The Spice of Life

By now I imagine you’ve amassed quite a pile of books and curriculum as you get ready for another great year of homeschooling. There’s nothing like the sight of all those new materials to get the enthusiasm going.

But the books that look so inviting in August are often less loved by November. The fact is that for both kids and parents, homeschooling can become boring if you just rely on a set curriculum.

It took me a while to figure that out. As I said in The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling,

Like many people, I began homeschooling by imitating the schools of my youth. I bought a boxful of curriculum, divided it into daily assignments, and taught my kids right out of those books.

And there wasn’t anything especially bad about that, except that after the initial excitement wore off, my kids started to get bored. Instead of being excited about doing school, they ranked it right down there with making their beds and setting the table-something we have to do, so let’s get it over with.

That was not in my game plan. I didn’t want them to be bored. I was bored in school, and I still recalled how bad that felt. I wanted my kids to enjoy school.

What I soon realized was that while they might have been bored with school, my kids still loved learning. They enjoyed visiting museums. My daughter read through stacks of books without my telling her to do so. And my son drew beautiful, detailed pictures that were not assigned by me.

I even became bored by the assignments I was teaching the kids, and it must have been around that time that I came up with the idea of playing store. I labeled some items in our pantry (using prices written on sticky notes), then dug up all the spare change I could find.

I became the storekeeper, and the kids became the shoppers. They’d choose an item from the pantry and pay me for it. Often I had to make change for them. Soon they were buying more than one item at a time and figuring out how much they owed me. Before long, they started taking turns being the store-keeper. This became a game they enjoyed for a long time, but I think I probably learned the most from that experience, because I saw that homeschooling didn’t have to be boring, like formal school was for me as a child.

This success led me to become more creative with our homeschooling…..(read the rest of the chapter HERE)

The moral of the story? Enjoy those books, and take advantage of that carefully crafted curriculum. But make sure you don’t spend the whole day with them. Provide your kids with plenty of time for creative learning, independent learning and free play. As the old saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life.” Keep that in mind, and your children will learn more, and have fun at the same time.

4 thoughts on “The Spice of Life

  1. Thanks for the advice! We’re currently organizing our curriculum and school supplies. It feels like it’s time to get back to our lessons (having taken a whole week off after fair). Some days I feel like such a lazy mom because we don’t even look at our curriculum. It makes me feel better to read advice like yours. I know that the kids learn the most when they’re engaged in doing something rather than sitting in a chair and reading/listening to a lesson. Some days it’s just difficult to break that public school model of what school is supposed to look like and go with the flow that allows us to experience life and truly learn.

  2. Pingback: Home School Diploma | Home School Diploma

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