Most of us start our homeschool year with great energy and enthusiasm, which we communicate to our children. The challenge is to perpetuate this positive cycle as the weeks turn into months and the novelty of a new year wears thin. These tips for keeping homeschooling fun will help you rise to that challenge.
You didn’t forgo traditional schooling to be a slave to a schedule, or a teaching method, or a curriculum. One of the benefits of homeschooling is its adaptability to your current circumstances. So if you have guests from out-of-town, skip the books and plan a field trip week. If everybody’s tired of hearing you talk, have your student take a day or a week to teach you. Take a week off from your boxed curriculum and do a unit study chosen by your child.
Let Interests Lead
Yes, we all have to learn to read, write and do math, but beyond that, the possibilities are endless. Make sure you’re gearing your instruction and curriculum to your child’s interests. Observe what sparks your student’s enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to digress a bit to delve deeper.
Strive for Balance
Most of us could use more balance in our lives, and it’s no different for homeschoolers. You’ll want to balance bookwork with more hands-on projects. You’ll also want a good balance between academic and extracurricular activities. While you’re balancing, don’t forget you’ll need to balance your roles as teacher and parent.
Physical activity may be the single most important factor in keeping homeschooling fun. We know that exercise improves concentration and mood. So take a hike around the creek for science, or practice a foreign language while taking a brisk walk. Plant a garden or play a game of tennis.
Remember your children prior to school age? Everything they learned was through play, or books or other media. Legos, board games, and select television shows or DVDs all provide great learning opportunities. For older children, free reading and discriminating viewing of educational channels such as History or Discovery can significantly broaden their knowledge base while providing enjoyment.
Remember Your Objective
Despite the myriad reasons for and benefits of homeschooling, most of us have one fundamental reason for homeschooling. It might be to keep your child’s love of learning alive, or to teach them about their heritage, or to keep them safe. Whatever the reason, keeping it in mind will allow you to persevere in the face of difficulty.
Be unwavering in your belief in yourself and your child. Trust that you are the perfect person to teach your child, and that your child’s interests and skills will lead to real learning. Don’t automatically second-guess your decision to homeschool on a less than perfect day.
Homeschooling parents who are honest all have days where we fantasize about flagging down the school bus or taking a taxi to the airport. We all have shortcomings, real or imagined, that intrude on our vision of being the perfect homeschool teacher. That’s when you have to remember the big picture: you’re providing your family with an unforgettable opportunity to live, love and learn together.