Everyone needs a little change in the routine now and then. Try some (or all) of these 10 ways to add fun to your homeschool, and you’ll sail through the year in high spirits!
10 Ways to Add FUN to Your Homeschool
1. Field Trips!
Who doesn’t love some hands-on learning? Not only are field trips FUN, but they’re also a proven way to help kids make connections between their book work and the world around them. Check out Field Trips for Beginners to help you get started.
If you’re in North Carolina, be sure to take advantage of free admission to the North Carolina Zoo and Aquariums! And residents of NC, SC and neighboring states will appreciate Carolina Field Trips Magazine!
Do your kids like to play games? Board games, dice games, card games? Gameschooling is the idea that concepts can be taught and reinforced by playing everything from the classics like Monopoly to more unique specialty titles like Chemistry Fluxx. I was introduced to the concept on the My Little Poppies blog and I was intrigued. I figured it couldn’t hurt to inject some fun into our geography learning with a few games. And we were hooked! Some of our favorites:
3. Teacher for a Day
I love this concept because it is so packed with possibility! Despite the byline in the graphic, I’m not suggesting anyone needs to make their happy homeschool into a copy of a traditional classroom. Simply allow your child to teach you something they are passionate about and reap the benefits!
There’s the purely academic aspect: it has been said that you don’t really understand something until you can teach it to someone else.There’s also the relationship aspect: showing your child that you are captivated by their interests imprints on their heart that they have something valuable to offer this world.
Not only that, but it models the kind of learning you want them to do, doesn’t it? If you insist they must study algebra, they will be more likely to believe it if, when they were 6, you complied when they insisted you know how to spell Archaeopteryx. It puts you in their shoes for a day, too. It’s not always easy to pay attention to a lesson on something that you don’t find relevant or interesting, is it?
But before we get too heavy into the philosophy, remember to have FUN with this! Delight in your child’s interests, and make memories!
4. Penny Date
It’s no secret I love field trips. Ok, I love ANY excuse to get out of the house and learn while trying new things and filling our lives with all the wonder this world has to offer. Even with all of my collected field trip bucket lists, though, sometimes we just can’t decide or agree on what to do. And sometimes, we’re just up for a zany adventure!
That’s where a Homeschool Penny Date comes in. Grab a coin and some dice, fill the car with gas, throw some snacks in the backpack, then hit the road! Where you end up is a matter of chance, but it’s guaranteed to be fun!
So on your way to all those field trips, and the trips back and forth to co-op or karate class, what do your kids do in the car? If they fill the space with conversational fun, then move on to number 6. But, ya know, if it’s not all sunshine and roses, maybe providing fodder for such conversations would be worthwhile! Find some really fun podcasts and watch the wonder on their faces and you all laugh and learn together!
How often does your homeschool rhythm get interrupted for snacks? 172,394,365 times a day, right?
What if you embraced that “distraction” so that it became an “attraction”? I’m not talking about empanadas while you study Venezuela, or doubling a muffin recipe to explain fractions. Those are great things to do! But can you add some food to your routines to make them… well… less routine?
For inspiration, take a look at Brave Writer’s Poetry Teatime. Then let your imagination run wild! Try a new cake every time you break open a classic novel. Mix up a milkshake to sip with every math test. It doesn’t all have to be sugary, either: hummus with history, anyone?
7. Video Games
Of course video games can sometimes be educational. It’s hard enough getting kids off of them, though, and now I’m going to suggest adding some for fun? Intention and purpose make all the difference here.
There are online classes where your child can study Greek culture and architecture while building replicas in Minecraft.
When my kids knew their phenomes, Reading Eggs moved them from sounding out to reading fluency.
For those real computer-lovers, learning to code doesn’t have to be boring either! Sites like Tynker explore programming concepts by way of game design.
8. Letterboxing and Geocaching
Here we are going out and about again. This one can be a real adventure! And, to be honest, it can be a real disappointment. But that’s all part and parcel with the adventure thing.
Just what is it? Well, both letterboxing and geocaching involve seeking out a location listed on an internet registry, either using clues or GPS coordinates and finding a hidden treasure! You also leave something behind: either a stamp/signature in a log book or another treasure for the next explorer. There are so many educational activities wrapped up in this activity, but it’s also just plain old fun, and a great way to explore your home area, or spend a day getting to know a vacation destination.
9. “Bee” Competetive!
Sometimes kids are motivated by some good ol’ competition! Why not try out some of the homeschooling favorites?
- Scripps National Spelling Bee®
- National Geography Bee from National Geographic
- Odyssey of the Mind®
- Science Olympiad
- First Lego League
10. Try Something Outside Your Own Skill Set
This last tip is a relationship GOLDMINE! Different than “Teacher for a Day,” use this opportunity to be silly, show your kids that the learning never ends, and that even grown-ups fail sometimes. The lessons in flexibility, resilience and how to keep a positive attitude through it all will stick with your family forever! (Provided Mom and Dad are able to keep good attitudes while their kids fall on the floor giggling at their attempts to do some flossing.) So go ahead – try that skateboard, or the watercolors, or a half hour of Minecraft – and strengthen those relationships on your kids’ level.