Remember the milestones of each school year by asking your children these fun questions at the beginning and end of each school year (or, if they're older, having them sit down and fill out the interview themselves). These first and last day of school interview questionnaires can be tucked away in a special binder to be remembered and cherished for years and years to come.
I've written before about the sweet Mother's Day interviews my husband started doing when our kids were 3 and 6 (at my request, of course). I have them all tucked away in ½" binders in my bedroom, and I take them out and look at them a few times a year. They bring my heart so much joy.
When the girls were in kindergarten and third grade, I decided to do the same thing with the beginning and end of the school year. I recorded their answers in my journal, but I didn't have anything that I could put into our yearly school binder.
Because we are homeschoolers, we create a binder every year with work samples, field trip brochures, and other assorted ephemera. (I think this is a great idea for traditional schoolers, too, by the way. It shows you a nice progression of your children over the years, whether you make a small binder for each year or you make a larger one that holds all the years. Just save a writing sample and maybe a math worksheet from the beginning and end of the year. Take pictures of the best stuff that won't fit in the binder. Don't try to save everything; just pull a couple of your favorites.) I wanted to put the interviews in those binders so that I would have a record of who each of my girls was when we did all that stuff.
I made this printable so that it is usable year after year after year. There are spaces for age, grade, and school year, so you or your older child can fill it out at the beginning and end of each year, and all the years will match. I like matching.
One of my favorite things about these printables are that your child can (has to?!) draw a picture of him or herself on the first page. I started doing this in the beginning and tucked those drawings in my journal, and they bring me so much joy. I love to see how their views of themselves (and their drawing skills) have changed over the years. It's cute and funny and wonderful.
Whether your kids are in preschool or eighth grade, this is a good year to start the interviews. It's never too late to keep a record of who they were, even if you only have a year or two or three left in their school career. Who knows, maybe I'll make mine do these all the way through college. If I'm paying the bill, I get to decide what they do the first day, right?
Why you should do first and last day of school interviews with your kids
As parents, we think we will remember everything that's worth remembering, but we never do, do we?
I remember that I loved my sweet chubby toddler's laugh, but if I didn't have it on video, I would have no idea what it actually sounded like. Or her matter-of-fact little voice when she told me at 3 that she was packing her backpack for college. I forget that one every year until Facebook reminds me of it.
These printable interviews are like Facebook Memories – they will allow you to return to each school year to jog your memory and tug at your heartstrings.
One thing I would like to suggest is that you also take a picture of your child each year on the first and last day of school, not only to put in your notebook, but also to compare how much they've grown and changed over the course of the year. I promise you that you will be amazed at the changes you see, even when they are in high school. Our kids change so much right before our eyes, and we almost never notice until we see a picture.
Is it overkill to do interviews on the first day and last day of school?
No, it's not. A few of my kids' answers have stayed the same over the summer, but you might be surprised at how many change. For example, my 14-year-old's career choice has gone from attorney to zookeeper over a single summer based on the fact that her 4H club interviewed a zookeeper. It only takes one little event to totally change a child's outlook on the world and her life. On the other hand, my 10-year-old wants to be a chef and has wanted to be a chef for almost a year. Every kid is different.
Check out more classroom & homeschool education posts at the Learning Index.