Sometimes we all – parents and kids alike – need a break from the regular routine of school, but it’s just not a good time to take a full-fledged break. When you find yourself in that spot, try one of these 9 ways to take a break without canceling school.
1. Read. Pull out your favorite books and have a reading day. If you’ve got pre-readers and you don’t want to spend the whole day reading aloud, try audio books.
2. Watch documentaries. Make use of your Netflix or Amazon Prime account. Check out the History Channel, Discovery, or Animal Planet. Choose a documentary that goes with what you’ve been learning or just choose what interests you. You never know when you might discover a new topic that your kids are passionate about.
3. Take a field trip. If you need a change of pace, but don’t want to hang around the house, head out for an impromptu field trip. When my kids were young, we maintained a membership at the local children’s museum for just such occasions. It was worth every penny!
4. Assign a research project. Let your kids direct their learning for the day by tasking them with researching something – anything – that they’re interested in. The history of Legos or Minecraft, how peanut butter is made, where common idioms originated, facts about a place they’d love to visit – anything is fair game!
5. Use YouTube. There are some really educational options on YouTube. What do your kids want to learn? You can find guitar lessons or sign language videos or how to replace a cracked laptop screen or hundreds of other topics. My kids enjoy the Crash Course videos, but you may want to preview them first – especially for younger kids. Sometimes the humor is a bit crude.
(I just discovered Crash Course Kids, which looks like the same premise as Crash Course, but for the younger set. I haven’t watched any of the videos, but if you’ve got younger kids I’d say they worth checking out.)
6. Play games. There is plenty to be learned even from games that aren’t overtly educational – strategy, cooperation, character (read: not being a sore loser or an obnoxious winner). Don’t forget options such as Sudoku, word searches, and crosswords. Puzzles are a great choice, too.
7. Have a life skills day. Learning to clean house, cook, and do laundry are all valuable skills. If the clutter and chaos has you overwhelmed, don’t overlook the educational value of a life skills day.
8. Have a project day. Sometimes everyone just needs a break from bookwork. That can be a great time for a hands-on projects day. Have you gotten behind in your science experiments? Maybe a salt-dough map, period costumes, or a play would enhance your history studies. A project day can make a fantastic alternative to seatwork and can provide the mental break and physical outlet you need.
9. Do life together. Go about your day and the errands you need to run, but be aware of the educational moments in your everyday activities. Homeschoolers can be guilty of turning every moment into a teachable one, but in an effort to combat that, we can also overlook the educational value of the day-to-day. Make today one to look for those teachable moments.
What are some of your favorite ways to take a break from book work, but not from learning?