Day 27: Easy Ways to Break Out of a Homeschool Rut.
Day 28: Over Scheduling, Over Planning, Over Load!
When learning about the Oregon Trail a few years back, we looked at pictures of wagon wheel ruts stretching across two thousand miles of untamed wilderness. Ruts served as a guide to pave the way to the West. No doubt, hundreds of pioneers took comfort as they reached their destinations.
Ruts certainly paved the road for adventuresome pioneers and it is similar with our homeschool journey. Homeschoolers that have gone before you have plowed ruts and left visible markers like free online curriculum and testimonies when their children graduated.
However, a rut can make each day uninteresting and lifeless. The longer you homeschool, the easier it is to become humdrum about it.
Tomorrow, I will go over some questions on how to tell when burnout looms, but today I am sharing more about how to spice up your day. You know, get those creative juices of yours to flow. However, these tips can help too when you are already burned out and the little yellow school bus back to public school is looking quite nice.
Before I share some tips to bring the spark back into your day, I want you to trust the method in how to get those ideas to spout because it is not easy at times to get creative juices flowing. Believe me when I say that my curriculum planner or unit studies today do not look anything like they did a few years ago. Refinement is a process in education too. I have to share this one thing that I learned when reading over the weekend about the brain and refinement of information. I know, crazy to read about that, but only educators read about those kinds of subjects. Anyway, it was so fascinating to read how synapses can become more like a super highway of information through constant use.
The more you create and build your ideas about teaching, the easier it is to take one idea, tweak it and make it into another. Information overflows and grows as these synapses working with dendrites bring information in. I stand in amazement that we are so FULL of the capability of bringing our homeschooling ideas from a sagging bridge to an indomitable interstate.
Look at these ideas that I hope gets your creative juices flowing:
1.) Instead of doing math worksheets for the day, take the day to read living math books. This instills in your children the fact that math is about using it for everyday living. Click on the picture above to see the different categories for books and read some next time your child chimes that math is boring.
2.) Read out loud together as a family. No, and I don’t just mean in elementary school. I read to my sons all the way through to high school. Their memories of sitting in my lap and now laying on the couch or sitting beside me as I read to them not only endears them to me but helps them to realize the beauty and value of reading. It’s not about them to learning to read, but it is about treasuring family relationships and restoring our spirit. It’s about the pleasure of reading without having to do an analysis of it.
3.) Take a family walk. Though my husband and I use to do this by ourselves, the kids have been joining us. They may ride their bikes while I exercise by walking, but the fact that we move for the day helps us to lift our heads out of the rut.
4.) Cut back some text books and add in a homemade lesson plan. I’ve said it before but anything homemade tastes better than box anytime. You really want to do this from the very beginning of starting homeschool so that you can become skilled at it as the years go by. For example, if your science lesson for the day said to read about the planets for the day, take time to act out the process. Your young kids will enjoy twirling around the room as they learn about terms like revolve and rotate. If you are doing some Shakespeare, then assign an older child to recite some of it. Most of us have that one kid that likes to dress up and make others laugh. He is also the same kid that will benefit from a skit like that because it is fun and brings laughter to learning.
5.) Instead of a co-op, meet with JUST 1 other family each week to do a project. I did this one year when I was planning too much and I felt like we needed a break. One week we met at my house as her kids looked forward to coming to my house. The next week we met at her house so that we could get out of our house. Both of us as moms were super busy so we kept it super easy when we met. However, just the fact that another educator was helping to plan gave us a huge impetus for our year. We cooked food from another country for one history assignment and made an ice cream Viking ship at another assignment.
6.) If your kids don’t like to write, have them start a private blog. I know a lot of homeschool kids that blog and they make it private. They may only share with grandma or a few other close homeschooling kids. Kids that may not like writing suddenly find a purpose for sharing their thoughts.
7.) Volunteer service. I know a lot of us homeschool because we are not only worried about the reading grade but want to instill Godly character. My sons have taken turns in the past reading the Bible to some elderly ones in a nursing home. The elderly love hearing the Word and especially when it comes from such a sweet face. Food banks and some wildlife preservation places clamor for teens to help out too. What satisfaction we get from our homeschool day when we focus on others.
8.) Take your work to the park. We have done this many times. Either it has been the first day of school or when we get up in the morning, I can see that this day calls for a change in the routine. Packing our lunch or better yet, according to the kids, driving thru and picking up a home made pizza, we head to the park.
Ewwwwwwwww, homeschooling on the wild side!! It feels goooood!
9.) Start off your day with a different subject than normal. Though it sounds like a little thing, the smallest change in your routine can ignite the passion for learning and take you out of the humdrum. For example, I start off reading aloud to everybody, then have everybody start their math or writing.
10.) Stop. If you are in a rut and you can feel burnout coming, just stop and rest. Relaxation and rejuvenation combat the homeschool ruts. There is no need to be a super mom. In the end the praise we want is from our God, our husbands and our children. Nobody else matters. So take your time and stop to rest and take care of yourself. You ARE worth it!
Take these ideas when the homeschool rut hits and TRUST that you can create some awesomeness in your day if you are willing to continue to work on your teacher skills.
Do you have any ideas that may be a trickle now?