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Making homeschooling "fun" / lighthearted

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DS8 has requested I try to present school in a more fun way. For him, that usually means telling stories or challenges before we work. For instance, will have Legos set up and the mini figs will be trapped. For them to be rescued, he will have to answer the questions right.

 

I don't mind doing this, but I am not very creative in this aspect. I have asked him to come up with ideas for us. But, I thought I would ask the Hive for generic ways to make homeschooling fun. It doesn't have to involve stories or Legos, necessarily. I sometimes use different voices to bring an aspect of lightheartedness as well.

 

Do you have any tips or things you do to make your homeschooling day a little more interesting or fun? Outside activities are usually not possible due to the weather, but for 1-2 months of the year I can incorporate some outdoor stuff as well.

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We do themed reading.  Eating baked potatoes while following Mary in the Secret Garden, unwrapping the Package Containing All The Words In The World (aka dictionary) while reading The Phantom Tollbooth..things like that.

 

Sometimes it's just listening to ds.  Yesterday we were going over Greek military uniforms and weapons.  DS went over to the recycling and found a slip cardboard from a folding box I bought and thought it was just the thing to make a Greek breastplate.  Hey, it was!  So I pushed aside the original lesson and expanded this one, and making a part of a uniform will be what we do this week (he drew the line at wearing a "skirt").  Next week we'll get to Troy and play in a tent/horse before invading the city/livingroom.

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I've been wanting to set up "learning stations" for our homeschool. Different areas set up to work on something educational, but in a fun way. I have several links to investigate when I get the chance. Things like math manipulatives at one, history flash cards (states & capitals, presidents) at another, easy science experiment at another, like that. Here's a link for ideas...

http://familystyleschooling.com/2016/10/01/31-days-of-hands-on-learning-stations/

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For awhile we started everyday by playing a board game. You can set a time limit so that it doesn't take up too much school time.

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Educational games might help.


 


For math, sometimes set up a store: put price tags on items from the pantry and use some toy or item with wheels and a basket for a grocery cart, and go shopping with real money. Take turns being shopper and cashier and making change.


 


Perhaps sometimes do read-alouds or solo reading in unusual places:


- make a nest of pillows and blankets in a (dry) bathtub


- make a tent out of a table with a sheet over it and read with flashlights


 


Not quite like what your DS is suggesting, but maybe plan to have each day of the week have a special emphasis to look forward to:


- Monday = educational games


- Tuesday = tea (or hot cocoa) and poetry


- Wednesday = wacky Wednesday (do school in goofy ways)


- Thursday = science extravaganza (spend extra time on science kits/hands-on)


- Friday = field trip or art day


 


Past threads that might spark ideas:


Please share independent enrichments and fillers


What are you using that is fun and outside-of-the-box?


My 7yo says school is boring


Wacky Wednesdays: need goofy ideas


Son's idea of how to make school fun


Tell me what your favorite hands on project was this year


How do you plan hands-on in your day?


Favorite fun cool things esp. for math and science


Edited by Lori D.
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There's been research to show that doing physical activity before math can be beneficial for the brain - and most boys do like being active. So you could have ds do jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, running, jumping, etc. before starting math or for a little break in the middle.

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Mine do jumping jacks, sit ups, etc while doing flash cards or spelling words. We also play lots of easy games this way-- answer the question or card, get a turn in tic tac toe or sorry, or trouble or any other game they like, shoot nerf suction darts at questions or math problems on a white board, etc. almost anything can be turned into a game this way. Get 1 lego piece for every math problem, then build a scene (the mini holiday promo poly bags are great for this). Mr. potato head works well for this too. Hangman, build a snowman or robot on a marker board (useful for getting a day's tasks done too, each time a subject or chore is done you get a piece added). Simple as it is, mine like starting at the top of the steps and answering questions to move down one step if correct or back up one if wrong, and getting to bottom of steps gets snack or dismissed for a few mites play break, etc. I need to do this more, I try for 2X a week right now, but my average is probably closer to 1x a week.

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These are great! I knew you all could help me/us. I'm a get-it-done person, but DS loves to take side trips and extra discussions and explanations and on. I think having more directed play while working can keep us on task but also be more stimulating for DS. His brain just works so differently than mine. 😆

 

I'm hoping to have more "planned" field trips. I used to do them randomly and they always threw off my schedule (we would do none for months, then weekly, etc). I'm hoping to space them out better, and do more weekend field trips to not interfere with the week as much.

Edited by displace
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For my kids, art and reading aloud do a lot for us.

 

I find ways to work both in whenever possible. Just find what works. If it is games, they don't need to be elaborate, just daily. :)

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Even doing stuff like pajama day or backwards day make it a little more fun. 

 

My kids loved playing hot lava where they could not touch the floor all day; they carried around pillows or towels to throw down so that they could walk.  

Have you seen the picture where the mom puts crepe paper all in the hallway so her kid has to navigate the maze to get out? It looks like a laser thing from Mission Impossible. 

 

Have a little fun every week; I do not think you should feel pressure to go full out daily - that would be exhausting!

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Maybe some version of, whenever you ask a question and he gets it right, he gets to toss a small object into a large container. When it's full, he gets a prize. If it takes weeks or months, the prize can be big, and he'll likely be asking to be quizzed as often as possible. And you won't have to think of as many new things to do.

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My kids like throwing a stuffed animal back and forth for math fact drills. I give the equation and throw it to them, they give the answer and throw it back. They also like getting a sticker on their graded quizzes and tests.

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We start every day with one quick single-player logic-type game such as Rush Hour, Laser Maze, Pathwords Jr, etc

 

DD always finds something to do during read alouds, most often art projects. Sometimes it's related to the read aloud itself, sometimes it's just a way to fit in some project she's personally working on.

 

We play a game daily. These aren't all explicitly educational, but "learning how to strategize" is a great skill on its own. We take turns choosing the game.

 

I require basics (math, English, foreign language), and DD gets to choose any other two classes/topics. In this, we've done chemistry kits, Lego Education kits, NaNoWriMo, art, an online Lit class, and I don't know what else. After she finishes editing and illustrating her NaNoWriMo book for this year, she next wants to use that slot to work on some DIY.org badges.

 

Poetry teas are a hit here.

 

We flip between academics and non throughout the day:

Class

Piano practice

Class

Cuddly non-academic read aloud

Class

Meditation

Class

Game

Class

Chores

(Or whatever order works that day)

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