What can we do when the children’s motivation decreases and a certain sense of lethargy creeps into our home school? When no one wants to do “school” work and sighs and complaints are frequent?
Close your school books and change the pace! Here are some activity suggestions that can be implemented to break up the routine and bring new energy to our daily lives. Some may be more complicated to organize and accomplish, but others require few materials and are accessible to (almost) everyone. And don’t worry, your children will continue to progress in their learning… in other ways!
Prepare a meal together, try out a country’s national dish, cook a dessert that you’ve never tried before, or make drinks or fermented foods that are less well known, like cheong, kimchi, kombucha or sauerkraut. Why not try making homemade bread or cheese? Or make sugar candy, lollipops, or filled chocolates to give as gifts!
Choose a vegetable that you can easily grow at home, even if you don’t have a large space for cultivating (a large pot on a balcony can do the trick!) and sow tomato, bell pepper, bean, zucchini or cucumber seeds. What a pleasure it is to be able to eat food that you have grown yourself in the summer!
Visit a company or a factory
Some sorting (recycling) centers offer guided tours to help young people discover how waste and other materials are managed. Other businesses or factories, such as dairy farms, cheese factories or woodworking shops, also welcome groups. Don’t be afraid to ask!
A more complex activity, which does involve some risk, but which seems really interesting, is to make your own soap at home from oils (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil), soda (sodium hydroxide), and fragrances. You can find different soapmaking methods on the internet. A fascinating learning experience guaranteed!
Donate your time
Non-profit organizations are usually happy to get a helping hand in carrying out their mission, whether it’s regular or just a one-time help. Our homeschoolers may volunteer their time during the week to help prepare meals at a soup kitchen, babysit young children at the local Maison de la famille (organization giving support to families), or sort clothes at a thrift store. It’s a great opportunity to develop a spirit of cooperation and service.
We know the benefits of physical activity on the body, mind, and health in general, but do we actually put that knowledge into practice? (I don’t do it often enough! Ha ha!) Moving helps reduce stress, increase muscle strength, agility, and coordination, sleep better, fight depression and anxiety, and maintain a proper weight and good posture, among other things. Academic learning is also enhanced by physical activity. In the winter, we sometimes tend to become more sedentary, but engaging in physical activity can help us stay in a good mood… It’s time to break out the skates, skis, snowshoes, sled or just go for a walk while being dressed warmly!
By setting up a birdhouse near a window and placing a mixture of seeds in it, you could soon be welcoming little winged visitors, even if you live in an urban area. It is then interesting to learn how to identify the species seen and to record your observations in a notebook, in the form of “notebooking”.
Making things with your hands
Some children like to make items out of wood, cardboard or other materials. They can make a wooden rocket, a miniature airplane, a bridge out of coffee sticks, a house for miniature people figurines, a scale model of a city or a historical scene, costumes for a character, decorations out of felt, patterns on fabric using the “punch needle” technique, jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, earrings), etc. Young people who are a little more mature can take courses in pottery, blacksmithing, welding, or learn the basics of mechanics at a vehicle repair shop.
Sometimes all we need to do is give our kids an idea and some basic materials and they can find something they are passionate about. There is no limit to what young people can create, given the opportunity! By engaging in such an occupation, they develop attention to detail, creativity, problem solving, and perseverance, qualities that will serve them well throughout their lives. These will provide valuable experiences and memories for the future!