No, we’re not talking about immunizations. We are talking about booster shots for those families that have homeschooled for so long, or so in depth that they have lost the joy of why they started this journey in the first place.
You may be one of those families that has been homeschooling for 9 years or so and now are on the home stretch, or you may be new to the journey and have gotten in over your head and wondered if this is the right choice. Any and all of us could use a Booster Shot at some point.
Here my top 10 ideas:
10. Field Trip – Just a short one or maybe even a day long adventure – your choice, but there is nothing like a field trip to break up the week and breath life into a student’s schedule.
9. Read Aloud – If you don’t already do this, it’s a good time to start when your battery is low. You can read to them, or they can take turns reading to you and each other. It’s a great way to bond and relax. Yes, even high school kids like this still!
8. School Outside –The weather is turning warmer in most parts of the country! Take the books, the art, the portable CD player and learn outside. Even better, just walk and study what is about to bloom and discuss the science of this blessing!
7. Combining 8 & 9 – One booster for us, all the way up until mid high school, was to take a huge blanket out under the sun or shade tree and read. We would watch clouds, pet new baby chicks or kitties and just enjoy hearing a good story in the fresh air.
6. Year-round School Schedule – This SOUNDS awful to some people, but it doesn’t ‘t really mean school every single day! It means for each month of the year, you have school for 3 weeks and then one week off. These schedules can often be planned around holidays. If you and your student knew that every three weeks you both got a significant break, there is time to plan fun or just do NOTHING every month!
5. Find a Co-op – Many area support groups have some co-op learning classes. Often it will require that you volunteer a bit of your time once in a while, but the change of pace and learning surroundings can be invaluable to both you and all students involved!
4. Let the Student Plan – “not You” – One of my children wanted the freedom to plan her own Senior year completely. She chose an extra science and an extra social studies. She also planned every weeks’ work and is doing so that she can be finished WELL before her graduation ceremony date – by her 18th birthday! This has motivated her and also taught her accountability. It has also lightened my load to simply grading!
3. Let a Science Experiment ‘evolve’ into more – This was always one sure fire way for my kids to get a little giggly or off track – but boy it is memorable and it was worth the side track! Take the science experiment to any lengths your child’s questions or curiosity will let it go (but let’s be safe about it). Not only do they learn more by not having to fit into a science ‘box’ – but you will ignite the joy of learning again – and you will LOVE to see how their minds work when unhindered by steps preordained by someone else!
2. Talk with others – When you get the chance, ask other parents for ideas that may be inviting to your homeschool to use. You may also be surprised how your kids react when they find out what other kids do for their homeschool. My kids were actually pleasantly pleased when they heard the schedule and weight of some other homeschooled students their age. I became a ‘cool’ mom (for a little while anyway).
1. My number 1 favorite – Just take the day off (or the week) when you know you’ve all reached your limit! Bake a big ole batch of chocolate chip cookies, play with the pets, make a mess, don’t grade, don’t file and don’t worry. Mix this in with prayer and thanksgiving that you have the chance to be home with your kids and I’ll guarantee that an attitude of gratitude will renew that joy to your homeschool heart.