One of the fastest ways to break up the routine and give kids something to look forward to is to get them out of the house, away from their regular routine, for a few hours. If there’s room in your schedule, you might even take them out for an entire day! There are so many options in the Knoxville area for field trips, especially if you don’t mind roaming a little further afield.
The Oak Ridge Museum of Science and Energy is a great place to take kids for a few hours. They have rooms where kids can read, learn, and manipulate all sorts of different things. Have them take a notebook with them, and write out questions ahead of time that you want them to answer—or, have them write down a certain number of facts that interest them, or something that they want to write a report on later.
The Knoxville Zoo is not the bustling place that it is in the summer months, but if you go on a bright, sunny day, you might be able to see a few animals anyway! Have your kids go on a “scavenger hunt.” See if they can find one animal that is nocturnal; one animal that has feathers; one animal that looks like another one, but isn’t the same; and so on. Be as creative as you can with your list.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a more expensive option, but it’s a great day trip for the kids. Have them take a camera and capture all sorts of pictures of new and exciting sea life. Be sure to snap a few of your own!
The library. While most library programs are geared toward younger children rather than homeschoolers, there are still plenty of things for them to do—and the library is a nice, free alternative that can take as little or as much time as you like. Set the kids a research project, or a book report, or just let them pick out something new to read.