Are you feeling increasingly trapped by the mundane sameness of homeschooling this year? Is it more and more burdensome to pull those books off the shelf for class? Are you looking longingly at that yellow school bus?
If so, here are 4 simple recommendations (that may change your life!):
Laugh more every day.
Laughing every day will make your homeschool healthier than any other single thing you can do! For this to work, though, you have to have a plan. Laughter can generate spontaneously, but when you're in the throes of tension about subtraction or chores or reading assignments, laughter becomes as rare as hen's teeth.That's why you need a plan.
Every family's funny bone is different, but from experience, I know that having a funny book to read out loud is a sure-fire way to tickle your kids. The Hank the Cowdog series is a great place to start. Also, look online for church bulletin bloopers to find some really funny puns. Or plan a game time with something that makes you laugh, like Twister. Anything that causes hilarity for your family is fair game. Or, if you can, get a kitten or puppy. They are guaranteed to make you and your kids laugh more.
Action Step: Take time to write out your laughter-making-ideas in a planner or journal. Then SCHEDULE one per day.
Free time every week.
This isn't easy, is it? You don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done, and now you're supposed to make room for FREE TIME??? But, the reality is that you are not a robot and neither are your kids. Each of us, whether adult or child, needs space in our lives to be creative, do a fun thing, take a nap. . .whatever it is that free time means to you. (BTW, free time is NOT for cleaning the toilet!)
Just stop for a moment and imagine: what would you do if you had a free afternoon every week? What would your kids do? Doing less work in order to have more freedom actually makes us more productive—and brings more zest to life!
Action Step: Look at your to-do list, planner, journal, or wherever you keep your weekly schedule. Do you have an open block of 2-3 hours for free time? If not, what can you cancel or reschedule to open up space for both you AND your kids to have absolutely FREE TIME? Finally, schedule it!
For YOU: Try something new every month.
It may be a new recipe, a new vegetable or fruit, a new activity (like watercolor), a new author, a new park, a new group—whatever is new for you. There is something powerful about breaking out of the same old/same old and doing something you've never done before, particularly if it is something you've secretly wanted (but never had the courage) to do before!
It can be small, it can be big, but it needs to be something new EVERY MONTH.
Action Step: Take some quiet moments by yourself to brainstorm a list of things you would really enjoy doing, things you've never done before (or haven't done for a long time). Sort them into "free," "inexpensive," "needs budgeting to happen." You might want to further subdivide these three lists into categories like "food," "places," "people," "activities," "hobbies." Finally, schedule at least ONE per month.
For YOUR KIDS: Visit something wonderful once every season.
Whether it's across town, across the country, or across the globe, there are wonderful educational events and places to explore with your kids! It might be a living history museum, a beach, an art gallery, a waterfall, an architectural wonder, a forest, a battlefield, a mountain, a concert, a children's theater performance. . .It may take a little planning or a lot of planning. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or a quick field trip. But getting out and seeing something wonderful is what keeps us alive to the wonder of learning!
Action Step: Do an Internet search for things your kids might really enjoy, like local art galleries, historic museums, architectural sites, battlefields, appropriate concerts, children's theater performances, and other educational opportunities in your region. Then, schedule at least one per season (fall, winter, spring, summer).
These are 4 simple steps to a hugely refreshed homeschool.
Remember, stay relational.