It’s finally May and I have just one thing to say… Hooray! I love this time of year. If you loosely follow the regular school calendar the way our family does, that means you have one month OR LESS before summer break. Wahoo!
This last month can either go by very quickly or it can drag. The weather is warmer, the sun is shining, the windows are open, and the birds are chirping. The beauty of nature is extremely distracting this time of year. And most of us would much rather be outside enjoying God’s creation than being indoors bent over our lessons.
This makes it the PERFECT time of year to do some stealth homeschooling and shake up the lessons a little bit. Who says you need to keep the kids’ learning exactly the same this time of year?!?
Here are 10 Sneaky Ways to Get Our Kids to Learn:
1 – Play a Board Game
Younger kids learn lots of things from playing games such as counting, their colors, to take turns, to be a good winner (or loser), and many other things. Older kids learn logic skills, how to add money or large lists of numbers, and strategy. Board games are filled with learning!
2 – Take a Field Trip
Sometimes the best learning happens when you aren’t in the classroom. If you’re learning about botany, a trip to a botanical garden or a garden center is an excellent place to visit. If you’re learning about the Victorian Era, touring a Victorian home would be a great way to bring learning alive. If you just want to have some fun, consider touring a chocolate factory or a toy factory. No matter where you go for your field trip, your kids will learn!
3 – Unit Studies
If your kids are antsy, this is the perfect time to set aside the regular schoolwork and pick up a unit study. Try to focus on a subject which interests your child. Have fun with it! Choose interesting books for them to read. Pick some award winning movies to watch. Let your child come up with ideas for building models or otherwise demonstrating what he has learned.
You can also focus in on one subject such as history or science. What kid wouldn’t enjoy building and erupting their own volcano? Or making their own comet? Or forming crystals? We love watching videos by Destin at Smarter Every Day! There are also all sorts of books such as Backyard Ballistics, Potentially Catastrophic Science, and The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book which can help you to explore science with your kids.
4 – Educational Apps & Computer Games
It’s amazing how many FREE apps, computer games, and websites are at the disposal of our kids. There are apps and games for learning math, spelling, grammar, and more. Rather than boring your kids by making them fill out mind-numbing worksheet after worksheet, consider letting them do some of their drills and practice with an app instead.
One of my sons has absolutely LOVED learning about space travel by playing Kerbal Space Program. Minecraft is another game which can be educational. Have your child build a castle or a fort. Ask them to build a model of pretty much anything you want. This is a great way to trick your kids into learning!
5 – YouTube Videos
You can learn pretty much anything by watching a video about it on YouTube or some other internet site. We’ve learned everything from car repair to woodworking to history and more. The one caveat is that you may want to preview these videos to make sure they are appropriate for your kids. We’ve also enjoyed watching TedEd lessons.
6 – Mad Libs, Logic Puzzles, and More
There are so many fun ways to teach grammar, teach logical thinking, etc. My boys have enjoyed filling out Mad Libs over the years. They also enjoy the Mind Bender puzzles and The Red Herring Mysteries by The Critical Thinking Company. These types of activities are fun and cause the learning to happen in super stealth mode!
7 – Make a book
If your kids enjoy writing, have them create a short story, a movie script, a play, or a novel. Similarly, you could have them write several short pieces and create a newsletter. Or help them to set up a blog and let them write several blog posts.
If your kids aren’t big on writing, you could have them record their own audiobook instead. Let your kids do their reading into some computer recording software so that they can make their own audiobooks. If they want to get really fancy, they could work on editing the sound, adding sound effects, etc.
8 – Art or Music Appreciation
Sometimes the regular school year gets so busy that it’s hard to pack in every subject that you’d like to explore with your kids. This is a great time of year to focus on things such as art or music appreciation. Visit the local art museum. Let your kids experiment with 3D pens or other media. Listen to various genres of music. Attend a concert put on by the local symphony or by a jazz band.
9 – Make a Movie
My boys enjoy doing this one. Have your kids come up with a script, do the filming, perform as actors, do the directing, and be responsible for the editing. Depending on their age, your kids can put in a significant amount of time creating a very elaborate movie. This is also a fun idea to get together with friends and create.
10 – Concentrate on Life Skills
Just because the kids aren’t cracking the books doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. This is a great time of year to slow down some of the academics and get the kids doing some real-world learning. Help them brush up on their housecleaning or yard work skills. Tackle a big project together such a building a shed or a deck. Let your kids help you run your business – or help them start their own. Have your husband bring your son to work and let him job shadow him.
As you can see, learning does not need to be limited to textbooks and worksheets. If your kids appear to be at the end of their ropes and the light has left their eyes, consider dropping the regular studies and adding some sneaky learning methods instead. These are great ways to help put the love back into learning!
Question: Do you have any other sneaky learning methods that have worked in your homeschool? I’d love to hear what they are! Please leave a comment below.