Whether you took a proper break from homeschooling during the holiday season or just dialed it back a bit, fully transitioning your child back into the swing of things can be a challenge. Both of you have probably become accustomed to a more relaxed routine, focusing more on the season’s excitement than lesson plans. With the new year upon us, follow these tips to help make this next stretch of schooling your best one yet!
Get out of the house
Although most of your lessons typically occur in the comfort of your home, your family may also have become comfortable with sleeping in and lounging around in their pajamas a little bit longer than usual. Incorporating trips outside of the house will help your child get back into waking up early and getting ready to learn.
- Plan a field trip. Schedule it for the middle to end of the week in order to give your child something to look forward to as they return to their schooling. You’d be surprised by how many educational opportunities there are locally! Additionally, there are many benefits of cultural field trips. In a study done by the University of Arkansas, students who participate in field trips demonstrate stronger observational and analytical skills, historical empathy, and a general ability to recall information experienced due to the hands-on nature of off-site learning.
If you’re interested in teaching your child about science, search for nearby Science museums or wildlife centers. If you’re looking to expose them to history, look into the hours of a local art museum. Research the exhibits ahead of time and create a worksheet for them to attend to while they make their way through the trip. This will help them stay engaged.
- Host a lesson off-site. You don’t need to stay in your usual classroom to exercise the cognitive muscles that they’ve let rest over break. You can keep it simple so as to not overwhelm your child during their first month back. Have your child help prepare for future English lessons by visiting the local library and allowing them to pick out the literature they’d like to read. While you’re already there, rent out a private study room for an hour or two to host your first reading comprehension or writing lesson of the year!
Lean on alternative educational tools
Jumping right into a fully structured day of lesson plans can be the perfect way to get your child to shut down. After an entire holiday season of breaks, their brains need a little warming up. This doesn’t mean they can’t still be exposed to educational content!
- Movies are a great way to get your child thinking without piling too much onto them. Plus, there are so many educational Christian movies that are the perfect addition to any school day. Plan to substitute a movie for a lesson plan later in the day when you notice that your child is beginning to get tired. Following lunch provides an ideal time where your child can have an hour or so to digest but isn’t too tired yet that they won’t be able to focus.
If you’re skeptical of integrating movies into your child’s homeschooling routine because you don’t want to rely on electronics in a learning environment, educate yourself on the benefits of video in education. This route will provide your child with wholesome entertainment that simultaneously increases memory performance and deepens their understanding of the concepts presented.
- Including the arts into your child’s education will provide a break from traditional lessons, exercise their creative muscles, and encourage fun within learning! Break out the art supplies to make Science a hands-on activity, or encourage reading composition by helping your child start their own reading response journal. If your child already plays an instrument or has been learning, take this opportunity to practice reading music! Delve into traditional church hymns and more modern Christian music.
- Get baking to encourage your child to practice mathematics as well as instill important values! Breaking into the kitchen to whip up some delicious desserts is a delicious way of incorporating concepts like chemistry or fractions through measurements into their curriculum. Having them follow a recipe will also practice close reading and cognitive skills that will help them comprehend directions. Have them package up the desserts and deliver to neighbors, friends, or your local church as a fun way to give back!
Revamp their Homeschooling Space
Returning to the same old classroom can make your child feel as though they never had a break to begin with. Make small changes to the room- this could be as simple as rearranging the furniture or buying new baskets to organize materials and including new colors into the decor. Treat this opportunity as a new school year and go “back to school” shopping in order to restock their desk with fresh pens, highlighters, and other fun supplies.
If their desk has been looking a little disheveled throughout the holiday break, help them reorganize so they can return to their curriculum with a fresh, clean space. Give them the opportunity to design their desk to really make it their own. Having a space they want to be in will help to beat the back to school blues.
Make your routine simple
This includes any outside activities. With the start of a new stretch in your school year, you’re bound to have lots of information to give your child. Even if the majority of the week consists of introductions to concepts and overviews of content being covered, this can still be overwhelming for your child. Limit extracurriculars for the first two weeks of the school year so as to help maximize the time your child will have for readjusting. This may include a need for additional downtime or sleep, which will be more easily allowed if their schedule is clear.
To help the school days go by smoothly and minimize stress on your child, prep easier meals such as crockpot recipes or make ahead freezer entres. This can help minimize the time you’ll be running around the kitchen trying to feed your child and help the transition between lessons and lunch occur quickly.
Insert siestas if need be
Beginning a new routine will take a toll on both you and your child’s energy. To help give your body the extra support that it needs, allow for siestas during the day. Siestas are a tradition in some countries, encouraging people to take a short nap during a small afternoon break usually lasting two to three hours. Although your child’s break doesn’t need to be this long, you both can receive the benefits found from taking a daily midday rest. Allowing your child a small block to rest, especially if you see their energy depleting in the latter half of the day, will improve their focus and boost productivity. As you notice that both you and your child are beginning to get their energy level back up to where they were before the holiday season, you can slowly reduce the resting time.
Don’t be afraid to make changes
Lastly, stay flexible as you begin your next stretch of the school year! The aforementioned tips and tricks to revive your child’s curriculum will offer great guidance but may need some tweaking. After all, every child is different and their learning is no exception. In the first month back, be sure to touch base with your child as the end of each week to ask what they liked and didn’t like about the new changes. Showing that you care about their opinion will help them feel more comfortable recommending alternative ways to make school more enjoyable for them!