The box caught my eye…only $10?!?! Seriously? What a bargain! My youngest was just finishing up grade two, so this grade four LA boxed set will be perfect for her to go through slowly the following year. I just can’t believe I am getting this program for only ten bucks! That’s insane. I left the vendor hall ecstatic about my bargain find. Fast forward several months and my dreams that came with this box are shattered as I fight with my daughter to complete a page in the first booklet. I reasoned that perhaps she just wasn’t ready and I shelved the program for the next year, with high hopes that she would be ready then. I didn’t clue in at that point…or maybe I did know what the problem was, I just wasn’t ready to let go of my bargain! There was no joy here with this program…and there wouldn’t be the following year, either. When You Need More Joy In Your Homeschool
Last month, we looked at two huge joy stealers of our home education, learning problems and giftedness. Today we are going to look at the issue of boredom and restoring fun to your homeschool.
Bored To Tears
OK, at the risk of offending some of you sticklers of workbooks…I am just going to be honest here. Workbooks and worksheets don’t always provide optimum learning. Consider these questions for yourself:
When was the last time you did a worksheet or completed a workbook…and enjoyed it?
When was the last time you read a passage and then proceeded with answering fill-in-the-blank questions?
When you read a book, did you enjoy just reading it for the sake of pure enjoyment? Or did you finish each chapter by working through comprehension questions?
I am not implying that these tools are bad or that they don’t have a place in homeschool. However, we must keep in mind that they are just tools and they do tend to be incredibly boring. They should not make up the majority of a homeschool program and, really, they are only a supplement to natural learning.
I have learned that one of the biggest killers of natural learning and homeschool joy is the boxed sets of workbooks. This is forced learning. When we utilize this kind of learning too often are we building up a love for learning? Or tearing it down.
I think this is a great question to keep in mind throughout our homeschool year – is the curriculum we are using building up or tearing down?
Sure, there are some kids out there who just love workbooks and they happily sit there and do them. This section is really not for them. It is for those of us who are using workbooks and then wonder why we have to fight to get our kids to use them!
Remember that bargain boxed set I bought? Well, I just placed the second half of the set in the recycle bin. The workbooks are not challenging her mind. She finds them extremely boring and much prefers to work on her novel, which builds her up and challenges her.
Bring on the JOY!
For a final project, we looked at Pinterest for ideas. She chose a diorama and we scrounged through our art materials and found shiny blue foil paper, sparkly fun foam, gold ribbon, snowflake foam stickers, tissue paper, pipe cleaners and more. She busily set out to work on her project with joy. She made it her own. We didn’t have to spend weeks on worksheets or readings to understand the water cycle. She is learning through hands-on projects that are fun and engaging!
This is the joy of homeschooling.
I had a different perspective from the ‘boxed set bargain’ year when I last attended our local homeschool convention. I was very ‘picky’ about my purchases. I knew I wanted to have more fun with my kids. I suppose the fact that my oldest is going into grade 10 has had a major part to play in this realization. I wish I could go back and redo some things with her. But I can’t. So, I am hoping I can pass along this bit of wisdom to you younger moms.
Anyway, I found a couple of books that had STEM projects in it and my daughter eagerly looked through the books and planned which ones she wanted to do first. She has yet to start, but I know she will be working on the projects over the summer. She will be learning and having fun.
Do Not Provoke
One verse that keeps coming to mind while I consider my new plan to bring the joy back into my homeschool is the one in Colossians. It is addressed to the fathers, but I don’t think that us mothers ought to dismiss this admonition.
We are not to provoke our children because they may become discouraged. Am I unknowingly provoking my child with boredom, thus bringing on discouragement in their learning?
I guess this is just a fresh way to look at this verse and it really has me thinking and reflecting on how it relates to our homeschool.
I want my kids to have fun, enjoyable memories of being at home with me. Will they have to do the hard stuff in regards to education? Yes, they sure will. But I’d like to get a mix of fun and joy back int the game. And this takes an intentional mother.
To find some great project-based learning activities and more STEM, search the Teachers Pay Teachers site. I found some fun pizza parlour and ice cream shop projects that incorporate writing, math, art, science, etc in the lessons.
Are you ready to join me in bringing back the joy?
What things do you need to change in order to make this happen? Do you need to toss some of those workbooks like I did? Do you need to promise yourself to NOT buy that boxed set of workbooks, no matter the great price? Will you look at Pinterest for more ideas? PS – I have some Pinterest boards you might find helpful!
Click here to follow me on Pinterest and see my homeschooling boards!
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