4 Ideas for Staycations That Will Shake Up Your Homeschooling Routine
by Carrie Spencer | The Spencers Adventures
No matter where you are in your homeschool journey — a beginner or seasoned pro — you’ll need tools that shake up the day and keep your kids’ minds sharp. It’s easy to fall into a rut with day-to-day tasks, lessons, and skills. Both you and your kids will appreciate some novelty every once in a while — thus, the idea of an educational staycation. Stay safe during the pandemic and break the repetitiveness of homeschooling with these ideas:
Learn a new skill or hobby as a family.
Many people worry that homeschooling can limit your kids’ access to extracurriculars, but the truth is, the flexibility of homeschooling opens up your family to more classes and programs in a variety of skills and interests. You and your family can take advantage of your staycation to sign up for a new skill-building adventure.
For example, have you always dreamed of being a family band? Spend your staycation learning to play musical instruments. Hobbies Together suggests taking everyone’s interests, tastes, personality, and physical condition into consideration when deciding which instrument to learn.
Study ecology and sustainability with neighborhood walks.
Your neighborhood is one of the greatest science experiments your children will ever encounter. Supplement their classroom learning and enhance your staycation with educational neighborhood walks. You can study diverse ecology, animal habitats, rainfall, and life cycles all within a few steps from your door. Plus, STEM skills can really come to life when you examine the changing seasons.
Help your kids discover sustainability through the beautification of your area. Neighborhood walks to pick up trash can be a practical way to discuss chemical compounds broken down during recycling. It’s also an easy way to begin teaching ethical concepts, like our responsibility to care for the planet.
Set ground rules for technology.
Because homeschool may involve more online resources and testing, you’ll want to be sure to set appropriate technology ground rules during your staycation. Keep mindless scrolling to a minimum by keeping their smartphones limited to 20–30 minutes at a time. And make sure that they take regular physical breaks. If they want to play video games all day, they must get up once every hour or so and take a screen break.
Make sure everyone has access to the kind of technology that will make their staycation enjoyable and, more importantly, educational. Homeschooled children shouldn’t have to compete for computers and headphones — everyone deserves their own space to learn. If yours aren’t up-to-date, take advantage of online deals and discounts on desktops, laptops, and tablets.
Create a week of creations.
Imagination is a critical skill for developing minds. Get your kids excited for their educational staycation by throwing an art party with molding clay, paints, crayons, stencils, wooden figurines, paper, craft supplies, glue, and glitter. If the mess is a concern, take the party outside. Connect their art experiences to theory by visiting an art museum or local galleries.
Don’t forget to let their inner authors bloom, too. Create stories, poetry, news articles, blogs, and journals with your kids, allowing them to explore creativity in the written word. You can host a poetry night or open mic night in your living room with hot cocoa, or share stories around a fire pit in the backyard. Sharing their written creations helps your kids boost reading comprehension and sharpen their communication skills.
A staycation that combines education and entertainment will really help your homeschoolers engage more deeply with their learning. Cris Johnson has seen how joyful this combination can be firsthand during his Amazing School Assemblies and Library Shows. From science experiments to reading and art, Cris uses magic and clean humor to get kids participating in learning. It’s exactly this kind of participation that a staycation can help homeschooling parents achieve, so check out Cris’ current schedule here.
Carrie Spencer created The Spencers Adventures (thespencersadventures.net) to share her family’s homesteading adventures. On the site, she shares tips on living self-sufficiently, fruit and vegetable gardening, parenting, conservation, and more. She and her wife have 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 goats, 32 chickens, and a whole bunch of bees. Their goal to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible.