This week’s focus is ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Since this is the last of four posts, I thought I would offer a collection of some of the best memories I have of my many years of homeschooling. This is a bit of a potpourri of suggestions and ideas. Most of these activities are best suited for the elementary and middle school years.
Favorite Resource Books
For many of you homeschooling may end with the conclusion of this school year. However, for some, you may decide to continue on and would enjoy having a book of endless ideas for all subjects. That book would be the Konos curriculum. The books can be a bit overwhelming due to their size, but they are full of ideas to integrate character traits and activities into a wide variety of subjects. It is not a day-to-day curriculum, but instead a vast variety of fun activities to build into what you and your students are learning. I highly recommend them.
A curriculum that we used for teaching history in a fun and creative way was Greenleaf Press.
One of my favorite memories using this curriculum was our study of Ancient Egypt. The summer before we began this study in the Fall, my husband and I buried some “treasure” in our pasture. We made a map for ourselves so that we would know what we had buried and where. Then we taught all the lessons about Egypt throughout the school year and ended it all the following Spring with an archeological dig in our pasture! Each child had to decode the hieroglyphics on the map, take their shovels, and proceed to dig up the buried treasure. It was so fun, and a very fond memory even now!
Another idea that would potentially create a memory to last a lifetime would be to have a Living History Day. This would work even now in our time of quarantine. In our home, we invited an older neighbor over for a light lunch and a time of story telling of his childhood. This would also work with an older family member. We thought it would be a fun hour learning about his childhood. It turned into a 3-hour exciting historical trip through his life in the Nazi Youth camps in Germany. We learned about his family and how he ended up in America. It was riveting and all the children were captivated. My only regret was that I didn’t tape it. This was a fine example of not knowing the value of the moment. Who knew this would become a memory that none of us will ever forget!
Math Lessons in a “Fun Way”
My last 2 suggestions relate to our way of encouraging the behavior we wanted, while curbing the behavior we didn’t. For many years the girls had a Chip System. They each had 3 jars that would hold 3 different colored chips. They had to “earn” the chips to be able to “spend “ them. To earn a red chip they had to read for 30 min. Then they could spend 1 red chip to watch 1 TV program. The blue chips were earned by exercise/movement. Every 20 minutes of exercise earned 1 chip and could be spent for 30 minutes of fun computer time. Finally, a white chip was earned each week for completing their chores. If a friend invited them over for the weekend, they had to have a white chip in their jar before we would let them go. This system made life simpler for all of us.
The final suggestion is to have a reward system for catching the children doing something good. This kept me always looking for the best behavior and stopping to notice it. I gave a sticker every time I caught great attitudes or behavior and when they got 10 stickers they could go to the prize box and choose something. We did this for years so the items in the box changed as I wanted them to be motivated to get the stickers. It kept us all focused on what was good.
I hope these fond memories of mine spark ideas for you and your family to create something special in this unique time in history!
Our very own Georgeanne at nuHealth is a master Home Schooler due to her home-schooling 4 daughters, yes, that’s 4! She’s homeschooled for 10+ years, creating curriculum, leading co-ops, as well as spending some time teaching at a private Christian school. She loves designing content and finding ways to creatively include important facts into what she’s teaching, while using methods that interest the children she works with.