Sooner or later, whether it’s early in the year or later on, you will fall into a homeschooling rut. There will be days when you just don’t have the energy to make it fun and interesting anymore, and as hard as you try, you will find yourself dragging through your lessons; teaching your children in the same way, at the same times, by a strict routine; and arguing with them regularly over whether or not you’re going to continue the lesson on any given day. They’re tired of it; you’re tired of it; and the worst part is, no one is learning anymore.
That means that it’s time to mix it up. Do something different. Shake things up a little, and see where it gets you. Sometimes, even little changes can make a big difference in attitude—and therefore in performance. For example….
Drag out the art supplies.
Let your children write with crayons, illustrate even simple assignments (what illustrations would they come up with for math class?), or complete artwork instead of another boring essay (that you don’t really want to read anyway). Encourage doodling, especially if they can give their doodles a point or make it relate to what they’re supposed to be learning. Stretch their creativity. Think outside the box, if you are able—drag out cardboard box canvases or other creative uses of your materials.
Teach them to expect little surprises.
This is particularly easy around the holidays, when the internet is filled with interesting ideas, but it can be done at any time. Is your daughter going through a vampire phase? Tuck fangs into her breakfast doughnut or bagel. Freeze something interesting into your ice cubes—perhaps toy bugs for your son, or pretty rings for a princess girl. Scatter a trail of erasers leading to a surprise “outside” day. Even fun printouts tucked in unexpected places can make a big difference. Big surprises should, as a matter of necessity, be few and far between; but little ones can fill your days and make them magical.
Change up your literature lessons.
Study a book completely outside your normal curriculum—maybe even one that your children will really, really enjoy. Consider using one that they have already read to discuss new concepts. Make an event of it, and let your child really talk to you about their book—they’ll probably enjoy it.
Do something unexpected.
Wake your kids up to music and have a dance party. Fix something strange for breakfast—maybe even dessert! Hide a picture or toy somewhere your children will least expect it. Do this regularly, so that they are constantly on the lookout for small surprises. It can make all the difference in homeschooling attitude.
Work on a big project.
Choose something that the entire family will enjoy. Plan towards a party, or a banquet, or a game day. Sure, that may be a day when not much learning takes place, but it will almost certainly be a day when all of you have a wonderful time, enjoy each other’s company, and spend a lot of time laughing!