Are your homeschool days getting a little…well…tedious? Papers to grade. Spelling lists to go over. Math lessons to struggle through. It’s getting a little monotonous, isn’t it?
Now imagine something else.
It’s the middle of a Tuesday afternoon and your kids are having a blast. They were inspired by something they learned in history and now are letting their imaginations run away with it. You don’t know what kind of world they’re creating, but they’re laughing, playing, and having a blast together, and you’re just smiling over a cup of coffee, watching them.
You’re enjoying yourself; they’re enjoying themselves. Sounds like a dream, right?
Growing up in a homeschooling family, we had our share of monotonous days. But, just like you have to spice up that bland pot of spaghetti sauce, you occasionally need to spice up your homeschool day. Sometimes, something different and special is all you need to liven up those boring afternoons.
The Reading Corner
A big box in the corner with a cut-out door? A kiddie pool filled with those small colorful balls? Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Elementary school me thought so, too.
One of my many memories of elementary school is our reading corner. It upgraded through the years from a large painted refrigerator box to a kiddie pool filled with colorful balls, but every year it brought color to our school room and gave us a special place to sit and read our school books. But, what made it even more special: the number of hours we spent in that corner turning it into a make-believe world.
Your reading corner doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary; it can be as simple as a stack of pillows beside the bookshelf. Anything that brings color to your school room and transports your kids to a world of their own imagination is enough to turn a boring school day around.
Family Science Experiments
Science experiments take on a whole new level of fun when you get to do them with a buddy. You have someone to watch the magic of a chemical reaction with and help with all that tedious data collecting.
Bring a spirit of exploration into your school day by making science experiments a family event. Choose one or two kids to be the “teacher” and let them teach the rest of the family what is happening in the experiment and why it is happening. I remember sitting beside my older siblings as they did their science experiments, watching, learning, and sometimes getting in the way, but always fascinated by what they were doing.
NOTE: This, of course, has to be done with discretion; you might not want your toddler around your ninth grader’s biology dissection!
A Family Play
Why not put all that creativity and energy to good use? Turn your kids into little Shakesperians by letting them create and direct their own plays. Or give them a camera and let them create their own movie. They’ll have to use their imagination and creativity to create the set and the costumes, and they may even learn some interesting facts about history and literature along the way!
I think you’d be surprised at how many different subjects putting on a play or movie involves. Costumes can be included as art. The set may take a bit of math and engineering. The script itself is writing and literature. We once did a play for science on the discovery of Uranus! Acting isn’t just for fun and games but gives your kids a chance to learn in a way that seems like play.
Growing up, our homeschool curriculum was based around literature, and that meant read-alouds. All four of us kids would get together and listen as my mom read to us. We brought our own projects and crafts to work on and the hour often flew by faster than we’d like, usually extended by a pleading, “Mom, can we please read a little more?”
A read-aloud hour gives your kids something to look forward to every day. Stories develop and change and, hopefully, you will never read the same thing you read yesterday. Your kids will be eager to find out what happens to their favorite hero a chapter a day. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: you will be, too.
When your homeschooling day gets a little more average than you’d like, and you just want to switch things up a little, pull one of these ideas out of your homeschooling toolbox and let your kids laugh the day away as they explore using their creativity and imagination. They can imagine and learn; you can watch them enjoy themselves.
They’ll love it. You’ll love it. What more can you ask?
What are some of your tricks for adding flavor to those monotonous school days?