Wednesday, October 16, 2013

When it is Time to Change Things Up

When we start out our homeschool adventure everything is new and exciting. School days consist of games, art projects and nature walks. We have no real worries because even a trip to the grocery store is a school lesson of some sort from counting the apples to exploring the seafood case. Everything we do presents an obvious learning opportunity.

But then they get older and the learning can become more difficult for them and the learning opportunities are not as obvious as they once were. Fun and games tend to get pushed to the side to make way for the more serious learning. If you have little ones and big ones, everything gets a bit more complicated. (Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace is an expert at keeping sanity while homeschooling with little ones.) It’s easy to get burnt out when you are a homeschool mom. I have gotten burnt out more than once in the decade (Wow, that long already?) I have been teaching my little ones at home. I have even had moments when I want to throw in the towel. Even if you don’t homeschool, as a mom we have all had those moments. Those are the moments when we want to hide in the closet with a box of chocolates. But those are the moments when we need to remember why we do what we do. Holding onto the why is so important. That is also when it is time to change things up a bit. Explore a new approach or throw out the book and forge a new path.

The carefree days of the young homeschool mom are not gone completely, just morphed into a wiser and more experienced homeschool mom who knows that the fun and games will change into new fun and games. More complex science experiments than a simple will it sink or float. If you are a homeschool mom to a little remember to have fun and enjoy the ride, just be prepared that the ride is actually a roller coaster with ups downs twists and turns. There are fun parts and scary parts and at times the world will be upside down. That is parenting for you. Just remember the why and hold onto that. When I am exhausted, I hold onto the why so that I can keep the kids learning while using more than just textbooks and worksheets. Here are a few ideas to help when you just want to hide in the closet.

☺ Movie Day – Critique National Treasure or Night at the Museum for accuracy.

☺ Game Day – Scrabble in Spanish or French, or all animals or foods? Jeopardy for a Final Exam is fun too. Change up the board game rules

☺ Kitchen Day – Tell the kids to cook or bake something from start to finish. Have them do the clean up too of course.

☺ Outdoor Day – Have the kids set up an obstacle course to run through. Let them use cones, boxes or whatever you have that can be used outside.

☺ Science Day – There are so many science projects that take what we all have around the house and take no real prep time. Like examining an egg that’s been sitting in vinegar.

☺ Book Day – If you check out books from the library, have a day where all you do is read. We have about 80 books checked out at any given time. Sometimes it is easy to forget a book that was checked out. Have a day where everyone goes through the stash and read those forgotten treasures. Or do one of the projects in the craft or art book that made its way home.

☺ Nature Day – Some days spending time on a hike or a walk is just what you need to clear your head and restart your momentum.

☺ Field Trip – Of course a field trip is always a fun way to change things up. Explore what is available in your area. Can you take a tour of the local news station? Or do you have a factory of some sort nearby. Field trips don’t have to just be museums and monuments. Think outside the box and be a bit creative.

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