The Ultimate Guide To Hands-On Homeschooling Activities: Everything You Need To Get Started
This ultimate guide to hands-on homeschooling activities includes invaluable resources and tons of inspiration. It’s everything you need to get started!
It’s been two years since I made the commitment to complete one hands-on activity with my son every week.
I used to share them with you here, every Friday, in the hopes that it might take some of the workload and guesswork out of your busy days.
There are two questions that you have asked over and over, these past two years.
How do you come up with the ideas for a new hands-on activity every week?
How do you find the time?
The Ultimate Guide To Hands-On Homeschool Activities
I thought these questions deserved some answers. In fact, I am 100% sure I have asked them of other moms in the past, and even asked them of myself, prior to taking on my self imposed 52 Weeks of Activities Challenge.
It makes sense to me. If you have a child who thrives with hands-on learning, it can becoming overwhelming very, very quickly. There is no box curriculum, ready to go with a subject-by-subject activities for the year. My weekly activities may help, but they will not be anywhere near enough to meet the learning needs of a child who craves experiential, activity based learning.
How Do You Come Up With Ideas For New Homeschool Activities?
1. Keep Them Interest-Based
The first place I start when coming up with any new learning is what my son is currently studying and interested in. When he was excited about space, we did a solar system map. When he was crazy about Latin American deadly creatures, we created our own antique map of Latin America. It narrows the field considerably and allows me to focus my search for an interesting activity.
After I have a topic in mind, I start to research.
2. Use Pinterest, Sometimes
Pinterest is an obvious choice for finding options, but the truth is, sometimes it can be a bit of a time waster. If you type in Latin America activities, you will inevitably get about 1000 ideas that are nowhere near what you are looking for. (Incidentally, this is why I created a new board on Pinterest all about hands-on learning. I keep ideas I find that are appropriate for my child there, and can reference it any time. You’re welcome to join me as well!)
3. Find Out What Works For Other Homeschooling Families
The truth is, I have the best success, and am able to save the most time, by researching sites and/or books by moms that I trust to have activities that will likely work for my son. I use these resources to get my creative wheels turning.
My absolute favorite sources for inspiration are:
Colleen Kessler is a good friend, great mom, and creative educator! She is the real deal and has a ton of books and resources on her site that you won’t want to miss. (Plus, the two of us get together once a month to talk about the topics that matter most to us as homeschooling moms!)
Turn Your Homeschool Into A Gameschool With Never Board Learning (I can’t believe all the tools and resources Cait offers!)
Learn In Color Code Breaking Activities (there’s even an escape room!)
Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus (I am pretty sure I could just use Tina’s site to homeschool across all subjects and we would be just fine!)
Amazon and Dollar Tree (I look through the craft and education sections and sometimes see kits that inspire me to create something similar at home).
This is 100% something I think you can do too! It takes very little time, once you know where to look for inspiration.
Which brings us to the second question…
How Do You Find The Time To Create Hands-On Homeschool Activities?
The simple answer is, this is a priority for me. Because this helps my son learn best and gives us quality time together every week, I find it is a better use of my time than any other homeschool mom requirement.
But lately, I find myself avoiding it. I find myself wishing we could just do a worksheet.
Maybe you can relate?
I need the reminder more than anyone else.
This is what works for my son.
This is what must be a priority.
I don’t have to have fully flushed out lesson plans.
I don’t have to always clean my kitchen at night after dinner.
I do need to prioritize hands-on learning activities in our homeschool.
This is what makes sense for my kiddo and, if I’m honest, my heart.
Staying Motivated As We Create Hands-On Learning In Our Homeschool
Making the commitment to create this every week, not just to my son, but to you as well, allowed me to push through on the weeks when there were about a million other things I would rather do. And it made all the difference.
I am working on hands-on learning activities as less of a requirement, and instead, something I look forward to each week.
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I am grateful to learn right alongside you.
More Ideas and Resources For Hands-On Homeschool Activities
Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned educational consultant, and mom of two brilliant boys who have learning differences and special needs.
Shawna has also written four books: Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos, and Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. A passionate advocate for individualized education, Shawna is frequently featured on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Mighty. She can also be found supporting parents online at her own site, DifferentByDesignLearning.com.