By Amanda Idleman, Crosswalk.com
As soon as the birds start chirping and the flowers bloom, spring fever sets in for teachers and students! It becomes so hard to stick with the daily routine seat work. Why not embrace the carefree nature of Spring and mix things up in your homeschool routine in order to keep everyone engaged and learning up to the end of your homeschool year?
Here are a few fun ideas on how to end your homeschool year joyfully as a family.
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1. Do a Nature Study
Have you wished all year you spent more time outside but the prospect of carrying your kids plus piles of coats and gear keep you from actually doing it? Thankfully, the coats can finally be packed away and getting outside is just so much easier. Grab your kids some sketch pads, pick a park with some trails to walk on and pack a picnic lunch! You all will love spending the day observing and learning outside together.
If you get really adventurous plan ahead and grab some books from you local library to read about spring, life cycles, birds, plants, squirrels, or whatever topic that sparks curiosity for your outdoor adventures. While out on your nature adventure have the kids sketch and write about their observations. One afternoon walk can cover writing, science, art, and it gets everyone moving around!
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2. Plan a Field Trip
Why not ditch the book lesson altogether for a day? Get out of the house and let the world be your classroom. Do you have a museum in your area you all have never explored? Call and see if they will let you come do a tour and maybe even give you a homeschool discount.
If your child is interested in learning how something is made, most factories will offer tours of their facilities. If you have a local TV station, most will offer amazing backstage experiences for kids. Do you have any interesting landforms in your area that you could study and tour? No better way to learn about earth science than going out and seeing Creation for yourself. Are there farms in your area? Call to ask if the owner would facilitate a trip for your family or homeschool group.
Take time out of the routine to see some of the amazing places around you!
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3. Join up to Teach with Friends
You may just be feeling done with the year and hitting your wall. Chances are your closest homeschooling friends are feeling the same lull in their days. Why not pick a day of the week to get your families together for the day’s lesson and rotate having one Mom take the lead in teaching for the day?
Pick something fresh to study as a group, so all levels and ages can participate. You could have a science day and let the kids complete a science experiment/lesson together, incorporate a group art project fun for all ages, learn a foreign language with friends, or maybe study another country/culture as a group to spice things up. Everything's better when done with friends.
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4. Plan a Spring Camping Trip
State parks offer amazing affordable access to the outdoors. If you are up for a little bit of roughing it, Spring is one of the best times of the year to get some camping in. It’s also before schools are out so your likely to have more access to great places! Many parks offer classes or programs throughout the month, giving you even more ways to learn as a family while you enjoy the outdoors.
5. Add a Picnic Tea Story Time to Your School Day
Maybe leaving the house is too much but you still want to find a way to keep learning fun through the end of the year. One idea is to just spend part of your school day outside. Pull out a blanket, make some tea, and maybe bake a treat. Have everyone sprawl out in the backyard and enjoy a good book together. There is nothing more lovely than a good book and sunshine.
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6. Go on Vacation
All the co-ops are ending, the weather is great and school is still in session. If your family has the budget why not explore a new destination as a family while rates are more affordable and locations are less crowded? Plan ahead and choose a destination you can work into your curriculum.
Let your kids join in the process and have them research and propose destinations they would like to explore before the school year ends. (If they are old enough, in your opinion, it is also a good opportunity to teach them how to use the internet). This could be a great way to get the kids excited about a unit study to end the year!
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7. Let your kids be “Teacher for the Day"
Do you have one kid that's way into Legos? A budding baker? Or an artist in the making? How about giving each kid one day before the end of the year where they get the choose what/how you all learn for the day. Everyone in the family could learn about that child's hobby.
One option is having all the lessons taught from the perspective of a chef or through the medium of art. If your student is interested in learning something new, all of you could try taking a class together that’s offered in your community. Let your kids imaginations run wild as they take the lead and get to “be the teacher” for a day!
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8. Plant a Garden
There is something so engaging about watching things grow! The elements are simple: dirt, water, sun, and seeds; nonetheless, the results are amazing. Seeing how a seed grows into something edible and tending to the needs of a living thing helps instill a better understanding of the amazing complexity of nature. A bonus to seeing if you have a green thumb is that kids are way more likely to eat their veggies if they have had a hand in growing them!
9. Plan a Community Service Day
Compassion is caught more than taught. Modeling care for those who have need is a big part of what it is to be a person of faith and is hugely rewarding! Why not skip the lessons for a day and teach your kids what it is to serve your community?
You could even integrate your lesson with your service and have your students create something to bring and give to those you aim to serve. If you are visiting a nursing home, bring handmade cards for the residents. You could bake cookies for your local fire department and then take some extra time to interview the firefighters about the job they do. If you are volunteering at a local food pantry, have the kids budget and shop ahead of time for grocery items you can bring to donate when you serve. The joy you all will gain from giving as a family will make deviating from the lesson plans, well worth it!
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10. Plan a Friends and Family Field Day
Who remembers the joy of field day? Relay races, sack races, and tug of war...one of the best days of the year. Just because your homeschooling, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the field day fun. Invite some other homeschool families over to join or just have a family only field day to end your school year with a splash. Get as creative as you want! Water balloon fights, slip and slides, family races or bob-for-apples; whatever equals fun and games for your crew!
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11. Pajama and Board Game Day
Take advantage of the fact that you never actually have to get out of your pajamas as homeschoolers! Keep the on jammies and pull out your board game collection. If you want to sneak extra subject review into the day, change the rules of the game so the kids have to answer your questions to advance in the game. The kids will enjoy the extra review so much more just because you broke up your normal routine.
One of the best parts of being a homeschooler is the ability to be as creative as you’d like. Remember a huge part of this journey is the joy of learning and making memories together. Don’t forget that variety is the spice of life, so pick a day and an idea and get outside your comfort zone. Hopefully, your reward will be smiles and renewed enthusiasm for the last weeks of the school year!
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