Let’s face it, as a homeschooler, you’re likely to experience a point in time where your homeschooling routine becomes dry, lackluster, and maybe even dreaded. Homeschool burnout can happen for a variety of reasons, but it’s never a time to just throw in the towel and give up. Homeschool support groups are a great way to help with burnout, but the truth is, with just a little bit of reworking your schedule and priorities, you can make homeschooling FUN again.
As your children grow and grade levels change, so can your to-do list. Over time, you might also be inclined to take on more subjects, projects, extra activities, and things can quickly spin into something you never intended for it to be. If you find yourself in that position today, I say to you: just stop what you’re doing and find your “why” again. Homeschooling is something we are blessed to do, even though it can be stressful at times. So, let’s find out what we can do to turn things around for you, right here and now.
Homeschooling Fun for Kindergarten Age and Younger
This pre-k age group is meant for fun, and unless you had back-to-back toddlers (or twins, or triplets), you’re not likely to be burned out at this stage. However, tough days can happen, and I understand that. Just remember that this is a great time to take things at your own pace and play games, and not just board games, either. You can make up games and still teach the basic educational foundations onto which everything else can be stacked.
For instance, in public schools and private schools teachers play games with their students to enhance learning. Homeschooling families can do this too! Any game that incorporates counting is a great math lesson for example. Perhaps you could count how many gummies or animal crackers are in their snack pack. Or find out how many steps it takes to get from one place in your home to another. Create the same kinds of games with colors, cutting, fine motor skills, and scientific topics such as weather. Even reading skills can be taught at this age level if you know your child is ready for it. Pretty much anything you do at this age can be beneficial to your child's education. Taking a walk at the park and learning the names of animals or counting how many swings there are. There are so many field trips you can take with little ones in your own town!
This is also a great age for socialization! Enrollment into all sorts of homeschool co-op groups will be beneficial for your child. There, they can learn to socialize by spending time with other homeschooled children! They can learn all kinds of things playing with other children like sharing, waiting their turn, how to include others and so much more!
Homeschooling Fun for First, Second, and Third Grades
At this early elementary school age, children are naturally curious and still very excited about learning. Take basic skills that are normally taught during these grades and turn them into ideas you can really have fun with. For instance, you can easily incorporate math into any regular playtime, especially if they are playing with blocks, Legos, or Hot Wheels cars.
You can introduce things that aren't taught in traditional school, or cover more than one topic at the same time, you could utilize recipes, not only to teach your child how to put basic ingredients together for, say, a PB&J sandwich but also to work on putting things in order. This can also be done for laundry play or picking up toys so the vacuuming can be done. Even chores like these can be a lot of fun if you are as into it as you’d like your child to be. Don't be afraid of straying from the homeschool curriculum and add in things you personally want to teach your kid!
Homeschooling Fun for Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades
When your child reaches this early middle school level of learning, they already have a lot of foundational work behind them, but there are still far more things to learn, so it’s kind of an “in-between” time for them. It’s easy for them to become frustrated with math and grammar, so it’s up to us to create a kind of calm for them. Making learning fun during this time could really stick with them and add to their love of learning in general.
For math topics, you might include them while making a shopping list while also adhering to a budget. Add in a few coupons and let them find out if you’ll save enough to be able to afford another item or two. When that extra item is a treat for them, the mission becomes as exciting as it is fun. Moving on to Language arts, you might ask your child to create a family newspaper, complete with interviews, photos (that you print and allow them to paste into their publication), and pet news, if applicable. This can be a great project to do over the holidays and the results might even be something you want to send to more distant relatives along with a Christmas card or New Year’s correspondence.
Homeschooling Fun for Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Grades
For these late middle school grades, you can continue on with the news idea, but this time, allow them to pose as news anchors. Instead of doing a current family events news story, ask them to “report” on historic topics such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War, or an accurate representation of the original story of Thanksgiving. This could even be a new twist on the “narration” aspect of the Charlotte Mason Method.
A cultural family meal can center around the dish that is served but can also be a time that your child shares information about the area of the country where the dish originated. Prior to the actual meal, the recipe itself, which can be halved or doubled, serves as a great math lesson, and you don’t even have to tell them so. Pointing out that fact doesn’t add anything to the information they’ll learn through the hands-on application of which they’ll be a part.
Homeschooling Fun for Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Grades
By the time a child reaches high school, they’re often “doing their own thing”, especially with friends, jobs, or extra-curricular activities. However, there’s still plenty of time for fun at home with lessons. If you have multiple children, you might ask them to take a scene or two from a popular play they’re studying and put on a performance for the whole family. Let your older children produce and direct the piece.
Along the same lines, you could allow the older children to be the homeschool educator for the day, taking up the lesson planning, the actual teaching, and grading, meal-planning, and decision-making for an entire day. This gives them a great opportunity to learn how to plan, prioritize time, and they’ll get a good opportunity to feel out the homeschool teaching position for themselves.
These are just a few ideas for each grade level as you homeschool your child. Homeschooling is a very personal endeavor, and creating fun activities is easier when you tailor them to the passions and interests of your own children. Trying to force a specific activity just because I mentioned it here, or because you saw it on Pinterest or Instagram, won’t always work if your child is not interested.
Many times there are homeschool programs that will cater to your child's interests! Whether that is theatre, sports, science, math, or cooking, keep an eye out for programs with other homeschool families. That way your child can find others with the same interests and create long-lasting friendships!
If they like rocks, structure something around geology. If they like animals, plan on something based on their love of horses. Anything you can do to capture their heart and still be learning something is always a recipe for a fun homeschooling day. And who knows better than you what your children love? Don’t be afraid to go outside the box, especially if you are homeschooling children who are either special needs or gifted and talented. Home education is such a blessing to be able to have the freedom to expand learning through the school year and homeschooled kids are great fun to have around! There is fun to be had for all in this incredible life journey.