Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Ways to Beat the Spring Slump

I confess. This is the time of year when I both want to throw in the towel and get going. I'm ready to move on from this year and look to the next. I want to start buying and planning for the upcoming school year. I want to feel that excitement and "newness" another year brings and leave behind the monotony of trudging through already set lessons plans with kids who are just as tired and looking for change as I.

So, what's a homeschool mom to do?

1. Throw out the curriculum. Seriously, just put it on the shelf and change things up. By this point you should know the topics that are coming up. You can stick to those, but do something different with it. If you've been hitting the books hard, watch a Netflix documentary on the subject. Not a big TV person, read the books to your kids if they are already independent readers.

2. Incorporate board games. Monopoly is one of our family favorites for the two Big Kids. It teaches so much in a short time - history, geography, math, economics, and well, since I'm being honest here, character. The math and the economics aspects are right there in plain view, but did you know that every single property is based on a real place? Have the kids look it up! Urban legends and historical facts about the game's development and use? Go for it! Your kids are still learning even if it doesn't look like your normal school day.

3. Get outside! This is so important not only for our physical well-beings but also our mental. We experience temperature extremes ranging from below zero in the winter to flooding in the spring to triple digits in the summer, so most outside time is really limited to fall. I'm not talking nature walks, which are awesome and a regular part of our science class. Grab the sidewalk chalk and do a spelling test on the driveway or front walk. Need a record of it? Snap a pic! We live near railroad tracks, so we often walk the quarter mile or so to them talking about a trip we might take or where they could lead. When we arrived, we can look at the construction of the tracks and discuss the materials used and transported by them. Then there is always the sitting on the porch and watching the trains pass by while the little ones watch with big eyes!

4. Dance Party! One of my dear friends is a public school elementary teacher. One of her favorite tactics for perking up students at the end of the year is to once a week, call out "dance party"! The kids no to jump up and boogie to the radio for a good 5-10 minutes. It gets the whole room laughing and giggling and serves as a wake up for the brain. She says after that, she always gets alert and eager to learn students for the rest of the day. To keep them on their toes, do this one at random. No scheduling, or it loses it's effectiveness!

5. Take a field trip. I've tried scheduling field trips year round, and for our family, they seem to interrupt the nice flow we have going. Now I save up a bulk of our field trips for spring. I find that when we can't get ourselves focused for a solid day of work, a field trip provides the learning we need without feeling like we are doing school.

So there you have it - 5 Ways to Beat the Spring Slump! Do you have any to add to this list?