Welcome back as we continue our 10 Days of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Homeschooling!
We’re doing something different today! Dana from Roscommon Acres and I have this same problem in common — we both tend to cut out all the fun stuff too easily!! And we want learning to be fun. Because, it SHOULD be, right?
Cutting Out The Extras
I think I once pictured our homeschool days full of paint and glue and magnifying glasses and activity and mess. I saw art not so much as a subject, but as a way for my children to express what they know about the world. I saw science as a set of tools they could use to unlock their own curiosity about the world. I saw history as a Great Story that connects to our own if you only dig deep enough.
But now, I struggle to get through the day. I find myself behind . . . again. I find myself distracted . . . again. And as I look over the plans for the day, I start to trim out the extras.
Skipping the game during math will save fifteen minutes. Maybe more since it isn’t likely anyone will be able to find the cards, anyway. Art can wait for another day that isn’t so windy so the paint can just stay outside. And the kids know the planets so we can just skip modeling the solar system with balloons hung across the front room.
And without realizing what I’ve done, I strip everything about school my children like and leave only what I think they need to know at the end of the day. And our homeschool days are left dry and uninspiring.
We get through it quickly, but at what cost?
So we’re going to try something new. We’re going to try to introduce some balance by cutting lessons more evenly. If I take out a game, they get to take out a lesson. If we’re not going to do the science experiment, we’ll save science for tomorrow, maybe swap it out with the science of nature and dirt and leaves and farm life. No more cutting out all the fun stuff and killing the joy of learning. And maybe, if we keep skipping something too often, it’ll keep me accountable to get a little more organized so we don’t keep getting into that situation.
Hopefully, we can breathe a little life back into our homeschool days and hopefully I can show them a little of that love of learning that had me excited about homeschooling to begin with.
Dana Hanley homeschools her children on a small hobby farm in rural Nebraska. She writes at Roscommon Acres about life more abundantly, from the joy of a baby’s smile to the almost unbearable grief of losing a son while seeking beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3).
Kids Just Wanna Have F-U-N.
If you asked my children what they would most like me to improve or change about the way we do school, they will all tell you the same thing. “Make it more fun.” I know this, because I have asked them, and they didn’t even take a second to give their answer.
Just make it more fun.
I don’t blame them! Because I want school to be enjoyable and fun, too. (How much can you possibly learn and retain if you’re miserable anyway?) It should be taken seriously but you can have great fun while learning if you put a little bit of effort into and go into with the right attitude! Think “Mary Poppins: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!”
Yet, I am guilty. I am guilty of cutting fun stuff OUT.
And I’ve nailed down several reason WHY and I’m working on solutions for each of them:
- We’re running behind/don’t have time. (Either in the lesson plans OR in the day.)
- We have somewhere to go/be/do.
- Everybody is in a bad mood and I don’t feel like manhandling a project with bad attitudes.
- We aren’t prepared for said project.
- I feel like we have to do all the necessary work (math, language arts) FIRST and then fun stuff. Why? I don’t know. And then when “must do” stuff is over, it’s time for me to start supper.
- OR (and this one is extra sad) there’s no room, the table’s messy, we need to do housework instead.
I look at those and I don’t feel like the kind of homeschool mom I set out to be, you know? But there’s hope. There are some things I can do!
- Really this is all on me, I need to make sure we get up on time, to start school on time, and leave plenty of time for projects that need to be done, because projects are important, too.
- I *am* the teacher, we have a science project every other Thursday, I know this. I can make sure we don’t schedule things before certain times on certain days.
- I can’t control bad moods but I can influence them. AND.. sometimes a fun project is a needed break from the “must do” stuff and is a great mood improver in and of itself. Bad moods are bad excuses for skipping projects!
- Plan ahead! Prepare! (One way I did this was with this year’s experiment box.)
- I need to get over this one. Micro-managing is rarely ever a good thing anyway. One thing I’ve started doing is letting Princess lead the project if I can’t. This is good for HER and ME and her siblings!
- This is really not a reason but a flimsy excuse. So, lately, (as much as it drives me batty) I’ve adopted the policy of “push all the stuff out of the way and do it anyway.” Ideally the table wouldn’t be messy at all.. But life happens and often it will be. But that’s no reason to skip a fun project!
Last year we *may* have done 2-3 of our science projects in our science book. I never bought the lab kit because it was expensive and I never assembled it on my own like I said I was going to because I procrastinated. We rarely had the parts and the time and the whatever to do our projects.
This year I bought the partial lab kit with the hard to find items and before the school year began I bought the remaining household items myself and organized them into our experiment box. I can only think of one project we didn’t do this year. (YET.)
I still need to work on my other habits. I still need to make sure we get enough play time outside, enough sunshine and exercise, enough silliness and togetherness. I still need to fit in MUCH more time for MUCH more art and history projects but this is a BIG step in the right direction! Perhaps next year I should assemble some kind of art and history project box, too. ; )
What kinds of things do you do to make sure you don’t cut out all of the fun learning projects when there isn’t enough time, space, materials and motivation? How do you keep learning alive and fun in your house? Please share with us (you may have a few suggestions that we can use as well!)
Image Credit: Craft Supplies: Some rights reserved by Carissa GoodNCrazy
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Thanks for sharing, I was having one of these days today. It helps to know I’m not the only one.
Aww.. I hope your day is looking up. I’m glad I could make you feel better by sharing my faults. =)
Muahahah! I could have written those excuses myself! Oh how many times I’ve pulled them as reasons NOT to do something *fun*. As we finished our My Father’s World Kindergarten units, I can look back at our Unit Badge Caterpillar on the wall and can quickly remember which units were FUN and which were…not so much. Then I realized the fun ones involved science, art projects and games. Hmmm…coincidence? I think not! As I sort thru our completed folders with each unit inside, I am making notes on what I HAVE to do next time around when it will be… Read more »
Thank you so much for sharing!
I think I just need to LET GO a little, too. (Loosen up, free us up for more fun.)
I’m working on that. =)
Oh my goodness- guilty!! This is so me!! I do all of these things too and majorly needed this little kick in the bottom to remind me of the importance of not skipping the fun. Sadly, the fun parts of school around here have become the exception, not the rule. 🙁
We’re glad to be of service, friend. 😉
Truly – why do we do this? *shaking head*
[…] Dana from Roscommon Acres & Me! (A joint effort.) : Keeping the school day fun. (Not cutting out all the fun stuff.) […]
I needed to read this. I could have written those excuses myself also. The not being prepared is what hurts me the most, I think. I need to get more prepared. We don’t do half of the fun projects I have planned. Next year is going to be better.
[…] Or if you want you can go straight to the next post in this series. […]
It’s so easy to get caught up in what “has” to be done that it is easy to forget some of the reasons I decided to homeschool in the first place. All that lingering over interesting subjects and not pushing on to the next thing just because the plan said so?
Where did any of that go?!
WAY to easy to get caught up in the “have to’s”…. Ugh.
[…] for making school more fun. I’m not pointing any fingers, but if I were, there would be four more pointing right back at me! Too often I’m too busy trying to “get it done.” I have to remind myself to keep […]