Have you hit a wall in your homeschool? Is everyone unhappy and no progress is being made? We’ve all been there. Routine is good but sometimes we get in such a rut that we lose sight of the purpose of helping our children find delight in learning. Here are some ideas that I have used to break out of the rut and get us moving again.
- Read Aloud: If everyone is wiped out and frustrated, or just plain sick and tired, take a break and pick a good book. Mom can read aloud, or you can use a smartphone/tablet to play an audio book. Let the children do something with their hands as they listen. Legos, coloring, sewing, crocheting, playdough, etc. When you read aloud together, you share an experience, make family memories and inside jokes. This is great for car rides as well.
- Play a game: Board games can be very educational! Take the Scrabble tiles or Bananagrams and play age appropriate games with them. I like to take my kids spelling words and use scrabble tiles to spell them out. I will mix them up and hide one letter away and see how fast they can figure out what letter is missing. Keep adding words to make it more challenging, set a timer and let them find their best time. Life, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Farkle, and so many more use all kinds of good math. I also like to use our stairs to play a live action “video game”. My boys loved this one when they were younger. The student starts at the bottom as “Spiderman” and tries to get to the top of the “empire state building”. I ask him a math fact. If he gets it right, he goes up a step, if he gets it wrong, he goes down. You can do that with spelling, bible memory, all kinds of things.
- Take a walk: Getting outside can be an excellent way to reset everyone’s attitude. Hike a nearby path, or just your neighborhood. As you walk, talk about everything! The nature you see around you and the Creator who made it, their plans, hopes and dreams. What book have they been reading? Talk about it! Kids tend to open up much easier when you are not staring them down across a table. That’s why so many great conversations happen in the car and on walks. Remember, we homeschool because we want to know our kids and pour into their hearts, not just so we can “get through” 120 math lessons a year.
- Sweeten the deal: Sometimes we can’t make it fun. Sometimes we just have to get the work done. That’s a fact of life. Which will motivate your child and bring peace to your homeschool? Choice A: Telling your child, “Life is hard, we all have to do things we dislike!” OR Choice B: Telling your child, “I get that this is difficult, and I appreciate the hard work you are doing to get it done. Would it help to __________?” Fill in the blank with something you and your child would enjoy. Drink some hot cocoa while we finish this task; Bake some brownies; Do some stretching exercises to get our blood flowing before we start; have an M&M after each problem; head to the park as soon as we finish; the possibilities are endless!
Please don’t think that when you break out of your normal routine and do something different, you wasted an hour, a day or a week. These activities COUNT. They are learning! When you listened to that audio book, your children learned grammar and organization of thoughts. While their hands were busy, they were building muscles for handwriting. While you played games, they counted money, read words, made logical deductions, strategized, and took turns! While you took that walk, they exercised, answered your questions, formed sentences, and learned about nature. When you baked brownies, they learned about fractions!
I hope you find joy in your homeschool journey today!