Monday, August 6, 2007

Handling Spring Fever

February and March can be tough months in our family (we live in Wisconsin). The weather's cold, but Christmas is long over and the snow has lost some of its early-winter excitement. This can be especially hard on homeschoolers who don't have the advantage of a school gym to get some of their energy out.

Here are a few things that have been helpful to us...

Making room in the basement for roller blading and "scootering" - When motivation is especially hard, I'll allow the children to put their roller blades on and trade off between a few problems of Math and a little bit of roller blading. Some of them even like to read a chapter book while slowly roller-blading back and forth. Not only does this help get some of their nervous energy out, but it's also a chance for them to prove their trust by being honest with the system.

Starting on a new special project (like a family study of geography or a particular era of history) or a reading list with an "extra credit" incentive - (This has helped us revive our lagging studies on a few occasions which tends to spread into other subjects as well.) Extra credit prizes we've used at various times include: purchasing a favorite movie, a meal or treat at a restaurant, a new book, a favorite board game, etc. Working toward an extra credit has often been a good opportunity for me to test what a particular child is capable of, thus giving me a better sense of what I can plan for in other areas of school as well.

Getting out of the house more often to break up the regular routine - These tough months of late winter and early spring also coincide with the season of Lent. Getting out of the house and attending daily Mass, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, etc. can be a very helpful break - of the very best sort - for everyone.

Adjusting the Curriculum for a fresh change - One thing has worked itself into the rhythm of our family and homeschool life is a pattern that takes place over the year. My ten year old, in particular, has worked her way ahead in some of the "textbook" subjects (like Math and Grammar) in the Fall when our momentum is strong. This has allowed me to shift directions slightly during the "doldrum" months and emphasize subjects that tend to be a little more fun and engaging for us - like History and Science.

contributed by Alicia from Wisconsin

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