere that will surprise them!! Thank you for the contest!

  25. Denise B. says

    We homeschool; and since we vacation during the year and not in the summer, we start homeschooling in June. I love the flexibility if gives us and the control over what she learns.

  26. Patrice P says

    The first week of school, we look over all the new textbooks and lesson plans, and make sure that we have all the needed supplies. We want learning to be fun and we are always glad to see the excitement about school.

  27. Heather S says

    When we back to school shop they each get a special outfit for the first day of school so they are always excited to get to wear their new outfit.

  28. Autumn B. says

    on my son’s first day of school he was so excited! until we got there…then he didn’t want me to leave & shed a few tears…ripped my heart out!

    autumn398 @ yahoo.com

  29. Angela J says

    My kids are grown, but I would always try to make their first day special and give them the idea this was a “good thing” so they would be enthusiastic.

  30. Chris G. says

    On my daughter’s first day of school, the sitter took a picture of her getting on the school bus. Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. says

    My daughter is loving school this year and she has the same teacher I had years ago. Shes in 4th grade and there now just basically going over all the stuff she learned the previous years of school.

  32. Charlotte says

    My son loved preschool so much that when I went to pick him up he would run the other way. It used to hurt my feelings a little but I guess that was my way of knowing he was having a good time.

  33. Jayne says

    When my daughter was in elementary school she was very excited, dressed up, and had her picture taken on the first day of school. Now, middle school age, it’s a low key excitement with jeans and sneakers, no pictures.

  34. Pat Connors says

    Our fun tradition is to measure up in the hallway to mark the growth from each year. 12 months = two inches taller.

  35. Dawn says

    My daughter’s first day of school was great for her. She was excited to meet new friends. It was a disaster for me since I cried all the way home about my baby growing up and starting school.

  36. Stacy says

    Just attended my daughter’s Open House last week. It’s important to get to know the teacher and their goals for the class. I’m aware of the expectations of her teacher so I can motivate her at home.

  37. Linda F says

    School has been in seeion for three weeks. So far it has been uneventful except my son came home from school in the second week complaining that he had already been assigned a project. He didn’t think they should assign one so quickly.

  38. Kate says

    My son started preschool this year. He is SO happy and proud of everything he is learning. We spend the whole ride home talking about all the things he learned and did.

  39. Jessie C. says

    First day to school, DD actually didn’t want to go home since she loved her “school desk” and of course she asked if she could have the exact one at home.

  40. Carol V. says

    When my son went to his first day middle school, he came out after school he got in the car and just broke down crying. He wasn’t use to changing classes every hour, and after his first period he left and went to second period. Only he forgot to take his binder (which had absolutely all his school supplies in it) with him. By the time he realized it and went back to the classroom, somebody had stolen his binder (yes it did have his name in it). He had to borrow paper and pencil from a friend to make it through the rest of the day.

  41. joni says

    My daughter went to school for a whole two weeks and the teachers are now on strike (again!). Last year they went to school til the end of June due to a strike and here it goes again. Which means missing spring breaks and holiday breaks also.

  42. Marjorie Whitney says

    I have to admit I cried when my grandson started school. Just as I had when each of my kids began. Some things never change, I guess.

  43. McKim says

    My son’s first day of kindergarten I walked up to the door with him, thinking he might be a little hesitant. Are you kidding? I didn’t even get a hug, a goodbye….nothing! He just took off inside, leaving me outside crying!

  44. Kelly Ann T. says

    We shop on tax free weekend. The kids get so excited about the first day. We also go to lunch and talk about the upcoming year. The first day of school we always take a picture so the kids can see how they change from year to year.

  45. Anne G says

    I am a long time homeschooler and this year for the first time one of my kids is going to public school, my 13 year old. It has been a big adjustment for her, especially the hours. She has to catch the bus at 6:55, so she is up before anyone else in the house. Her brother and sister and I start our homeschooling around 9 am. She is doing well so far, but already complaining she has no free time. We’ll see how the year goes, I’d love to have her back at home next year though, we miss her.

  46. jen says

    My girls started a new school about 3 weeks ago. So far so good but they were very nervous on the first day!

  47. Dana says

    My youngest is in 5th grade and taking the bus for the first time this year. The bus stop is just a block away, but he lets me drop him off on my way to work. We always end up with just a little time in the car together to share a few moments before we both start our day.

  48. Jay says

    We are still newbies (preK) but had fun getting all the needed gear ie backpack and lunchbag. We still are enjoying doing lessons at home and discerning homeschool for kindergarten! Glad we have one more yr. to pray and decide!

  49. says

    My daughter started preschool this year, she comes home everyday telling me about what she did that day. I love that she is learning so much. We kind of started a tradition, when we went shopping for supplies and clothes, we took a whole day and had lunch and stuff. Just her and I. I would like to keep doing that, it was fun!

  50. Debra F says

    My youngest just started kindergarten this year and I drive him to a sitter who gets him on the bus every morning. He has 2 little friends he gets on the bus with there and he just loves it. It’s not a tradition or a ritual or anything, but the time we have driving to the sitter is special. We talk about our goals for the day – the little one obsesses over what he’ll have for breakfast, lunch and snack….boys are all about food! Its a fun time.

  51. Annette E says

    My oldest started kindergarten this year. For the first few weeks he cried every day (when we dropped him off and during class). However, for the past week, he hasn’t cried at all!

  52. Jaque says

    We always do chocolate chip pancakes each morning for the first month of school…the kids love this tradition!

    Thank you. :-)

  53. checkers says

    Well it’s always nice to start that special first day off in a positive frame of mind. Don’t be all rushed or this might be passed on to the kids, just relax and treat it as any day, maybe give them a little something of yours to take to school in their backpack, or pocket so they have that feeling that Mom is kind of with them the whole day, this is for the littler children. maybe a handwritten note, hanky or your favorite writing pen or pencil


  54. Adele says

    My grandchildren always come home after the first day of school all bubbly and excited. They love school, their teachers and learning. Thanks for this offer.

  55. Mimi the kitten says

    I don’t have any children, but I’ll always cherish the memory of the special way my beloved Mom sent me off to college: she spent all summer painstakingly pieceing together a magnificent, 500+-piece quilt, for me.

  56. sandra says

    this year, they were asked to bring a pencil case with some school supplies. he decorated it with stickers. i think that was exciting for him, so it may be something we do every school year.

  57. lynn clayton says

    my baby started jk I cried he said to me when I droped him off Im your big boy now right mom as we walked to his class I have never balled my eyes out like that it should be an interesting year

  58. Kerrie Mayans says

    We have a tradition that on the first day of school we take a picture in front of our front door of each child. It is fun to look back and see how they have grown over the years.

  59. Jill Myrick says

    This year we started getting up just a little earlier so that we could have more time together without rushing.
    It really seems to put everyone in a better mood that shows as well in the way that they act at school.
    Thank you so much for the chance to win.

  60. Felicia K says

    My little one’s only 9 months, but I heard about my niece’s first day this year. She looked super cute and was really excited about her tinkerbell backpack. She had a lot of fun, and made her first best friend-a boy.

  61. joD says

    My kids are babies. I would love to read the other ideas. My family didn’t do much for the first day of school. We did go school shopping (which was mostly for clothes) and planned out our outfits, just like that Target commercial but with less outfits.

  62. Rosey says

    Setting up an organizational system with the kids’ papers from day one sets the precedent for the year, and works out beautifully!

  63. Geoff K says

    We’ve started doing something fun in our home to make homework time more enjoyable — we cap off each homework session with a show-and-tell, during which the kids get to show off what they’ve learned in as creative a fashion as they possibly can — poems, songs, skits, anything that demonstrates what they just worked on or learned. It gives both us and the kids something to look forward to, and so far at least it’s upped their motivation to turn off the TV and hit the books for a few hours each evening!

  64. Nancy says

    This year we had an end of summer/kick off school pool party. It seems to set the mode for an end with summer friends and a way to celebrate the start the start of making new ones.

  65. Kat E says

    On the first day of school, we always take photos by the front door. It’s great to see how they grow and change from year to year!

  66. Leilani says

    This year, we’ve started getting up 20 minutes earlier than usual and we use that time to talk about what we’re all looking forward to that day. It can be something tiny or big…but it puts everyone in a positive mindframe for the day.

  67. Sharon Seneker says

    Back-to-school is fun except getting back in the early to bed/regular schedules that we have to have that we don’t in the summer! But everything i working out! Fingers crossed! Thanks! senekers@comcast.net

  68. Shelbie Johnston says

    There is always soemthing magical about the first day of a new school year, everything is so new, the possibilities are endless!

  69. sheri says

    My son’s first day of school is always crazy because he has such a nervous tummy that he always throws up…you can count on it!!

  70. chastidy says

    My boys are only 3 and 2. But the oldest started AWANA and he loves it :)
    He was so excited to learn his cubbie MOTTO :)

  71. Darcy B says

    My kids have decided that they are old enough to make their own lunches–I can’t help but check them–and I like to add goodies–to brighten their day.

  72. Walter A says

    I like to dress my kids up for the first day of school. I go all out. This year I had my 12 year old wear a tuxedo t-shirt and a Scottish kilt. He was all the rage at school. He was so popular that the teacher sent him home. The next day he wore a power rangers outfit. He was the pink ranger. I also like to drop him off at school while blasting Kenny G as loud as my Geo Prizm speakers can handle it.

  73. Diane Baum says

    We try to prepare everything the night before so tht we don’t have to rush for school and can spend some extra time together.

  74. Tiffany says

    We start going to bed earlier about a week or two before school starts. My daughters get their clothes and backpacks ready the night before each school day, too.

  75. Crystal F says

    My youngest started Kindergarten this year and she loves it. She’s having so much fun playing with new friends and learning from her super nice teachers. My oldest started 4th grade and has been accepted into the gifted program. I’m so very proud of her.

  76. says

    I home school my daughter and the first week back to school we slowly get back into the book part of school. I have her do an about me book so when she gets older she can see how much she has changed within the year.

  77. amy delong says

    my son started K this year,he loved his first day,when he came home he was soo excited to tell me about it!


  78. Kimberly says

    Biggest frustration this year was the mixed up schedule. It seems like school starts at a different time every day and everyone plays by ear. Getting better now though. :)

  79. Erica G says

    Of course they were nervous, but it went really well. They knew what they were going to wear, were up on time, and to the bus stop in time.

  80. Happi Shopr says

    They were so excited and looked super cute, I mean, cool. The first day was great getting to see old friends.

  81. Gloria says

    The first couple of weeks of school the kids are getting their homework done early and they seem to like their teachers. We are trying to get to bed a little earlier though.

  82. Mishia says

    He hated the first day of school because he started a new school but by the end of the week he loved it.

  83. Randy & Pat Bailey says

    I always walk the kids 2 their classes the 1st day of school, this helps them 2 not B so nervous about the 1st day of school

  84. Susan Smith says

    My daughter likes picking out a new outfit for her first day of school. She loved showing it off.

  85. Angela C says

    This was our first year for 4K, and I took a picture of my son in front of the school. Which I plan on doing every year from now on! :)