Over our family’s fourteen years of homeschooling, we were, at times, sorely in need of some fun in our routine. At first I resisted having fun. Seriously. I believed that having too much fun got in the way of real learning. Wow! I can’t believe that I really held onto that opinion. The good news for my kids is that I finally ditched that thought and we began to have some fun!
Here are three of our favorite fun learning activities:
1) Silly Story Starters
Story starter cards and games are for sale in teaching supply stores almost everywhere. However, if you don’t want to spend extra money, just open your favorite book (the Bible even works well!) and put your finger down in the middle of the page. Read the first word, phrase or sentence your finger touches. Your students need to take the word, phrase or sentence and turn it into a sentence, a paragraph or a story. The length of the response is determined by the ability of the child. The response can be verbal or written.
We usually had each child take a turn making a funny sentence or story without writing anything down. It made them more likely to participate, and to think creatively. Don’t require too much in the way of seriousness, though. The funnier the story, the better for all involved! Eventually, we worked up to writing these silly stories down, but right at first it’s important just to get them thinking quickly and coming up with new vocabulary.
2) Spell It Out Loud
We had two struggling spellers in our homeschool. We tried it all, but nothing worked until we found Institute For Excellence in Writing’s spelling program. The student listens to the daily lesson on CD, then verbally repeats the word and the spelling. Then the child takes a spelling test. If he/she misses even one, the lesson is repeated the next day until he/she passes the quiz with 100% mastery. There are no workbooks involved; there are just the CD’s, your child and a daily oral review and written quiz. This method works because it is oral, and not workbook driven. Workbooks don’t work for many kids. Verbal spelling forces the brain to pattern the words and store them. It is a highly effective method, and my kids’ spelling improved almost immediately. For extra practice, make them spell everything they ask you for. Make them spell for their supper!
3) Many Mighty Manipulatives
My children LOVED to play with blocks, pattern tiles, LEGOs, DIME blocks, unifix cubes, etc. They love anything that they could touch and arrange. My oldest son is still a Lego freak at age 23. He credits his advanced ability to do math and think abstractly to the many, many hours he has spent building LEGOs. My younger two children struggled to read early on, and are auditory learners, so it worked beautifully for them to sit and play with manipulatives or draw and color while I read story books or schoolbooks to them. They could always tell me details about what I was reading, so I know that their little brains were processing!
In addition to these tactics, the most important thing you can do to bring fun to the learning is to R-E-L-A-X. When we are uptight and fretting about them “getting behind”, or “not learning enough”, or not “keeping up with the public school” we start putting pressure on our kids. As soon as we put pressure onto them, learning is no longer fun. When it is no longer fun, they begin to balk at their work, which makes us even more stressed out and upset with them, which makes them less likely to do their work. Think about it. Could you learn under those circumstances? Neither can they.
So lighten up and get out a mini camcorder and record those silly stories! Your kids are growing up fast. Have fun with them while there is still time.
Lynn Schott invites you to register for amazing FREE mini-lessons that reveal homeschool curriculum online that will help your student complete U.S. Government and Economics in Half the Time, and Without the Tears when homeschooling for high school students
Is this pattern easy to sew?
Is the Simplicity 4092 Misses Victorian Costume pattern easy to sew? A friend and I each need a costume for the 1830’s-ish. We can’t spend that much money on fabric. We know someone who could make it, but we need the dresses soon. If it is to hard to sew, please suggest another pattern or costume. Thanks.
By the way, we are acting out Emily and Charlotte Bronte.
Thanks. I wasn’t sure about the date. But if you could help me find a dress that I can buy or a pattern.
Wrong silhouette for 1830 — sleeve especially. See: http://www.vintagevictorian.com/Dress_1830.html
Force of the Dragon 715k 99% 2326 Note Streak! (2 Misses)
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