how to incorporate play into the homeschool slump month

The homeschool slump month demands a shift in routine.

You’re not the only one feeling the slump, your kids are too.

Incorporate play into your day.


slump month

It’s the end of February and routine is getting a little too…well, routine.

Since this is about halfway into the season of candy, from Halloween to Easter, why don’t we put what’s left to good use?

You might think that because I don’t have to report to anyone about my children’s education, that I don’t have an expectation to submit regular reports, that I don’t have to grade my children’s written work or formally test their math levels, I would always find a way to make everything fun, because I could

Nope. I have often included readings and lectures and workbooks (of course, these actually are fun for the first few weeks, isn’t all new curriculum?) Yet, it’s taken me years to learn how to have fun.

This might have been my biggest learning curve about homeschool: learning to make stuff fun. 

I’ve been motivated to make stuff fun for these reasons:

  • The kids get bored.
  • I get bored.
  • All those fun Pinterest board activities are lonely.
  • Oh, and because I’ve discovered that changing up the routine actually increases the kids’ interest, comprehension, and retention.

I’ve even learned to make fun a part of our weekly routine.

Candy, used in irregular spaces, can motivate and reenergize any game.

(But unless your dental plan has sweeping coverage, I don’t recommend using candy on a daily basis.)

How to use candy-inspired games:

  • Your kiddo doesn’t care for mental math games? They’ll like candy mental math games.
  • Have you tried Smarties word mapping? “Place a red Smarties on each verb in the paragraph. Green for nouns. Yellow for articles. Purple for prepositions.” Motivation for grammar study abounds!
  • Have you tried making marshmallow constellations? Or grape skewered geometric shapes? Marshmallow and Twizzler DNA strands can be the beginning conversations about amino acids and memorizing whether guanine binds with thymine or adenosine binds with the other one.

Sugar isn’t the only way to make stuff fun. you can also use non-candy inspired fun and games:

  • The weather channel drive. In the last city we lived in had a weather channel in French and English, only accessible in the car. So we’d hop in the minivan, strap in the little ones, and take a drive around the neighbourhood listening to the weather. I’d brief the kids on a few French words they might hear, like zero…curiously similar to English zero, but with pizazz. We would routinely hear the days of the week, numbers and chaud and froid (hot and cold).
  • Try to keep the kids’ attention while working through a read-aloud. I think every homeschool parent is quickly aware that kids need to keep their fingers busy while listening to a story: painting or drawing or cross-stitching, finger knitting, fashioning play dough or building Lego. Invite the whole teddy bear family to join…
Teddy Bears birthdays
  • And hey, don’t forget to celebrate the teddy’s birthdays in your homeschool days too…
  • Play real life math games. Give the kids a recent receipt for a restaurant meal, then get the kids to guess how much it might cost to make that meal at home. See who guesses the closest. How much does it cost to plan your next vacation? Budgeting for their sibling’s birthday gifts? Give them empty income tax forms to learn how to do their own taxes.
  • Play board and dice games. There are loads of dice and card games that can reinforce basic math functions and fractions too. Anyone want to play Yahtzee? A game of Chess or Stratego for logic development? Do you want to reinforce spelling concepts or vocabulary development? Try Scrabble or Bananagrams.
Bananagrams
  • Netflix documentaries. There are a ton of possibilities here. And even a Facebook page for Homeschooling with Netflix. Try Knowledge Network or Curiosity Stream too. Educational screen time needs to be included as sparsely as candy. Kids get bored quickly and irritable with one another when there’s too much screen time.
  • Make an afternoon of Pinschooling. There are loads of “learn to read” videos to reinforce phonics. There are beginner French videos, science experiments demonstrations, and art projects for adults and kids.

See the education in your play!

So try to stump the slump month.

“Play gives children a way to practice what they’re learning.” 

Mr. Rogers

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