What is the hardest part of my homeschooling day? Keeping my children engaged and excited and fighting the boredom that tends to creep in. I know that part of our problem is that they LOVE video games and anything that is not as flashy as a game has the chance of losing their interest rapidly. However, I am not willing to ban video games entirely from my house either, as it seems that I like them as well… lol!
So, the best thing I have learned to do, is to mix up the subjects and activities a little bit. Rather than doing one book work subject after another or all of their Switched-on-Schoolhouse (from Alpha Omega Publishers) in one big time slot together, I try to stir it up a little. The other reason I do it this way, is so that I can spend the time with my first grader that is required to teach her lessons, without neglecting the older children. Also, I try to add in a taste of some other subjects and activities in our day to even more boredom-fighting.
To address this, our homeschool schedule looks something like this:
- Read Aloud Time (We spend about 15 minutes per day with this. It is a chapter book that the kids choose – right now it is …ahem… “Captain Underpants”… lol. However, they love them and we can laugh together as they settle in after breakfast and get ready for their school day.)
- Opening Prayer (The children take turns leading the prayer.)
- Math Game/Drill Time (Since Math Drill is required in each of their Math curricula, but it can make the math lesson feel longer, I split it up and complete drill here. Sometimes, we play a math game instead.)
- Journal (I like for my children to write in a journal each day. Rather than make it part of Language Arts, we do it here.)
- Rotation Time
– My older children work on these subjects in this order: History & Geography S.O.S. (Switched on Schoolhouse); Language Arts; Science S.O.S.; Math
– My youngest child works on her subjects in this order: Language Arts; History & Geography; Math, Science; Computer Enrichment
- Lunch and Recess (Helps them get rid of excess energy and wigglies. As an added bonus, when we walk the dogs during this time, it helps the dogs to settle down also, so they do not cause so many schooling disruptions.)
- Bible Lesson
- Memory Verse
- Music (We usually sing a hymn from the hymnal and them we sing and dance to children’s praise music.)
- Attention Game (I found this wonderful book I will share at a later time. It has a ton of games for children of all ages that helps build their focus abilities, so they can concentrate better to the tasks at hand and the things around them.)
- Book Basket (Free reading time where the children choose books they would like to read or look at. The older ones often read to the younger ones.)
I know it looks a little jumbled at first glance. However, my “educator rationale” behind this is that by switching the types of activities and switching them often, the child’s mind does not have the time or chance to develop boredom. It is kind of like when you need to drive a car with a standard transmission, or as some call it, a stick shift. When you are in town and driving in traffic, you have a lot of stop and go and shifting to do.
Because of that you are more alert to what is going on around you and you are staying busy in the car. However, when you are driving in fifth gear on the interstate or highway, your mind has the tendency to drift off as the highway markers pass you by. By alternating the more interesting things with the book work and the computer activities and the active things, we have the opportunity to keep our minds busy doing different things throughout the day – changing gears. However, when there is too much bookwork to be done all at one time, my children often begin to complain or even whine, laying their heads on the table and essentially giving up on the lesson occasionally – or in other words, falling asleep behind the wheel.
So, my advice is to you….
If your schedule is working for you and your children, DO NOT change a thing. However, if your kids seem to be complaining a lot and it looks like they are giving up on their work and it feels like a battle just to get through one or two subjects (let alone making it through the entire day), it might be time to “change the gears” and mix up your studies a little.
Copyright © Alicia Tucker, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
About the Author: Alicia Tucker is a homeschool mom of 3 children, after having worked in public schools in NJ and SC for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Sociology, as well as a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Technology. Alicia is also Moms of Faith prayer warrior and columnist.