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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

5 Easy Ways to Be the "Fun" Homeschool Mom

Log tepee in the woods

There's never enough time in the day to get to the necessities, better yet to add in "fun."

"Fun" just turns into a massive mess that I have to clean up.

I'm not very creative. I don't know how to make learning "fun."

If you've not said the previous three statements out loud, you've probably at least whispered them under your breath as you rage-cleaned glitter off the carpet, declaring that you're just not the "fun" homeschool mom and never will be.

 

I've been there. I've given my fair share of nope-never-again proclamations. And yet, there's something in me, and dare I say it, something in you that still wants to be the "fun" homeschool mom, despite the fact that we bristle every time we hear the paint jars being opened.

Perhaps we're at emotional odds because, in our desire for a "fun" homeschool, we're missing the mark entirely.

"Education doesn’t have to be fun, even for struggling ones. Education should be engaging. It should propel a child toward curiosity and wonder. Fun falls too short. Learning should be a deeper pursuit." 

Engaging should be our goal. And that's actually good news! Because, if a child is engaged, he'll also be having fun. Fortunately for you and me, engaging doesn't always require a huge investment of time or a hazmat-style clean-up afterward. 

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5 Easy Ways to be the "Fun" Homeschool Mom #homeschooling #homeschoolmom #homeeducation #educationalenrichment

Here are 5 simple ways you can become the "fun" homeschool mom by making the learning more engaging:

Create a "fun" loop

Make a list of all the enrichment activities that you'd like to do in your homeschool but never seem to have enough time to do. Now, narrow that list down to your top three to five choices. Next, designate a 15-30 minute time block in your day for a rotation of "fun". Resist the urge to toss this time chunk at the very end of the day's agenda. Chances are, if you put it last on the schedule, you'll find every excuse to skip it in order to start the non-school portion of your day.

Each day during that time, do the next activity on your list. Should something come up that day that would prevent you from doing your "fun," don't sweat it. Tomorrow, just pick up where you left off on the list the day before. Keep working your way down the list during the "fun" time chunk and when you come to the very last activity, start back at the top. Should you want to do one particular activity more often than all the rest, write it down in two places on your list. This will guarantee that you do that "fun" with greater regularity.

In my homeschool, I prefer to place the "fun" loop right after our afternoon read-aloud. Normally, this would be the slump of the day--those few hours just after lunch when everyone feels sluggish and unmotivated. But, by jumping into something fun at this time, I'm not only ensuring that we actually do the fun thing, but I'm also giving us all a mental and physical recharge in order to finish the rest of the afternoon strong.

Some enrichment activities my kids have enjoyed in the past have been:


pencil drawing of an apple

Friday "fun" day

Creating a 4-day-a-week schedule for the more rigorous parts of your homeschool like math and language arts allows you to reserve Friday (or any day that best suits your schedule) for fun. This is a great time to plan field trips, do art or science projects that correspond with the topic you're currently studying, watch documentaries, or any other enrichment activity you'd like to cover. Feel free to pack the day. The best part is, if you live in a state that requires you to keep a daily attendance record, you can count these "fun" days as school days. 

One "fun"

Stop trying to sprinkle rainbows and glitter over every day and in every subject only to find yourself throwing up your hands in defeat because you just can't seem to do it all. Instead, focus on adding just one "fun" thing into this particular season. Season, not day, not subject, not lesson! Season.

In other words, don't feel pressured to make a lapbook for every single science unit. Pick one unit that your kids are especially interested in and supply them with the materials to make a lapbook for that topic. At the end of the year, they might not have twenty completed lapbooks, but they'll have one and that's one more than they would've had if you had tried everything, given in to your feelings of defeat, and not finished any at all. One is always better than none.

If you've decided to focus on art this semester, great! Let that decision give you permission to say no to science projects. Do art and do it well. At the end of the year, your kids will have many well-done art projects instead of several half-baked project attempts in both art and science.

Pick one "fun" thing this season and do it with excellence.

making fingerprints for homeschool

Enrichment co-ops

Homeschooling doesn't mean that you have to teach all-the-things. It just means that you get to decide how everything is taught and by whom. If you are not naturally a "fun" mom, consider enrolling your family in a local homeschool co-op. These are groups of like-minded families that come together to offer enrichment-type activities that would be difficult to execute by one family alone, such as drama, choir, computer coding, and so much more.

Our family has participated in several co-ops since our very first year of homeschooling. Through these groups, my kids have been able to take part in improv skits, create a newspaper, host a cultural expo, dissect a mouse, and so much more. I didn't have the desire nor that aptitude for most of those activities, but our co-op ensured that my kids didn't have to miss out on any of them.  

sawing a log

Themed mornings

If a year-long commitment to a co-op sounds overwhelming to you, consider hosting or co-hosting a themed morning with a few other homeschool families in your area. Pick a theme, a skill, or an activity and create a morning of activities that correspond with that theme or skill. For instance, if you're studying Westerward Expansion in history, invite your kids and a few of their homeschool friends to dress up as pioneers, cook historically accurate food over a campfire, make corncob dolls, and learn how to lasso a stuffed animal with rope. 

In the past, I've hosted or co-hosted many themed mornings including:
These one-and-done events are jam-packed and are made especially more enjoyable when friends or extended family are included. 

pencil art of a dolphin

A final word

Please believe me when I say, no homeschool mom plans "fun" into every lesson or even every subject. The fun-all-the-time mother doesn't exist. And if she does, she's probably some kind of mythical creature like a spotted unicorn or a sword-wielding rabbit. So stop beating yourself up about not being the "fun" mom that you think you're supposed to be and start being the engaging mom that you probably already are. Start small and stay consistent. By the end of the year, you'll look back and see that the previous nine months were not only memorable but also fun!

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for being so encouraging and affirming. Your ideas for adding fun are refreshing and not burdensome. This is what I needed!

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  2. Agreed to utilitzing co-ops! My kids have begged me to teach them to sew, except I hate sewing as I really learned very much. But they got to learn embroidery this year and fell in love! And I didn't have to do anything!!!
    I also highly like your idea of focusing on things like art or science for a semester. I may try that next year.

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    Replies
    1. Sewing is a great skill to outsource to a co-op! Any of those practical skills work well for group classes.

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  3. A great reminder when we moms are feeling a bit like a failure! Thank you for your very practical advice!

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