If you’ve homeschooled for more than a couple of years – we’re starting our 10th year in July – and have more than one child, you may find yourself struggling with keeping things fresh (for you) over the years.
I mean, the American Revolution may be new information to your elementary-aged child, but you could probably teach it in your sleep after having already covered it with your middle and high school students.
The same can be said for almost any topic and subject that you teach, so how do you keep things fresh for you, so that you’re fully engaged in the subject and enjoying learning alongside your kids?
Change up things you don’t absolutely love.
Homeschool parents, as a rule, are a pretty frugal lot. We like to buy something for kid #1 and, if it works, use it for all subsequent children.
While this can be a good idea for something that you really love, it may not always be the best idea for a few reasons:
1. Not all children learn the same. Just because it worked great for one child, doesn’t mean it will work great for all of your children. It’s fine to save things and reuse them, but be willing to let go of things that clearly aren’t a good fit or with which you’re obviously bored as long as you can find a comparable option.
2. Newer editions may offer upgrades and improvements. As an example, we bought Teaching Textbooks Algebra I before it offered the technology to automatically grade student work. You’d better believe I’ll be buying the newer edition for my younger kids when they’re ready for it.
3. It may put you in a deep, boring rut. Using the same thing over and over, unless you just really love it, may become boring and tedious for you as the teaching parent. It may be worth the added expense to keep your enthusiasm for the subject matter strong. Often your attitude toward schoolwork is contagious and who needs kids catching boredom?
Hang on to the tried-and-true, but be willing to switch things up with your other pieces of curriculum.
Read new books.
Unless there was a read-aloud that was a particular favorite for you and your older child, explore some new books that cover the same topics. You might discover some new favorites. I’ve kind of missed Johnny Tremain as we’ve studied the American Revolution this go around. Brianna and I really enjoyed it.
However, I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read with Josh and Megan, too. And, who knows? I may assign Johnny Tremain as a silent reading book when Josh and Megan are older.
Try new projects.
Our paper mache Earth was probably the best project we’ve ever done – but I didn’t try to do it again with Josh and Megan. It was fun, but I wanted to do other things with them when we learned about Earth’s layers. Besides, they helped a bit with the original, so they weren’t complaining about not making their own model.
Now, volcanoes? Everybody has done their own erupting volcano…more than once. That’s a fun, simple project for all ages.
Balance is the key. If there was a project that everyone loved, do it. However, it’s okay if all your kids don’t have the exact same experience in your homeschool. (Click to tweet) There’s so much to explore. Don’t get bogged down in only going one direction.
Go on different field trips.
Okay, some field trips you have to do again for your upcoming “little kids,” like the fire department, but can get boring going to the same old places. I remember when I was a kid, our Brownie troop toured McDonald’s. It was the coolest thing ever!
Then our school group went. Then another group. It wasn’t so fun by that last time.
If you’re considering a repeat trip that will be beneficial to your kids, then, by all means, go. If you’re just going to check off a box, though, skip it and find an alternative.
As you plan your upcoming school year remember that if you’re bored, it’s likely your kids will be, too. Just a few simple changes can keep the learning experience fresh and exciting for everyone.
If you’ve been homeschooling a while, what tips would you add for keeping things fresh?