Routine can be an important part of the homeschooling process. As important as it is, routine can become more of a rut at times. This makes learning a duty and the joy can be sucked right out (for the child and the teacher!). So if your routine has become a rut, here are 10 ideas to breathe some life into it.
1. Make It Hands-On
One great way to do this is get in the kitchen. By making a cake together, you can work on non-fiction, reading comprehension, following directions, measurement, or fractions (among other things, I’m sure). Use learning toys and manipulatives to make learning hands-on and fun.
2. Make It a Game
Games always make learning fun. I love to play sight word games with my 1st grader. Even puzzles can be made into a race! It doesn’t have to be complicated, and the rules can be created by your child.
3. Change It Up Just a Bit
Keep the worksheet…just give it a facelift! Find some way to add or subtract something to make it a bit different, like a fun pointer for reading text. After a few weeks, my son began avoiding the sight word poke page in my PreK reading curriculum. So I changed it up a bit. We’ve done several different things with it, such as: 1- tracing the word in a plastic sleeve protector and 2- sticking small stickers on the word.
4. Rotate Out Learning Toys
As a classroom teacher, I rotated out centers and manipulatives. It didn’t even occur to me to do this at home! It was Carisa’s Keepin’ it Fresh post that kicked my rear in gear. The first thing I did was take inventory of all our toys and manipulatives. I categorized them; such as building toys, educational toys (LeapFrog, Tag, etc.), puzzles/games, writing toys, etc. Each week, I picked toys from each category and rotated them into our schoolroom or playroom. You can read a little more about that and our new system here.
5. Get Outside the Walls
Field trips are especially important when the subject can be learned best by experiencing it. Some of the best field trips we have are in our own backyard. Even if you aren’t studying something related to the great outdoors, take a blanket outdoors and work together. Sometimes, a little fresh air does wonders for the attitude (for student and mom).
6. Go Tech-y
My first grader began to loathe spelling his sight words with magnetic letters. I downloaded the Magnetic Alphabet app for our iPad and he gladly spells his words now with no complaining! He also doesn’t share the same love I have for the BOB Books, but download a BOB Book app and what do you know? I “catch” him playing on it!
7. Tap into Their Interests
Find a way to teach your child that taps into his God-given passions and abilities. Does he like LEGOS? It’s amazing what you can learn with those little blocks! Does she like telling stories? Challenge her to write them down. Kids tend to stick with tasks longer when they are passionate about them.
8. Give Choices
I make a list of the independent morning work my son needs to accomplish. As he chooses the order of his tasks, it gives him a sense of ownership and responsibility.
9. Reassess Your Curriculum
Sometimes, it’s simply time to ditch the curriculum altogether. Don’t be rash. Pray about it. Talk to other homeschooling moms. Get online and chat with others. Find out what curriculum might pique the interest of your child a bit better.
10. Take a Break
When rut has set in and seems to desire permanent lodging in your homeschool routine, maybe it’s time for a break. A long weekend, perhaps. Absence can make the heart grow fonder, but it can also allow the brain time to reset. What things have you tried to freshen up your homeschool routine? Please share with us!
Becky Spence is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings. She is passionate about teaching, specifically literacy. She is the author of This Reading Mama, where she shares reading and writing activities as well as free literacy curricula and printables. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.