Sometimes (ok, maybe a lot of the time) when you're in the homeschool trenches the last thing you are thinking is, "Gosh, are my kids having fun with their schoolwork today?"
I'm just being honest.
There were MANY a day when I just wanted to get through. We needed to do that math lesson, complete the history lesson, and check off the almighty boxes.
Who's with me?
Every now and then, however, I was reminded of this precious, important fact: homeschool is about the relationships. It is about wonder. It is about discovery. It is about FUN.
As I compiled this list I noticed each activity had something in common: none of them were part of a set "curriculum" we had been using. They were all interest led tangents (maybe related to something in our curriculum) where I simply followed my children's lead. If you give a child something to sink their teeth into I believe they will naturally want MORE.
It is in those moments that the real learning occurs, and in our homeschool it was where sweet memories were made.
As I asked my teens about this the other day, I asked them to tell me their FAVORITE things we'd done in our homeschool. Not only did this exercise do my heart good, but it motivated me to KEEP making those memories - and not to lose the wonder just because they are now teens.
I hope you can use a few of these in your own homeschool!
All of the Ed Emberley art books have been a hit in our homeschool.
For some reason, however, the thumbprint drawing book was the favorite. (My kids STILL get this one out to use!)
Maybe it was the HUGE stamp pad I let them get, or maybe it was the fact that I could just leave them alone for several HOURS and they were completely happy. Whatever the case, I recommend having this activity on hand for a rainy day or when your day is going south and you just want to SALVAGE what's left of it!
(I'm so glad I've blogged through most of our homeschool journey because I have tons of cute pictures like this one!)
This activity had A LOT of educational value, plus it was just super fun.
When were studying the Periodic Table this was one of those things that was sitting on my Pinterest board to try... I RARELY try things from Pinterest, but this time I wanted to be the FUN MOM.
(I also think the Periodic Table Tiles I purchased were a HUGE hit - which my oldest is even using in Chemistry right now - a great investment.)
What I love about this was that we learned all about the Periodic Table first, and then used this as our culmination activity.
(And then of course we went down the magnet rabbit trail, which led to another rabbit trail, etc..., etc... You get the point!)
Science seems to lend itself to so many hands on activities, doesn't it?
CANDY SHOP MATH
We literally opened a candy shop for one afternoon. I invited a few of our neighbor kids to come over after school and told them they didn't have to bring any money (we handed out play money at the door).
It was a fabulous exercise in customer service, counting money, making change, and so much more!
Use these simple candy money cards and have fun!
We followed up with some books about money and more activities making change, etc... There is so much you can do with a play cash register and play money!
THE STORY ABOUT PING
Every book we read with Five in a Row proved to be a treasured memory. One of the selections that most stuck out to my children was The Story About Ping.
Looking back, I think it was the special time we took to GET OUTSIDE and learn that stuck with my kids.
During one of our days rowing the book we went to a local lake and read The Story About Ping, along with some other books about ducks. We fed the ducks, watched them PREEN themselves (preen was one of the vocabulary words from that unit which my kids will never forget the meaning of!), and drew pictures of the ducks.
We had a picnic lunch, played on the playground by the lake and just enjoyed learning.
I just remember the sweetness that went along with this particular day - singing "5 Little Ducks" and all of the giggles. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Homeschool at its very finest, yes?
I consider it a huge success that a math activity made it into the top five of my children's homeschool memories!
God bless my sweet friend who dropped off a huge bag of Unifix Cubes she had picked up at a garage sale!
I began to research what we could do with these things (I had no idea at first) - and then I let my very creative third grader take it from there. Pretty soon she was teaching her 5 year old brother addition and subtraction. He was learning math facts and she was making her math facts more automatic by "quizzing" her little brother.
I cannot tell you how much we used those Unifix Cubes over the years - or how many hours my kids spent "playing math" with them and our various sets of flashcards.
Sometimes you just need to leave your children alone and they come up with the very best activities.
(Don't even get me going on the world of Unifix Cubes and activities - we could get lost in it for days!)