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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

5 Ways to Beat Homeschool Boredom

By Dolores Smyth

Whether you’re new to homeschooling or a seasoned pro, you’re likely excited by the chance homeschooling gives you to teach your kids one-on-one and tailor a curriculum to meet their individual learning needs. But as weeks turn into months, your homeschooling routine may have become, well, too routine. 

If you’ve noticed your kids getting glassy-eyed during homeschool, try these five ways to liven up your lessons.

1. Change the scenery. Sometimes all you need to breathe new life into an activity is a different setting. If possible, set up a table and chairs or lay down a blanket outdoors in a spot that’s conducive to teaching your day’s lesson. You can also explore teaching some of your lessons at a bookstore, a park, or a local library where patrons are allowed to sit and talk quietly.

Another way to switch up your homeschool setting is to redecorate. You can join your student in renovating your classroom or let your kid take the creative reigns. Encouraging your kids to make their desks their own can make learning from that space more enjoyable.

2. Get moving indoors or out. If your homeschoolers are increasingly misbehaving or unmotivated, try getting them moving to reinvigorate and refocus. Physical activity lifts the mood and allows both the student and the teacher to get back to work feeling refreshed.

For little learners, look for fun, clean YouTube videos that they can dance to. Jack Hartmann’s Kids Music Channel is a popular choice for educational music videos that get young kids dancing and singing along.

For older homeschoolers, a casual walk around the block may be all they need to get centered. If you’re up for a more spirited option, your older kid may get a kick out of challenging you to a karaoke-style sing-along from one of the many playlists available online.

3. Take a field trip! Think back to when you were a kid and looked forward to one of the most exciting school activities there was: a field trip. As a homeschooling parent, you now get the chance to combine fun and learning by planning a field trip that immerses your learner in a topic you’re teaching. For examples, a science chapter on animals calls for a trip to a farm; or a history lesson is brought to life with a visit to a historical site from the era you’re studying.

Broaden a lesson on world culture with a trip to a cultural festival or restaurant serving foreign cuisine. A lesson on world religions flourishes when you explore ways to respectfully visit a religious institution or a museum featuring religious art exhibits. And a day at the beach becomes an educational endeavor when you incorporate hands-on discussions on landforms, tides, and sea life.

4. Plan a family tree project. One lesson that your child will remember for a lifetime is a “my heritage” project. Here, help your learner jot down five questions about your family ancestry and create a family tree that stretches as far back as you know. Then visit or call relatives who can answer those questions and fill in any missing information from your family tree.

This project is about more than just names and dates. It promotes bonding with relatives, new and especially old. It also fosters an appreciation for one’s roots and the struggles that older relatives may have overcome to give your family a brighter future. 

5. Make it a life skills day. If taking a break from homeschooling for the day is in order, consider spending the school day teaching your kid invaluable life skills. After all, your kid may be more eager to learn how to prepare a basic meal or sew a button than to dive into math. 

Easy life skills include how to repot a plant, draft an email, or pay a bill online. You can take your kid on a trip to the not-so-distant past by having her or him watch you write a check, affix a stamp, and stick it in the mailbox for snail mail delivery. 

More advanced skills include showing your kid how to operate a washing machine and dryer, and how to change a car’s oil or fill up a tire. (Be sure to explain why both tasks are important.) Also, a trip to the grocery store with a shopping list, a budget, and coupons can be a great lesson in financial literacy.

No matter the homeschooling stage you’re in when you (inevitably) hit a rut, you have the flexibility to change things up. Happy homeschooling!  

Dolores Smyth is a homeschooling mom and parenting writer.