How To Have A Better Homeschool Week
I was going to call this post, “The Best Way To Make Your Homeschool Week Awesome!” but I am committed to being as honest as possible when I write. Let me just be clear, our homeschool week wasn’t awesome.
I am not even sure I would call it good.
But it didn’t suck.
This time of year tends to be very difficult for my youngest son. There is a seasonality to his illness that typically shows up right around mid-October, every year.
I have learned that as soon as he is even remotely physically and mentally able, the structure and predictability of our usual homeschool week actually helps him feel a bit better and more secure.
I have also learned that I need to dial our learning waaaaaaaaay back until he has completely stabilized.
The only way I know to make our homeschool week NOT suck, in difficult seasons like this, is to increase my focus on short but sweet hands-on learning activities. It gets him engaged, even if he is isn’t feeling well. He actually retains a bit of what we are learning. More importantly, it keeps us in the routine of a school day without putting too many demands on him.
This was our approach in this not awesome, but also not totally terrible, week.
With this in mind, I thought that instead of giving you one Friday Fun-Day Activity today, I would give you a glimpse into our entire week’s worth of hands-on learning.
The Best Way To Have A Better Homeschool Week
Last weekend I went through our homeschool cabinet/stash and took out everything I have that resembles hands-on learning. Then I went online for a few minutes and found a few more ideas for easy, yet effective activities.
After only about 20 minutes of planning and arranging all the things, here is what our week entailed –
52 Weeks Of Hands-On Learning (that’s easy on Mom too!)
Monday: Toobs and Map Work
Because we are learning about Ancient Civilizations this year, I decided to do a quick, one-off activity about the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. We basically took the Toobs representing the 7 Wonders and placed them on their various locations on the map. Boom. Done.
Tuesday: Fortnite Math
A few weeks ago, I realized that my son was showing some regression in being able to keep his math operations straight. “Do we add or multiply to find the answer to this word problem?” is no longer as easy for him as it has been in the past. I was super excited to find this fun, Fortnite Math Activity on Teachers Pay Teachers.
He drew each card and then placed a paper + or x next to it to determine how to solve the problem.
Wednesday: Sight Word Hide And Seek
I wanted an activity to get my son outside and moving, so I decided to write the sight words he is currently practicing on colorful pieces of paper and hide them all around our backyard. Then, I gave him a master list of the words to find and he checked them off as he located the each one.
Not only did it work, it was better than I expected. Because he had to keep reading the words on the list, he got in a ton more practice than we ever would have been able to achieve with simple flashcards.
Thursday: Art with A Little History
Because we had just learned about Ancient Egypt and the 7 Wonders, we got out the chalk pastels and tried our hand at drawing the pyramids. It wasn’t my most inventive activity, but art always calms him down and it worked well with our current lessons.
Friday: Mel Science Kit
Today, both of my sons are completing one of the chemistry experiments in our new Mel Science Kit. (This is not sponsored at all. I purchased the kit after seeing so many ads for it on Facebook.) Mel Science is definitely a GREAT idea for older kids. The youngest age they suggest is 12 and it’s easy to see why. These are legit, high school level experiments.
I am a little bit worried about how my youngest will do, especially if he feels competitive with his older brother and the learning is over his head, so I plan to be with them the entire time. If need be, I will distract my youngest with some baking soda and vinegar experiments and let my oldest complete the actual lesson.
Other Ways To Make Your Homeschool Week Not Suck
This was not our only learning for the week. It also included:
39 Clues Series: Books 4, 5, 6, and 7 all on audio.
Daily Schedule Planning With Post-Its
Piano Practice Daily (not forced, he loves it)
Game Night – Apples to Apples
You Tube and Amazon Prime Shows about Animals, Ancient Egypt and River Monsters
If this season has been tough, please, let me encourage you. Try not to worry and put undue pressure on everyone. This certainly wasn’t our best week for learning. It wasn’t even our average week. But it worked, and that’s enough right now.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.