I want our home to be a place where learning is fun. I think all parents can say this no matter what their educational choice for their children is. I have been evaluating this year what is working and what isn't in our homeschool. Here are a few ways we have tried to make things more fun lately:
1. Spelling City
This has been a lifesaver for me! I have two children doing spelling this year which means I was giving one pre-test, 1 practice test and 1 final test weekly to each of them. In between, they had worksheets to complete. They absolutely hated it most of the time, and they were consistently missing words on their final test.
I found the Spelling City site through another blogger. All I do now is enter their spelling lists at the beginning of the week. They can play various review games throughout the week. I can print out a handwriting page with all their words on it.
At the end of the week, they take a test online and print it out. I have a fully graded test to file away with very little work on my part. Also, their grades have greatly improved! One of my children was not doing well at all with spelling and has gotten 100% correct on the last three tests.
2. Creative Cooking
One of my goals for my children is for all of them to know how to care for themselves and their homes when they are older. I have three boys, and I expect the same of them I do from my daughter. I mean, what if they turn out to be bachelors? Even if they don't, if they know how to cook and clean for themselves it should win me some points with my daughter-in-laws, right?
I gathered all four of my kids recently for an impromptu lesson on making hot fudge sauce. My daughter cooks often, so she was more of a teacher than a participant, but she still had fun. My second grader was in charge of cutting the recipe in half which was great fraction practice. We learned how to read a recipe and what the difference between "t." and "T." is.
My 2-year-old got a science lesson as we let him experience the bitter taste of cocoa and the sweet taste of sugar. The science continued as I discussed how metal conducts heat with my 4-year-old who was using my metal whisk to stir the sauce.
Everyone got a chance to "feel" the sauce thicken. The best part was when we served it up on our ice cream sundaes!
3. Reading Aloud
When I had one child, we read aloud a lot. Unfortunately, my younger two have had much less of my reading books on their level. I'm rediscovering the joy of teaching a child to read just by reading to them. My 4-year-old is picking up words as we go, and my 2-year-old recognizes a third of the alphabet letters. These are the moments of homeschooling I will look back and remember fondly!
These are just a few things we've done lately that really have nothing to do with homeschooling and yet everything to do with it. All the things I mentioned are things that any parent can do with their children. Remember, you are educating your children by your example every day. Enjoy it!