Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How To Make ACE Paces or Workbooks and Textbooks More Fun!

Oh the treadmill of using workbooks...everyone will tell you how terrible it is and how you'll burn the kids out...maybe.  But there are ways to make ANY textbook or workbook more fun for kids.  These are just suggestions and you certainly don't have to do all of them but at least do #1 and #2 to make life easier.

 1.   You don't have to fill out every. stinking. page.  Seriously, if the kids know it...move on.  All those pages are in there to give kids busywork to fill the day in a school setting.  You definitely don't need that when you homeschool.  You have doesn't matter what you payed for the thing it's not worth burning a kid out over it.  I give my kids the 3 test...if they can do three then move on.  If that means to the end of the workbook...fine.  If they can do the test without studying...fine.  If it means they do the (fill in the blank end of the year test) and be done...then fine.  They obviously know it if they can do THAT test without studying.

2.  They don't have to fill out all the fill-in the blanks.  really...they'll live.  Instead use Charlotte Mason's technique and have them narrate what they just read.  You can't explain what you don't know and you're sure to find out what they do know.

3.  If your kids are struggling with Math here's a couple of the problems orally if they're little and struggling with writing and see #1.   Play board games!  Seriously almost every game has math of some sort in it.  Give'em a break every 10 minutes so it breaks up the monotony.  Especially if they're boys they need to MOVE so have them race around the house (outside!) or do jumping jacks or jump on a mini trampoline.   Use a timer so they know when the break is coming OR use it to do beat the timer.  Try having them stand to do it, that way they can move their legs and jitter around.   Make sure they know their math's hard to do math when you don't know the facts so go over them at XtraMath ...or online games at Math Playground, ABCya (math bingo is a favorite here!), Sheppard Software or...realize they may not be ready for it yet and let it rest for a week or month and then come back....remember they are going at their pace.  They didn't learn to walk or talk on a schedule and math is no different.

4.  Split up the subjects through out the day OR do it in the afternoon OR evening!  Some kids (and adults) are not good at mornings so you can split the day up however YOU want because you're not doing school at home but homeschool.  If you do math before lunch and finish up with history as the read aloud at be it if it works!

5.  Add some art study in there....are they studying volcanoes??  Look up some volcano art (yes there is some!)    Let them study the art and then...get out the paints, crayons, scissors and try to create what they just saw.

6.  Make each day of the week a special study day instead of daily. (aka block studying) Monday-History, get the idea.  Then find out more about that on that day after the workbook for that day is done.  Make your read-alouds only Living History on Monday or plan a trip to a living history museum on that day or watch a history documentary.  On Tuesday blow up that only my house??? LOL  but on Tuesday due all those fun science experiments or if you can't then get the InquisiKids Discover and Do DVDs or whatever is at the library's DVDs and watch science.  You can watch science documentaries on youtube or even better, you can watch it free on Genesis Science Network!

7.  Play a certain composer during school time.  You could make it Beethoven for the entire month or just the week.   I guarantee you'll recognize his music after that time.  OR  listen to hymns.  You can find a selection of hymns on youtube that you can play in the background.

8.  Decide you'll quit at a certain time like noon.  Anything past that is homework for later for older kids or not at all.  Again it's about balance and not burning you or the kids out.  All day marathon sessions are going to kill everyones joy.

9.  Get outside!  Go to the park and do school there.  Sometimes a change of pace makes all the difference.  Since the kids aren't going to be doing every page now (right??..see #1) Let the littles run around and then settle down for a little session then let'em loose again.

10.  If you have workbooks you can have the kids make collages out of their old workbooks or make cheat sheets ( I think they're called offices) with info they have learned.

11.  Have older kids work with the younger kids.  It's amazing how it cements an idea when you have to teach it or grade it or listen and give some thoughts about it.  Besides part of being in a family is helping one another.  Even littles who can read can help with ones that can't by helping sound out letters and words or simply reading lovely books to them.  It amazes me how when a child teaches another child they do it in such a way that the younger one feels so special!

13.  Have them read their workbook and not do the fill in the blanks. Then make a notebook page about it or they could make a movie or draw a picture (if they're real young) or even act it out.

14.  If the kids are crying, someone has flushed a toy car down the toilet or you're all raging sick that isn't the time to try and get school done.  Time to pop in a book on tape, watch a documentary or science experiment and just be a family.  If you look at the schedule for a "typical" school year at public school you'll see there is about 180 days.  That's only a little over half a year.  Give yourself and the kids a break and school using technology...determined by you of course.  And if you're not big on "Glowing Screens"  than pop that book on tape in or start baking brownies...everyones happier with brownies!  Doesn't matter if it 9:30am  you can worry about nutrition at lunch..or dinner.  The point is if you design it so that you do school even half the year you're doing great and teaching them more about living life with grace and humility.

Here's a post I did a while ago about add on's  to a literature based curriculum you may find useful


  1. I love your ideas. I offer homeschool support to many HS parents and this is fantastic advice for those using traditional curriculum. Really appreciate it.

  2. Thank you for this post! I am pinning it so I can remember it is okay to relax!

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