Back to School Traditions to Celebrate

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It’s important to have ways to mark the passing of the seasons. Practicing back to school traditions can be a great way to celebrate a new school year and transition to a new routine.

Back to School Traditions | Life as Mom

It’s hard to say goodbye to the lazy days of summer. I, for one, prefer not to have obligations and schoolwork to do. My kids would agree. However, it’s back to school we must go. In fact, our homeschool starts back in full swing on Monday morning.

We moms can soften this change of seasons by creating and maintaining traditions that our families enjoy and look forward to. School isn’t a bad thing. It’s a blessing and a privilege. Kids don’t always see it that way, but it is. By practicing back to school traditions and having a positive attitude about going back to school, we can make it something to look forward to.

Back to School Traditions

At our house, that means apple pie for breakfast. I know that may shock some of you, but it’s a special occasion meal that we love. Every year we have Apple Pie for breakfast on the first day of school.

Making a Slab Apple Pie couldn’t be easier. Oh my! Just watch this video of me and my helper putting together our Back to School Pie back in 2010. This year, my girls, now 9 and 7 made the pie all by themselves! They made it last week and we froze it so all we need to do on Monday morning is slide it in the oven. We’ll have warm apple pie for breakfast!

(And yes, we’ve all changed a little bit in SIX YEARS!)

You can make your own traditions or be inspired by other people. It doesn’t matter what you do, really, as long as it’s something that you and your children enjoy together.

Some back to school traditions you can start this year:

  1. Make a Summer Memory Book.
  2. Have an afterschool treat planned, like home-baked cookies or a trip to the yogurt shop.
  3. Take pictures in front of the house on the first day of school. (Psst. It’s okay if you forget on the first day of school. Grab these free printable grade level signs that will work for any day of the year.)
  4. Prepare a celebratory dinner.
  5. Bake and decorate a special cake for dessert.
  6. Give your kids flowers.
  7. Organize a bus stop breakfast bash.
  8. Pack a special lunch, complete with little love notes and a surprise treat.
  9. Start a journal writing campaign between you and your teen to open lines of communication as the school year begins.
  10. Have your kids fill out the Who Am I? questionnaire. Seal them in a mini time capsule. (You could even include photos and other memorabilia.) Open them at the end of the year or at this time next year and be amazed at how much everyone has changed.

What are YOUR family’s special back to school traditions?

Originally published August 22, 2010. Updated August 13, 2016.

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  1. Apple pie for breakfast – what a great idea!

    totally giggling over here because you know your readers so well that you answered my question (and I’m sure many others) when you mentioned that this pie freezes well 🙂

    Can’t wait to give this a try – it is almost apple picking time around here and I know my family would be thrilled to be surprised by pie for breakfast some morning!

    1. @Kara @SimpleKids, during apple season, I buy TONS of apples and then make up a dozen pies (this size and traditional). Freeze it unbaked for a really easy dessert any night of the week.

  2. This is a very creative idea and you make it sound so easy and delicious! I loved the video! What a great idea to have a back to school tradition! Have a great school year! 🙂

  3. no kids for us yet, but i’m in grad school (year 2 of 3 starts aug 30) and our tradition is bob evans for breakfast on the first day of school. i think traditions are the way to go! i’d rather have lazy summer days but at least traditions make the transition a little more fun. 🙂

  4. I was just telling my family about this apple pie for breakfast idea and now I think I am stuck with having to do it for them too! 😉 It will be fun though, and I look forward to making their first day as special as I can for them! My oldest of course had to put in her two cents and suggest other varieties of pie we could try too… like peanut butter! 😉 Pie for breakfast is right up their alley, so no matter what this will be fun! 🙂 (I think I’ll stick to the apple though so we can have at least some redeeming qualities to this awesome treat!!)

  5. I loved this idea so much, that when we started our new homeschool year last week, I made an apple crumble/crisp (because we don’t like crust) with homemade whipped cream and it was a huge hit! I think we’ll make it a tradition.

    Thanks for all the great tips.

  6. That looks so good. This post reminded me of the first day of school. I’m in-between right now, because I’ve graduated from college, and my son isn’t old enough to go to school… I miss that fresh start!

  7. Would you please share the pie crust recipe? I’ve never made anything like that because I hate the rolling, but you said you can just pat it down directly in the pan? I want to make one tonight!!!

  8. I will be making our girls a “school survival kit” with a bandaid, chapstick, breath mints, stick of gum, pencil ,pen &eraser. I always love taking pictures in the front yard in the morning and then at school too! 🙂
    This year I think we’ll have a special dinner or dessert or I like the warm cookies and milk idea!! I usually am at work so this year is a treat to be at home!”) It is all bitter/sweet to me.
    Thanks for a fun site and ideas:)

  9. We are a homeschool family and one of our “back to school” traditions is celebrating “Not Back to School Day” on the local public school kids first day of school which for us is tomorrow. We do something fun like a movie or go to the zoo or a museum since it will be less crowded and then out to lunch or pack a picnic. My kids have been talking about for almost 2 weeks and nonstop today. Then on their first day of school which is Wednesday I have prepared the annual desk treat which this year is school themed Chinese Take out containers that I bought from the Dollar Tree and filled with fun erasers and mini highlighters and some hard candy and stickers and silly bands.

  10. I have been planning new traditions for my 6 children. 4 of them are homeschooled. For this new school year, which begins on Wed., we will be enjoying Ice Cream for breakfast! This is a new traditons that begins this year and will continue till all are done with school! Plus, it is a surprise! Shhh, don’t tell my boys.

  11. I think we’ll be all over the pie-for-breakfast on our first day of school. My son is always asking me to bake, so it will be a great recipe for him. Thanks for the inspiration

  12. Since I read your Weekly ramble this morning, I have been in absolute dumbfounded amazement that you have 36 weeks of lesson plans all printed out and ready for 5 kids! I have 8 kids, two of whom are out of school–so 6 still at home (1 in hs, 1 in jr hr, 3 in elem, 1 preschooler), so am in a similar life situation to you–without the organization, or business! How in the world??? How do you get your kids to do their work and stay on that kind of schedule? Are you actually able to keep up with those printed 36 weeks? Don’t you ever get behind? Thanks for your help!

    1. We absolutely get behind! But, we’re able to get back on track when it’s actually written out in a linear fashion. Some of the plans are merely logs with each day’s lesson from a book listed with a space to write in the date and the score or my sign-off. It’s a way to track our progress and know where to pick up when the wheels fall off the bus.

      One of the biggest hold ups for my kids in the past was waiting for me to write their weekly lists each week. Now, they can look at each section of the binder and know what’s the next thing to work on. I wrote more about it here.

  13. My mother started off making homemade cookies for me and my sister every year on the first day of school. Then it was us and the neighborhood kids. Now I do the same thing with my kids and their neighborhood friends. This year were making cake cookies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cookies.

  14. we do the pictures before leaving for school… and again when school is over! The disheveled/tired look is fun to compare against the first. Ha!