I need some help. I had purchased a few extras to add to our basics for our school year, thinking it would not be too overwhelming for my kids (or me). However, I’m starting to second guess myself. My kids average an hour or two a morning, which I think is plenty for a 5 and 7 yo, but come afternoon they are bored. I am scratching my head trying to figure out what to do! We have logic puzzles, geography puzzles, etc. It tempts them for a couple of days, but then they run out of steam. Any suggestions?? We do plenty of coloring/drawing via notebooking and just on their own. We also do science experiments every other week. Just stumped. Thanks!
This is a fantastic question that has given us a lot to think/talk about here!
Before I actually answer your question, let me just commend you on what you are doing. The fact that school isn’t taking long is great, they are mastering the material and you are setting a doable pace!
There are probably more approaches and options to the remaining time in your day than there are homeschooling families, but let me just share a few of our favorites, all of which seem interwoven at some level. I should also mention that the options available to you depend a great deal on your circumstances and personal preferences. A rural introvert will have much more interest in an animal raising idea than in touring city landmarks:
This is huge around our place. Hopefully they are already doing chores, but are there ways that you can increase the complexity of their tasks? For instance your seven year old could have an active part in meal planning, making a shopping list… That time then becomes a blessing to the whole family while also building skills they’ll use forever. Plus, children enjoy playing a “real” role in the family – at least most of the time.
On a similar note, what skills might they like to develop? This can include cooking, knitting, sewing, woodworking, knot tying, making balloon animals or any number of other skills that may prove to be a life skill, fun hobby, or used only for a year and then seemingly forgotten!
Are there options for encouraging them to follow their interests? For instance if you have a son who is enamored with cars, do you have the garage space for him to completely deconstruct an engine? If you have a child comfortable with 100-piece puzzles, why not get a 500-piece puzzle and encourage them to work on that at their leisure. (Include a reward for completing it if you like.)
Elective Academic Pursuits
While no child should be overwhelmed academically, some are ready for more of a challenge, be that in foreign language, art, electronics, construction, music lessons or the like. Construction and science kits are particularly terrific for young learners – they will have a blast and learn much more than they think they have!
Having identified some of their interests, can you help them come up with a multi-day project to work on? Your beginning seamstress may be excited to tackle a baby quilt. Other ideas would be knitting a stocking cap, building an elaborate fort, or even cultivating a garden. (If space allows.)
If you have the space for it, raising animals is in many ways a perfect project. From worms to chickens or rabbits, there are relatively low-cost ways for children to learn responsibility, financial prudence, and even important life-lessons when you have the opportunity to pursue animal husbandry.
A lot of these ideas are best suited for rural life, but being in the city just means you have a different set of options. What about field trips to local attractions? Joining a library program? Are there local church activities that they could help with? Our local Christian school has even had ways for homeschoolers to join them just for field trips, making it a chance to connect as well as learn.
Have you considered Little Contenders for the Faith and Little Keepers at Home? Even if you’re not doing the whole program, (I confess, our family never did) there are a ton of helpful ideas of useful things to teach.
Those are our thoughts, what would you add?