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. Add a Nature Study to Your Curriculum
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.
Choose a park, trail, or even check out the Zoo to spend time observing nature in. Allow your kids to follow their natural curiosity and let them guide their nature study.
If you get really adventurous plan ahead and grab some books from your 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!
2. Plan A School Day Outing
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. Have you put off exploring a local historic landmark? Why not pack lunches and spend time investigating history by visiting the place it happened.
If your child is interested in learning how something is made, most factories will offer tours of their facilities. Do you have a kid that loves firemen? Reach out to your local fire department and have them give you a tour of the firehouse. 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.
This is a great time to explore local farms, pick berries, or learn about gardening! These are just a few ways to avoid everyone feeling burnt out these last few months of the year. Getting out of the house is a simple way to infuse new passion into your homeschool.
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
It takes a village to raise these kids well! This is especially true when homeschooling. 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? Friends make everything more fun!
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. Make the end of your year memorable by learning something new with people that you love.
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 you're 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
Grab a picnic blanket, some fancy cups, juice, and a treat, and head to the backyard for a midday tea time! This is a wonderful chance to have some meaningful conversations about what you all have been studying, maybe this would be a chance to take some time to read aloud a book to your kids, or just a fun way to take a learning break outside.
The sunshine brightens everyone's spirit and can help motivate everyone as you work to wrap up those last lessons for the school year.
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6. Plan a Family 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 may help motivate you all to get that schoolwork done a little early so you can be in the clear before you head out or may offer you a great break when everyone is feeling antsy.
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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 kid's imaginations run wild as they take the lead and get to “be the teacher” for a day!
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8. Grow a Garden Together
Seeing a seed sprout into a full-grown plant is truly amazing. All it takes is a little dirt, water, sun, and those seeds for life to spring forward. Teach your kids about plants through gardening. Let them help you plan what to plant, explore what is required for different things to grow, and enlist their help in tending your garden.
It is so fun to check on those plant babies each day and if you grow some vegetables, your kids may be more eager to try them out once those veggies are big enough to make it to their plates.
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 kid's 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!
10. Plan a Friends and Family Field Day
Remember the much anticipated Field Day that came at the end of the school year? All the classic games had to be included such as relay races, three-legged races, tug-of-war, and more! Gather together your close friends and have your own backyard field day.
Your kids will love racing around, getting wet, and engaging in some friendly competition. These are the days that they will never forget when they look back on their time at home learning.
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11. Pajama and Board Game Day for that End-of-Year Review
So much of the end-of-year work is just review! A fun way to mix all those endless math facts, or history statements is by playing a game to review. 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 stash of board games and tweak the rules so that in order to advance you have to answer those review questions. Your kids will be so thankful that they do not have to endure another worksheet.
One of the best parts of being a homeschooler is the ability to be as creative as you’d like. Homeschooling is such a gift because there are no hard and fast rules! You can take that curriculum and use it however best fits the needs of your family. When you all start hitting that end-of-year wall, take a moment to get creative with your days. Just the smallest change to the routine can infuse so much joy into those last school days. 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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