Christmas is over and the new year is here. A new semester of homeschooling is ahead of us. Often the winter months can be dreary and the days can seem long. It can be a challenge to keep school fun and exciting when the weather is gray and cold temperatures keep you indoors much of the time. But, it can be done! The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate and make some changes to your school routine and breathe some fresh air into your daily routine. Here are 13 ways you can make homeschooling more fun this year.
Try A New Curriculum
If you (or your child) is struggling or getting bored easily with a certain subject or curriculum, it might be time to try something new. It could be as simple as trying a new math workbook, using math manipulatives to teach a concept, or switching to a different style of curriculum altogether. Ask other homeschooling moms which curriculum they like for different learning styles to get some ideas of ones you might want to try. The great thing about homeschooling is you have so many choices and options available to your family when it ones to curriculum, so you can find the right fit for your student.
Mix Up the Schedule
Do you always start your bookwork every day with math or history? Try starting with science or art. If you have napping babies or toddlers at home, too, you might consider adjusting your day to do the bulk of the harder work when the little ones are sleeping.
While many people enjoy taking nature walks or doing outdoor science when it is nice and warm outside, the winter months are a wonderful time to explore nature, too! Observe the changes in the trees, animals, and bodies of water, compared to how they look at other times of year. Watch the clouds and try to predict a snowfall! Come inside to warm up and record your observations in a science notebook.
Read a Good Book
When the weather outside is frightful, curl up with a good read aloud. Family read aloud time, whether over a cup of hot cocoa or at night before going to bed, is a great way to enjoy a good story and spend time together! If you’re going on a long car trip, consider an audio version, so you can all listen as you cover the miles.
Plan a Field Trip (Or Several!)
Field trips are a great way to make learning fun. There are probably several awesome historical and educational sites to visit within a few hours drive of where you live. Some of them may be right in your own backyard. Plan a unit study around one of them and cap it off with a field trip to see them in person. Have the kids bring a camera and document the trip from their perspective.
Focus on Small Victories
It’s easy to look at all that has to be accomplished by the end of the school year and get overwhelmed. By focusing on small victories, like finishing a math workbook, or getting to the end of a science unit, or meeting a reading goal, you can see the whole year in more manageable segments!
Join a Home school Group
This is one of the best things we have done as homeschooling family. Our home school group has become our lifeline, and given us some of our best friends! We have kids activities, a co-op class, and a mom’s fellowship night every month for the moms. It has truly been one of the keys to our homeschooling success to this point!
Ditch the Worksheets
If your kids are facing major burnout, try ditching the worksheets completely for a few weeks. Instead of doing math problems straight from the book, write them on a dry erase board. If you have a day when the weather is nice, head outside and do the math problems with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. Sometimes changing up the method can make all the difference and give your kids the motivation to power through.
Try Some Review Games
When you are bored with the regular routine, plan a day to play review games. There are lots of ways you can review! One of my favorite ideas is to use our old “Candyland” board game during school. Each color block represents a subject. When they draw a card, they have to answer a review question from the corresponding subject in order to move their piece on the board. When you turn it into a game, your kids will love school!
Become Mad Scientists
Make learning fun with some hands on science projects! Kids learn best through play and science opens up a world of opportunities to explore and learn through projects. Even everyday activities can become opportunities to learn more about science. For instance, my kids were recently eating a snack of microwave popcorn and they started arguing over which brand was better. We decided to make it an experiment and we popped a bag of popcorn from each brand and then checked to see which one had the most unpopped kernels left. Get creative and have some fun with science and you will be surprised at how much your kids will learn along the way.
Take Brain Breaks
Mix up those long winter days with brain breaks. Put the worksheets away for half an hour and turn on some fun music for a dance party. Bundle up and go outside for a walk to clear your minds and find some new inspiration. Put the books up and spend an hour drawing. You will be surprised how a half hour brain break can make a difference in the attitudes of your students!
Study the Arts
Spend some time during the spring semester to study fine arts. Research the lives of famous artists and then try to replicate their work using their signature methods. This is a great way to boost creativity and have a little fun. Study the different musical movements through history and spend time listening to famous composers. Fine arts is an important part of any curriculum and it’s also a great way to break up the monotony of your typical curriculum.
Follow Their Interests
Choose a day or two each month to let your kids choose the topic. If your son is fascinated by frogs, read books about them at the library and watch videos online to learn more about their habitats and life cycle. If your daughter really wants to know about sign language, watch tutorials online and learn to spell the alphabet. Sometimes student guided learning is the best so give yourself permission to follow their interests for a change!
These are just a few of the things you can do to bring fun back into your home school this year. It doesn’t take much to reignite the spark and passion for learning at home, and sometimes something new will do the trick!