1. Create a Top Secret Construction Zone:
One of the things I looked forward to most when I was a public school teacher was preparing my classroom for the new group of children! The looks on their faces when they entered the room were priceless! I really wanted that element of excitement for my own children when we decided to homeschool. I have an entire room dedicated to homeschooling in my house, so I can easily lock it up and put a ‘Construction Zone — Do Not Enter’ banner on the front to create suspense. If you use a dining room or loft area . . . you could get painting tarps (or trash bags) and block it off for a couple days while you worked some magic . . . or even just start piling huge boxes that say ‘Do Not Open’ around the area with lots of special plans inside!
2. Plan a theme:
While I realize the high schooler may not be tickled pink by this idea . . . I think you could modify it right up to middle school. Camping, frogs, the beach . . . there are so many possibilities! Perhaps you could just add a few special touches with this theme . . . like snacks or décor. I plan on setting up a small tent for a reading area for my boys for our camping theme.
3. Fun days!
Crazy hat day, wear your pajamas to school (well, ok, for us homeschoolers that may not be too special ), backwards day, crazy socks, you name it . . . you can do it! I plan on having my husband take our two big boys (ages 5 ½ and 3 ½ ) to buy their ‘fun day’ items to surprise me with the next morning. It sounds so small, but after a tense day with your kiddos or a long week that doesn’t seem to end — a day like this can really lighten the mood . . . even if for a moment!
4. Start a blog!!!
My little boys LOVE to read all about themselves (surprised?) on my blog. I’m sure your kiddos would too. Those who are older than mine can write the posts and take the photos of special projects, field trips, trials, and triumphs. It is a bit of extra work, but documenting your journey with your children will instill so much pride and excitement — even if you’re the only ones to read the blog! Where to get started? www.bloggingwithamy.com or www.wordpress.com
5. Call the Substitute!
What? No really, hear me out. Call a grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, even another homeschooling high schooler, or DAD to come in and take the reigns for an hour . . . a few hours . . . maybe a day. While this may seem like a vacation for us moms, guess who thinks it’s exciting? Our kiddos!! What a great opportunity to allow them to communicate and ask questions about what you’ve been learning with someone new! Meanwhile . . . you have gained some time to plan, clean, or run to Starbucks. Maybe you’d like to just co-teach with this person for the day? I am going to *try* to use this tactic at least once this year too. Although . . . we do live several hours from family, I’m expecting a new baby in December, and my husband always travels. Oy. Will I do #5? Doubtful, but hopeful!
Best of luck planning some fun fall surprises for your kiddos over the summer!
Liz was a cheerleader swept off her feet by the football player back in high school. They’ve been married nearly eight years and are the proud parents to three young boys. She’d always envisioned working and sending her kiddos off to school so she could live the ‘normal’ American dream. However, life and the Lord surprised her and she’s learning to ‘redefine having it all’ while being a homeschooling housewife. She enjoys finding strength from God’s word, the Today show, talking on the phone with friends, and being real about finances and parenting. She’s blogging about homeschooling and much more over at The Hesitant Housewife.