Updated: Jul 15
Sometimes as homeschoolers it feels like we are chained to our kitchen table. It's where we drill math facts, learn our geography and study history . It's where we practice spelling words, writing and do book reports. It's where one kid plays critical thinking games quietly while we teach a lesson to another. It's where we have breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner.
As you can see it can quickly become a place that we are tired of seeing. If you are dreading another day clustered around the table give these 8 ideas a try and get a change of scenery.
1. Read Books Everywhere
If reading is not your kids favorite pastime allowing them to read in new and fun places helps foster a love of reading. So grab a book and try some of these non table locations. You'd be surprised what a change of view can do.
the couch in the living room
a hammock in the backyard
front porch swing
makeshift living room fort
in a bubble bath
under the bed
in the closet surrounded by stuffed animals
The list could go on and on just remember it doesn't matter where they read the important thing is that they are reading.
2. Lean About Nature Outdoors
Put the book away head outside and learn about nature firsthand. Take journals to document different animals and flowers you find. Gather feathers and leaves for your journal and learn about the anatomy of the bird or plant they come from. There are a few other ways to enjoy nature outside
find a birds nest to observe from a distance
follow ants back to their hill
find a pond of tadpoles
watch bees pollinate and gather nectar
build a backyard garden
3. History In A Museum
Do you make time for weekly field trips to the museum? You might want to. There is so much that can be learned on these field trips and get you out of the house. There are lots of different types of museums and so much to be learned at all of them. There are local museums where you can learn all about the surrounding area, science or hands on museums allows for all kinds of hands on fun and learning opportunities and regular museums all you to learn all types of history from all different places around the world.
Make a list of all the different museums in your area or ones close by you could travel to in a day trip. You will be surprised how fast the kids can get unplugged and engaged in the wonders they will take in and how much they will learn.
4. Create Art On The Floor
Often with homeschool in an effort to keep our days short and still get all the work done art is pushed to the side or regulated to just once a week or a couple of times per month. Invest in a drop cloth and let the kids embrace their inner Rembrandt. You don't have to make art difficult for yourself or your child with complicated curriculum or supplies. Just gather some basic supplies like crayons, markers and paint and let your kids imagination run wild. Frame and hang your children's best work down the hallway for friends and family to enjoy.
5. Science In The Bathroom
Science experiments can be messy but fun work. Let the kids play with a little less worry in a space that will be much easier to clean up. Don't skip those opportunities to really get hands on in science for fear of the mess. Let the kids see science come to life. There are a few things you'll want to take out side like baking soda rockets or diet soda and mentos but for the most part there so many things that can be mixed, poured and measured in the bathroom.
6. Music Class In The Car
Another often unused elective is music and music history. We are in our cars often running errands and to and from different practices almost everyday. Use this time to study music. Have sing alongs in the car or introduce them to classical music. They may discover a favorite composer and could look up and learn about them and give reports in the car to the family. You can listen to music by decade and see if they can pick up on how not only the music changed but how past music influenced the newer artists. The possibilities are just as endless as there are songs to listen to.
7. Volunteer / Service Projects
Teach your kids about being good citizens and go out and help the community. They could read to the elderly, volunteer at the zoo, highway clean up, habitat for humanity, share your garden harvest with the needy or simply baking some cookies and sharing them with the neighbor. They could also raise money for different charities by having a lemonade stand, selling the garden harvest or sell their old clothes and toys in a yard sale. Their are endless possibilities that kids can do to help make the world a better place and one small drop can start a river flowing. My kids learned this with a project we do every year at Christmas time. We Elf three to five neighbors and leave them a plate full of goodies cookie mix, cookie cutters, coloring books and candy. once hit the families leave the printed note on their door and are asked to play along. My kids love watching as the notes on doors grow from a few to dozens and dozens and see one kind gesture caused that ripple effect.
8. Math At The Grocery Store
It seems as I watch teenagers today be able to solve complex algebraic equations but not be able to count back simple change that there is something missing in the way schools teach math. It seems the life skills part of math is skipped over for more advanced math that very few will use once they are out of school. I was a X-ray tech before kids and I used some very basic algebra stuff I learned in pre-algebra, but I can't recall a time I've used the more advanced algebra or geometry. I'm not saying these aren't important but if you have no plans to use it there are real life math skills that could be taught for the greater benefit of more people. Math at the grocery store allows you to teach comparison shopping, figuring out tax, sticking to a budget and the real cost to using a credit card. Kids are never to young to learn the importance of personal finance.
There are lots of ways to keep homeschooling fun and functional for your family. There will be times you need to be at the table and that is o.k too. All of these options may not work for you but you might help you to come up with different options that can. We love to be outside on nice weather days and I invested in some clipboards and lap desks so we can sit outside and get fresh air and some different scenery. Always remember you aren't doing school at home you are homeschooling don't be afraid to rock the boat.
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