Homeschooling is an adventure that no parent who hasn’t attempted it can even begin to imagine. There are ups and downs; days when things are absolutely wonderful an days when things are less than ideal; days when you have a blast and days when you’re ready to give up completely. Coming up with new things to do each day can be a challenge, especially if you’re not using a predesigned curriculum; or you can experience the adrenaline-filled terror of realizing that you don’t have enough year left for all of the things that you still need to teach.
Standards-based education. Common core. A hundred different things that your children are expected to learn—and you’re the one who gets to teach them.
Not only that, you’re the one who is expected to make it fun. All those complaints about “boring” teachers? If you’re one of them, your child will not be engaged, nor will they be learning as thoroughly as they would be if they were in a classroom with a vibrant, engaged teacher who is thrilled by what she is teaching and able to bring all of her students into the lesson with enthusiasm and excitement.
How do you keep your kids engaged?
Consider adding in some fun and games to your regular routine. Explore art—not just through crayons and colored pencils, the preferred “neat” mediums of many parents, but with finger paints, and playdough, and sensory materials. Let them explore with their hands and get involved in art, even if it means making a bit of a mess.
While you’re engaging their senses, engage them in their world. Take them outside to play. Take walks that explore the changing seasons—brilliant leaves in fall; bright, beautiful flowers in spring; snow in winter; water play in the summer. Discuss the changes that the world is making around them, and integrate them into your lessons.
Be active with them. Take walks. Play outside—hopscotch, and drawing in chalk on the driveway, and hula hooping, and swinging. Take them to the park, or the roller rink, or swimming, if the weather is appropriate.
Play games—word games, creative games, games that strike their fancy. Keep the computer and the television off when you can; use them when you need new, fresh ideas. Play charades, and dance to silly music in the middle of the living room, and get out the Twister game when it’s raining and the kids are too silly to settle down.
Shake things up. Keep it different, and interesting, and engaging. Play—because they’re only little once. You only get these days with them once, and if you don’t enjoy them while you can, you’ll regret it later.