Sometimes we hit a patch of the doldrums or the grumps, or we just lose interest in our lessons. Sometimes it would be nice to have a reset button for the day or maybe a “do-over”.
Today I’m sharing ways to get the spark back in your homeschool.
1. Take a Hike. Literally. It’s no secret we love to take nature hikes. Learning about animals and ecosystems is a core interest at our house. Most of the time when we are out for a hike, it’s because we want to see what we might discover, but sometimes the reason we put on our boots and head out the door is because things just aren’t going well. We might be grumpy or unable to focus and we need a change of scenery. Once we are outside discovering and observing we are all in better spirits.
2. Play. Give the kids a chance to play. It could be free play, building LEGOS, playing a board game or whatever. The important part is for the kids to choose the activity. For older kids it might be an art project, computer project, or playing a musical instrument or going to the driving range. Kids are naturals at learning when they are allowed to direct and make discoveries on their own.
3. Make their day. I bet you know a few things that are almost guaranteed to put a smile on your kid’s face. It might be a chocolate chip bagel or specially shaped pancakes. Maybe it’s time at the park or going for a bike ride or mom joining the tag game. Maybe it’s having a play date scheduled with a particular friend. Take a break and just do it.
4. Take lessons outside. Some kids might like to read a book or do the normal lesson outside. Consider working math problems or spelling words with sidewalk chalk. Figure out some outdoor science experiments or work on estimating distances.
5. Go on a field trip. Pick something your family enjoys whether it’s the art museum, science center, going to a farm or going to the city. Just get out of routine but keep learning. What if you live far away from anything? Consider a virtual field trip. Many famous museums have on-line collections or you could watch a travel documentary.
6. Declare a pajama day, read-aloud day, art day, or engineering week.
7. Design something. Do an art project or build something from instructables. Take a glass blowing class or create a new dish for dinner.
8. Give kids more influence over their schedule. I enjoy my responsibilities as mom, teacher, cook, and keeper of the house. I love the opportunity to bless my family and spend time with them. It’s a great job. But if someone else set up my schedule and forced me to stick to it, I would be a complete grump. I would probably become resentful about fixing meals and keeping laundry clean. Study after study shows the amount of variety and autonomy a person has at their job is positively correlated with job satisfaction. So figure out ways to create autonomy for your kids. It might mean setting their own schedule or modifying some assignments.
9. Go out of town – A short weekend trip is a great way to create family memories and focus on spending time together. It doesn’t matter if you are camping in the woods or exploring a nearby city. One of the best parts is coming home again. After 2 or 3 days of being away, I find myself thankful to cook a simple meal and enjoy the spaciousness of our home.
10. Take care of yourself – It’s super easy for moms to feel like we can’t take time for ourselves or to take shortcuts when it comes to our own health and well being. I’m at my best and most cheerful with the kids when I make the time to exercise in the morning and eat a healthy breakfast. I almost never feel like exercising, but when I do I have so much more energy. When I exercise regularly, I make better food choices and feel more confident about just about everything.
What about you? How do you re-establish the spark in your homeschool?