They’re staring out the window. A lot.
When you bend down to pick up a pencil, you glimpse under the table. Their feet are tap, tap, tapping on the floor.
Knees are quietly bouncing up and down while they’re doing their schoolwork.
As the homeschool day progresses, your kids can hardly keep their butts in their seats.
A long time ago, I’d walk around my classroom after the kids were dismissed. This time of year I’d find things like dozens of small bits of eraser on the floor. Interestingly, they would only be piled around certain kids’ desks.
Nervous habit? Nope. I did a quick mental rundown of my seating chart. It told me a couple of besties had been throwing bits of eraser at each other across the room, whenever I wasn’t looking. From the amount, it happened during most of the class.
I was impressed that they did it without my noticing!
I’ll bet you’re experiencing something like that in your homeschool now. Spring’s in full bloom, summer is near, and they’re tired of their routine.
Aren’t you? Don’t you feel the same way?
So how do you finish the homeschool year strong when the natives are restless?
First, don’t fight with the kids to keep them sitting still.
That’s a losing battle. A power struggle is negative and counterproductive. When you find yourself heading down that road, stop and sidestep.
Instead, redirect and channel their jittery energy into productive work. You can do this with simple tweaks to their assignments. All you need to do is adjust the assignment to incorporate another learning style .
Hold your kids to the same learning goals, but change the way they show their learning. It’s not hard to do.
I’ve included a list of activity ideas below. I’ve used them all with much success over the years.
Experiment with them! What worked for me can work for you. Adjust and finish your homeschool year strong.
Add An Art Component
When you ask your kids to add a drawing or do some painting, cutting or gluing, you’re creating variety in their day. You give them the opportunity to be more tactile as they work with other materials. You also allow them to add more of their creativity to their work.
Create a sensory figure. Pick a character from a book or person from history. Have the kids draw them in the center of a poster or sheet of construction paper. Then, ask the kids to write (in the first person) what that character is experiencing. This can be at a particular point in history or the plot of a book they’re reading. Those descriptive I-statements are presented as bubbles of dialogue. They surround the picture of the person.
Each bubble of dialogue would begin according to each of the five senses. I see, I hear, I taste, I smell, and I feel. For example if your kid did a sensory figure assignment on Harriet Tubman, they’d draw a picture of her, then surround that picture with dialogue bubbles saying what she saw, felt, heard, tasted, and smelled at a specific time in her life.
Make a travel brochure. This works particularly well for history or geography topics. Your kids design an enticing tourist travel brochure. It includes highlights of places they’d want to visit in an area they’re studying and why. A brochure on a cruise along the Nile River with highlights of stops along the way is one example.
Design a postcard. Draw a photo of a location or historical monument on one side of a notecard. Share information about that location’s significance on the back, written as a message to friends or family.
Make a shoebox diorama. Use an old shoebox and crafts materials to create a 3D scene from a book, an event from history, or to highlight an important discovery. Glue a written explanation of the scene and its importance on the back.
Design a correspondence from the past or pages from an old diary. This is another activity where your kids write in the first person. It’s about an event or time period they’re studying. They can paint some typing paper with tea, and burn the edges as if the diary was pulled out of a fire. Additionally, this is an excellent activity to make them practice their cursive.
Create an illustrated dictionary entry. First, the kids write a definition of a term they need to learn. Then they add an illustration that demonstrate the term in use. For example, dictionary definitions usually include a sentence that uses the word. Instead, you have your kids draw a picture.
Make a time capsule or create “A Century In Review” magazine. This is a strong culminating project idea. It allows your kids to pull information from different subject areas that all occurred within the same time period. For example, a time capsule of the 20th century could include discoveries and innovations in math, science, art, literature, and culture. Your kids could draw pictures or design models of the artifacts they would include in the capsule. Then they also include written explanations as to why they were chosen to represent the time.
Add Movement and Change the Medium
Give your kids the opportunity to step away from their desks and move even more. These activities work best in pairs or small groups of kids. Siblings of different ages can take part too.
Role plays, skits, imaginary panels of historical figures answering interview questions, acting out an important scene from a play are all examples of activities that include a lot of movement. Kids meet their learning goals through written scripts approved by you. They reinforce their learning, get creative, and enjoy themselves by performing those scripts.
Smartphones today have many easy-to-use video-taping and editing applications that kids know how to use better than adults. It’s a wonderful way to let them play with their favorite device, blow off steam, and meet learning goals at the same time. In some cases, you could let the kids make a Tiktok!
You Can Finish the Homeschool Year Strong
One or two of these activities will give your kids the opportunity to channel their spring fever and finish the homeschool year strong. Whichever you decide to do, always display their finished work or present it to an audience. An audience of one family member who works outside the home is fine! Doing this is a strong affirmation of their efforts and inspires them to do their best.
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