It’s the context, schweetheart!

Chameleon Image by Lega Eglite

If you need to turn a day around, change the environment. No lectures, no shaming sessions, no tongue-lashings, no careful explanations.

Kids and teens respond to concrete experience, not abstract explanations and suppositions.

So, if you have cranky little guys, send them to jump it out on the trampoline. If you want them to learn their prepositions, act them out with a chair.

If you’ve got a tired hand, cramped from holding a No 2 pencil, hand the child a marker and a white board.

If the kitchen table is dull and uninspiring, write on a clipboard under the table.

If your teen drives, send her to the library or museum or local deli to study alone.

Sounds can change everything: play recordings of nature (rainfall, crackling fire, waves lapping the beach) during copywork. Use jazz music when cleaning up the family room (again!). Add salsa to bath time or lunch or art.

Create a centerpiece before math—scavenge rocks, pinecones, wildflowers (if you are lucky enough to have them yet), shells, moss on bark, driftwood and ask your kids to arrange them—perhaps in geometric shapes. Maybe they can go in a triangle, then halfway through the lesson, your kids can rearrange them into another shape (circle), then at the completion of the lesson, a polygon!

Before the read aloud, face-paint. Pick an image or symbol from the book and put it on each child’s cheek.

Save writing (for a teen) for midnight and candlelight. Forbid writing until they are alone in the dark, with a single candle. See what happens.

Wear dress up clothes, allow earbuds for music, use a typewriter (if you have one), dress up the table, light a fire or sit outside on a blanket, study at a coffee shop, write at a nature center, make calculations at the grocery store, skip count in Spanish, use British accents for all school related activities for an afternoon…

Instead of writing, draw.

Instead of calculating with a calculator, use an abacus or measuring cups or rods.

Instead of reading aloud, use audio books—go for a drive!

Add to this list, please! What else can be done to shift out of the familiar into another version that entices and revives?

Cross-posted on facebook.

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