Reboot your homeschool
If you live in the northern hemisphere, spring is here and your family is increasingly aware that the “school year” is coming to an end. Some years my homeschool dribbled to an inconclusive end, until it was clear that we had given up. My best years, though, were the ones where I seized the spirit of spring and changed the pace/structure/energy of our home education.
How to make spring, springier
- Play sports. We played soccer in the backyard every single day (that it didn’t rain) for 2 months. I got out there with the kids and the dog and we chased a ball around. We changed the rules, we made up our own games, we exhausted ourselves. Often, we kicked the ball around before we read aloud or worked on math pages. It became the daily “go to” practice and felt so good after a cooped up winter.
- Visit the zoo. We went to the zoo 2-3 times a week. We’re lucky in Cincinnati to have the second best zoo in the country. I bought passes, and we loaded up the car with snacks and kids… and walked around the zoo until it was our best friend. We did some treasure hunts with clipboards (find the Latin names for Bengal Tiger, Panda, Manatee, and Boa Constrictor, Which weighs more—a cheetah or a lion?, What part of the world does the gazelle live in? etc.). I remember reading the first section of “Life of Pi” to my kids at the zoo to help us all understand how animals feel about being in zoos. Go. Enjoy.
- Paint, draw, sculpt. Art feels like the natural choice in spring. We followed several books: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Edwards), Drawing with Children (Brooks), and several others (for watercolors, oils, charcoals) that were picked up on sale at Barnes and Noble. I kept polymer clay handy for making jewelry, or little foods for doll houses, and so on. We learned to draw my African violets with charcoal on my deck one year.
- Take hikes. Go to the places that are bursting with spring-life. Now’s the time to go to the gorge, or the beach, or the cliffs, or the woods. Bring your field guides and binoculars. Rent a kayak or pedal boat. Take a trip to a zip line! Get outside.
- Make a movie. Turn your kids loose with the digital camcorder. You don’t have to make it a “lesson” by writing scripts. Let them explore how it works—they can make things appear and disappear, they can try to create the image of the warriors coming over the hill, they can record footage of puppets… let them play and explore.
Spring is a great time to get away from the books and out doing the stuff you always say you want to do, but don’t. Remember: no school classroom finishes the text books. They simply stop teaching… because they are exhausted!
You can too! Enjoy the weather, the chance to change pace, and the joy of learning something new.
Psst! Another great way to reboot your day—have a Poetry Teatime! Click the image below to find out more!