You know the days…
You’ve been homeschooling a while,
the kids gain ground,
it is all going well.
But then ~
One day you lay your head on your pillow,
you think about what was accomplished,
start thinking about the week ahead, tomorrow in particular.
You realize… about half the work for today is finished,
and you’d been busy getting the kids back on track,
it feels like one big battle.
The next day you are determined to get it back on track,
and the first thing you do is have a little conversation with the little monkeys,
and off to work they go.
As the day progresses, more chaos.
A possible break.
But, here comes the weekend.
“Oh good,” you think “a break is just what we need.”
The weekend goes by all too quick.
Chaos, from the start.
You know the days.
And when the days run one into another and another,
sometimes you just must do something different.
10 things to do when your homeschool days are thrown off track…
- Get them outside.
It is amazing what a 15-minute break outside can do for little ones. And it is amazing, to me anyway, that we can sometimes forget that kids NEED to move. Even when that is one of the reasons we love homeschooling. We get focused on the school work that needs to get done and we can forget about the body work that is also necessary. Running around the block, or playing Simon Says with exercises does not take long.
- Switch it up.
If they are stuck on math, move to English. If English is the issue, go on to History. There have been times when just a simple switch in a subject can get them back into thinking mode.
- Read Aloud.
Find a book to read aloud. Then make it lunch time or a snack time, let them help make something simple, and sit them down while you read them a chapter. Don’t forget to stop if there are questions, have a discussion. Set a timer so you don’t end up spending the rest of the day doing this. (Been there… done that.) Chapter books are excellent for this. I have a friend who also reads ahead or reads a book she knows pretty well so that when the book calls for something special she can incorporate it. Hot cocoa or Turkish delight are things one can make ahead of time and partake of while reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Mini field trip.
Take a short trip to the library. See if your library has activities available through the week. If so, great. If not, just have a bit of a scavenger hunt for topic books. This works especially well if you have kids in different grades. Choose a topic ahead of time, and use this for your next read aloud.
- Cleaning house.
Stop the school work for a little bit and have a cleaning party.My kids view this as punishment, I’m ok with that as it usually ends up making the point. BUT, it would be more useful for the future training of children if you can just make it more like a break in activity. A lot like the ‘switch it up’ suggestion above. Cleaning does several things that are useful too. Homeschooling is NOT school at home. Also, within bounds of the law, it is also very much up to you how that is structured. Life Lessons 101 is a very useful class.
- Unit Studies.
Pick a topic of interest and then think of every way possible you could study that topic in every subject area. There are multitudes of websites dedicated to unit studies and I LOVE this kind of learning environment. It is more difficult as you add more grade levels to your homeschool but there are some people who use unit studies exclusively, regardless of how many grade levels they have in their home. KONOS is a really good curriculum for this if you want to try it on a more permanent basis. But as a “break” from your regular studies, you can pretty much just “wing it” with a little help from a website or two and do just fine. Free Unit Studies a very large list of ideas for you.
- Remember the basics.
Reading, Writing, Math. With those three subjects mastered, the rest can be accomplished easily. Make sure the reading is good literature. From really well-written literature, your kids will learn English and spelling as well. If the rest of your subjects are getting overwhelming, know that you CAN cut something out without “ruining” your kid’s education. I also do not suggest this as a permanent solution, as most states have more than the three basic subjects on their requirements list. However, sometimes it’s good to just cut back a bit and get some things done.
- Take a bigger field trip.
Go to the zoo or a museum. Study some things the day before and get the kids involved in the planning process. Things you can ask them are: What do we need to take with us? Water? Food? Let’s think about the types of food. Do we need strollers? Jackets? Can we lay anything out the day before? What animals/exhibits do we NOT want to miss? ETC. Also, don’t forget those off the wall attractions that might be in your area that would be fun to “tour”. The biggest ball of twine, or historical markers, etc.
- Go on a picnic.
Go to the park with some fellow homeschool families. A couple of hours of plan and fun, where the kids can go a little bonkers and the moms can just get some adult conversation going. This can be a good small break for everyone.
- Take a short road trip.
Especially if you homeschool through the summer. It is always good to just take some time away from home, away from the books, and get out to someplace new.
These are your kids, this is YOUR home and YOU are in charge of educating them.
Breaks are necessary, but those breaks don’t have to mean they are not learning.
Exercise for the body is JUST AS important as exercise for the brain.