For as long as I can remember, the first day of school, from elementary to college, has always been full of excitement and adventure. My mother always made sure I had shiny new notebooks, sharpened pencils, and my favorite blue pens. She made the first day of homeschool even better by filling it with mouth-watering treats and surprises. As a homeschool parent, making the first day of school special is important for building anticipation for the upcoming year. Below are 10 ideas that you can put into action to kick off a new homeschool year with a fun celebration.

1. Make a Special Meal: Break up the first full day back to academics with your child’s favorite meal. Throw a picnic outside or by the pool and add little umbrellas, food faces, and a surprise sweat treat for dessert.

2. Dress Up: Let your children pick their own outfit for the first day of class, whether they want to stay in their pajamas, dress in neon colors, or twirl in a summer dress. Have the whole family vote for the best outfits, and make sure each child wins a category.

3. Select a School Scripture: Have the whole family pick a scripture for the homeschool year and post it by each child’s workspace. Memorize the scripture throughout the year.

4. Start a Yearbook: Recording fun outings and adventures with the family in a yearbook can be a fun, month-to-month project for your kids. Start on the first day by selecting the paper, designing the layout, and drawing or documenting the first day of homeschool.

5. Give a Gift Bag: Ideas for cute, fun gift bags are all over the Internet, so have fun with the different themes and fillers! Fill a bag with mints for an “Encourage-mint” gift bag or Smarties® for a “Good Luck, Smartie Pants” gift bag. You can also put pens, stickers, and other back-to-school stuffers in the bag for a gift that will get your kids in the spirit!

6. Name a Mascot: Just because you homeschool, doesn’t mean you can’t have a homeschool mascot. In fact, because you do homeschool, you have the freedom to select one! Pick and name your mascot, whether it’s your family pet or favorite animal.

7. Create a School Song: Have a brainstorming session and make up a fun homeschool song. Incorporate your mascot, everybody’s names, the curriculum you use, and why you love homeschooling into a catchy tune. Who cares if everybody is out of tune—have fun!

8. Snap a School Pic: Document the first day of homeschool by taking school photos. Have fun with the picture and throw on a costume, climb a tree, cuddle up with the pet, or look extra studious with a pile of textbooks. Later, incorporate the photos into your yearbook.

9. Decorate the Schoolroom: Make the schoolroom, even if it’s the kitchen table, a fun learning area. Throw up some decoration lights, confetti, and balloons to celebrate the day! If you have a set schoolroom, paint it a bright color and add a small spot with chalkboard paint to write homeschool encouragements throughout the year.

10. Celebrate Homeschool: Instead of being set on a strict schedule, celebrate the fact that you homeschool! Jump in the car and go to the pool or out for ice cream after the majority of academics are finished for the day.

How do you celebrate the first day of homeschool?