Do you ever wonder how you can make homeschooling fun or more fun for your family?
It should come as no surprise that homeschooling is hard and involves a lot of planning, motivation, resourcefulness and consistency.
And that can be a little overwhelming and sometimes frustrating!
If you’ve ever felt like pulling your hair out or just giving up, know that you’re not alone.
The truth is, it’s easy to fall into a rut or suffer from burnout if you’ve been homeschooling a while. The key to staying motivated is to find ways to make it fun.
Yeah, I know that sounds a little simplistic but it actually works.
So if you’re struggling with homeschooling and would like to know how to make things more fun, here are some tips for you:
Before we jump in, I just want to say that what constitutes fun for me may not be fun for you or your kids.
Also, when I talk about fun, I am referring to things that you and your kids enjoy (or could possibly enjoy). Since you know your family better, just pick and choose what is suitable for you.
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1. HOW TO MAKE HOMESCHOOLING EASIER
I am a firm believer in working smart when possible. If you want to enjoy homeschooling,finding ways to make things easier for you and your kids is the way to go.
Here are some ways you can make things easier:
1. Use Short Lessons
This is very effective with younger kids. Instead of making them sit for long stretches of time, keep lessons short and focused.
When my kids were younger, I noticed they were more excited and motivated when they could switch from one activity to another instead of spending lots of time on the same lesson or activity.
I know some lessons take up more time than others, but whenever you can, break the lessons up especially for younger kids.
2. Less is more
One thing you can do to make homeschooling easier is to reduce the workload.
More work isn’t always the key to success. So cut out the unnecessary stuff or what I like to call busy work.
Many moms follow their curriculum to the letter. This can sometimes become tedious and take away the fun from homeschooling.
Use your curriculum as a guide and ignore anything you don’t need. For example, your kids don’t need to do every practice question or exercise if they already know the material.
In my experience, this applies to math more than any other subject. Math can be very repetitive. So once your children understand a particular topic, no need for them to do all the practice lessons in the workbook just because.
3. Give the kids more control/responsibility
As your kids get older, it’s okay to give them more responsibility for their school work.
Instead of supervising every single thing they do, give them some control. This is very helpful if you homeschool a lot of children.
Trying to do everything means you’re going to spread yourself too thin and become overwhelmed.
As an example, your older kids can check the answers to their math lessons or if they use workbooks for other subjects they can check the answers too.
If you have some strong readers, make them do some of their readings and narrate to you so you can be sure they understand the material.
When my older child read A Drop of Water and Science Lab in a Supermarket, I let him do some of the experiments himself because they were really simple and safe. I just asked him to report his observations.
He thought it was pretty cool that he got to play scientist all by himself and I had some time to focus on something else. Win, win.
This is just an example of some ways you could give your kids more responsibility and make homeschooling fun. There are so many other things you can do.
4. Involve your kids when planning the schedule
I like to involve my kids when I am planning our schedule and/or making some decisions.
While I have the final say, it’s still very helpful to get some feedback from the kids and to know their preferences.
This way I can accommodate specific needs and everyone feels valued. And, you avoid some unnecessary battles if you ask for their input upfront.
5. Break out of school mode
Remember when you decided to homeschool your kids you told them it’d be fun? But, instead of making it fun, you tried to recreate school at home and that took the fun out of it.
If you have been trying to recreate school at home, you may want to rethink that.
When I first started homeschooling my kids, I thought I had to act like a classroom teacher. I forgot that my son wasn’t used to seeing me as his teacher (he did 1st and part of second grade before we started homeschooling).
Naturally, I got some push back from him so I had to adjust my attitude and became a bit more relaxed.
If you’re new to homeschooling and your kids have attended public or private schools, one of the first things you should do is deschool them.
Deschooling just means giving your kids some time to adjust to the new way of learning and to get comfortable with the change.
If you’re struggling with homeschooling, or if things have become a little bit stale, it may be time to break out of the school mode and become a bit more relaxed. Like not insisting that lessons are done while sitting on a table or desk or in any particular order.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a schedule or create routines. It just means you have to be more flexible in your approach.
So when you feel the urge to go into drill sergeant mode, remember your reasons for homeschooling, and that homeschooling would be much easier if you don’t recreate school at home.
2. HOW TO HOMESCHOOL AND HAVE FUN
Now that we’ve looked at some ways to make homeschooling easier, let’s look at some things you can do make your homeschool fun.
1. Reduce the time you spend homeschooling
For one reason or the other, lots of moms choose to follow their school district’s calendar but you don’t have to.
If homeschooling has become monotonous and boring, you may want to consider homeschooling four days a week instead of five.
Many families find taking that extra day off is very helpful to maintaining balance and peace in their homes.
Or if you homeschool year round like we do, you may want to change things up and follow your school’s calendar or any other calendar you prefer.
2. Include non-academic activities
Do you find yourself wanting to turn every activity or experience into a “Teaching moment?”
Please stop. Every activity shouldn’t be about learning one thing or the other. It’s okay to do somethings just for fun. If your kids learn something from it cool. If not, that’s okay.
Kids are very smart and they know when you’re trying to get them to learn something. You know like those “fun” math games and what not.
There are lots of non-academic activities and games you can include in your homeschool to make things more fun, so find a few and make learning more fun for your family.
3. Add some spontaneity to your homeschool
Does everyday feel the same to you? Do you go through the same routine every single day?
You know: wake up, do chores, eat breakfast, do lessons, lunch, finish up lessons etc?
That can get boring fast!
Don’t get me wrong. I love routines and schedules as much as the next person, but I also know they can get dull and that’s why I try to change things up every now and again.
Kids like surprises (at least mine do), so surprise them with something different once in a while. For example, you can give them a day off, decide to spend the day outdoors, do only a couple of lessons and let them be. The idea is to just be spontaneous.
I assure you this can keep things exciting and more enjoyable for everyone.
4.Don’t overschedule your family
When I overschedule my kids or myself, everyone becomes frazzled and irritable.
Homeschooling isn’t fun when everyone is overwhelmed. I can’t say that I have it right all the time but I have found a nice balance for us.
How many extra-curricular activities does each child need? How many activities have you signed up for?
This is a great time to look at your calendar and see how much time you’re spending on other activities.
If you’re involved in lots of activities, it’s time to scale back. Kids don’t need to do everything at once. This also includes online activities.
Some homeschool moms feel pressured to socialize their kids so they end up signing them up for too many activities.
If you feel overwhelmed with homeschooling, then it may be time to get rid of some activities.
5. Don’t forget the creative stuff
Unfortunately when we get busy or overwhelmed, the fun and creative stuff are usually the first things to go. While I understand this, it isn’t really a good idea.
The creative and fun stuff (like composer and picture study) are just as important to your homeschool as the other academic stuff. So find ways to incorporate them into your homeschool.
Find games, puzzles, lots of arts and crafts stuff you can enjoy with the kids.
When you do this you will enrich your homeschool and your souls too.
6. Create fun learning centers in your home
I don’t mean you should go out and invest in lots of furniture, toys, bins and other supplies. What I mean is you should be a bit more intentional in facilitating learning in your home in a fun and creative way.
An easy way to create a learning center is to leave some art or picture books laying on the coffee table. Kids are naturally curious and at some point or the other, they’d want to check out the books.
I did this with Material World to help the kids learn about different people and cultures.
You can also have a couple of bins or baskets around your home for craft and handiwork supplies.
Don’t forget to arrange your books in such a way as to make it inviting and accessible for your children.
Not every lesson has to be a formal lesson. Sometimes all that’s required is to create a fun display of whatever you’d want the kids to learn.
Now it’s time to look at some some fun activities you can do.
3. FUN HOMESCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS
Here are some fun activities you can do to make things more interesting:
- Get more physical and active. You can use kid-friendly physical education videos like this or find some free ones on Youtube. Find ways to stay active especially during the winter when spending time outdoors is a bit more challenging.
- When the weather permits, spend lots of time outdoors. Go on nature walks with your children and learn about the things around you.
- Play music whenever you can. We like our hymns and folksongs so we always have something playing in the background.
- Create homeschool theme days with other families or do some kind of group activity with other families.
- Have days out/go on field trips. Go to the museum, art gallery, zoo, movies, etc.
- Give your kids a variety of age-appropriate handicrafts to encourage their creativity. They can learn how to cook, bake, sew etc. These are life skills that will come in handy in the future. My 10-year-old is currently learning how to sew and knit while my teenager is interested in robotics.
- Watch fun educational videos together.
- Play dress up. Make history fun for the kids. Let them dress up as a historical character from one of their history books.
- Use a fun homeschool curriculum. Some curriculum are just boring and dry. Try researching other curriculum if you think this is an issue. We use the Ambleside Online Curriculum and we love it.
- Replace some textbooks and worksheets with “living” books. My son learned about George Washington in first grade from a couple of sheets. All he got were some dry facts. When we started homeschooling, he read d’Aulaire’s book on George Washington and enjoyed it a lot more.
- Use your library more. Most libraries have one activity or the other going on. Use them to add more fun to your homeschool.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO HOMESCHOOL AND HAVE FUN
There’s no shortage of things to do while homeschooling. You’re only limited by your imagination.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be a struggle if you don’t want it to be. All you need is to change things up a little bit.
The more you work on making homeschooling fun, the easier it becomes.
Don’t forget to model a positive attitude for your kids. As a mom, you set the tone for your home.
Let your kids see that you’re having fun teaching and learning with them. Cultivate a positive and upbeat attitude. When you show enthusiasm and a love for homeschooling, your kids will follow your lead.
Are you stuck in a rut in your homeschool? What can yo do to make homeschooling fun again?