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Do you struggle with worksheet ruts like I do? Make learning FUN again for your kiddos!
In my excitement for home school curriculum planning, I sometimes find myself geeking out to cool worksheets and big, multi-subject workbooks for my first grader. I admit, planning a home school curriculum was the last thing in the world I ever imagined doing with my free time!
But since I’m here now, I will tell you, (at the risk of seeming like a total nerd ) that I truly enjoy hunting down material for our curriculum!
The problem though-
My 5 year old is not nearly as thrilled with cumbersome, endless writing practice books or colorful math worksheets. Nope! He sees right through it all-
As colorful and kid-oriented as the practice work is, it’s still practice work. It’s tedious! It’s the “Busy Work” public schools fill their hours with- the stuff I wanted to get away from as a home school mom!
But, I know my kiddos NEED to practice in order to be fluent in their subjects- especially when it comes to reading and writing skills!
So, How do I get them to practice their skills while avoiding busy work and backlash???
I want them to LOVE school, and enjoy learning as a life-long habit!
After a month of feeling awash with disappointment and sadness when my kids don’t express excitement for worksheets- I’ve learned to sprinkle our weeks with spontaneous cheer-worthy activities to keep them interested!
I feel like implementing some of these games and experiments to our home school has brought much needed breaks and interest to the mundane. And I can imagine that this technique could be a game-changer with our public school friends, too!
Zingo is a sight word game recommended to me by a friend.
It is just the same as the beloved classic game bingo, but perfectly crafted for beginner readers and spellers!
Zingo became one of our default break/bridge activities during the school day. For example- if we were transitioning from math facts to reading work, we used Zingo to bridge the gap!
Almost as soon as I set out the game, Sam was in the reading mindset!
Zingo has many more words than I expected- making it a fun activity that can be played as long as your child is interested!
We did eventually move away from sight word learning. I found something better– but this game did help with memorization, and it has remained one of our favorite games to play together during AND AFTER school!
Please let me know what you think of this one!!
Another of our favorite beginning reading activities is Banagrams.
I found this while on pinterest one evening. It was recommended by a home school mom that I admire for her creative and relaxed teaching style!
Bananagrams is super fun! And in fact, my 2 year old showed a lot of interest in this too! The (silly) thing that made this attractive to me- it comes in a pouch. We can take this game with us to the beach or to the doctors office!
LEARNING while on vacation or running errands!
We can create words depending on where we are and what we’re doing at the time.. So SIMPLE, but it’s really effective because it’s not just practice writing on a page!
Speaking of portable Banagrams, don’t forget that while it’s really fun to shop for games for your kiddos, sometimes the best kind of learning is FREE!
Use some creativity when you’re doing the regular stuff!
I like to ask the kids to read signs and billboards when we’re driving. I’ll have them skip ahead of me in the store and tell me the price of their favorite soup!
We even have conversations about weather, different kinds of vehicles, and destinations we would like to someday see!
The kids seem to learn 10x more from casual conversation than they would from worksheets!
And, conversations expand vocabulary. So go ahead and use big, long words when talking to your littles- they can easily put things into context, and when grandma asks them about the weather, they’ll surprise her with words like “condensation”!
SCORE ONE POINT FOR MOMMY!
Don’t forget about online resources!
As I mentioned before, many of my ideas to incorporate games and experiments into my home school came from online. Namely, blogs and Pinterest!
Pinterest is an encyclopedia of ideas for me! I’ve found so many websites and bloggers dedicated to childhood education on the platform! (Plus some amazing DIY tutorials for household projects!)
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some of my favorite sites that fuel creativity in the classroom!
My list of Favorites:
Making Learning Fun Again Would Be Impossible
If I didn’t have some sort of system to keep track of the things that spark our creativity!
There are some activities that I want to do with the kids so badly, but they’re not quite old enough yet. Then, there are times when I find something to do that is WAY TOO similar to an activity we did last week!
To keep track of it all, I bought a 3-ring-binder at Walmart and 12 dividers. I labeled my dividers for each month of the year, and came up with a theme for the month.
January= Reading & Writing Practice
February= Science Experiments
March= U.S. States
Then, My best kept secret to time blocking our activities for the week is a printable planner from TheHomeSchoolMom.com!
I really couldn’t keep track of everything we do without these printable planner worksheets guys!
I prefer these, because I can choose the planner pages that work best for us. For instance, although we read A LOT, we don’t keep a Log of Books we’ve read, so I’ll skip that. But then I can print the Activities Log and write down when we took a gardening day or went on a field trip to the zoo!
This planner is FREE if you subscribe to The Home School Mom newsletter- so I recommend that you take advantage if you want to keep track of your extra learning activities!
Whether you home school, or you just want to encourage learning after school hours, I hope these tips have inspired you to make learning FUN again for your kids!
If you have a favorite website or resource for fun early learning ideas, I want to hear about them! Please comment below or contact me!
Don’t forget to subscribe for more parenting tips & tricks!
Sincerely Yours, Breezy