In the beginning, I ran my homeschool like a traditional school. We had a classroom, a bulletin board, and I rang a little bell. My background teaching kindergarten and first grade contributed to this way of doing things. My children loved it! It was everything they were used to, except they were in the security of home and Mommy was the teacher. Over the years, much has changed as our family adapted to homeschooling. One thing I’ve learned, though, is not to compare myself to others. There are so many creative ideas out there, but I can’t and don’t want to do them all. I’d much rather read than go on a nature hike; I hate messy projects, especially those involving Elmer’s glue; and I’d rather clean my house than do any kind of craft (and when I do a “craft,” it turns out terrible!) I am a left-brained, traditional-style homeschooler, and that is ok! Below are some things I did to add my style of creativity into our school days, both when my children were little, and when they got to junior high and highschool:
Playdoh or legos at their school table when they first come in to the schoolroom (or to the kitchen table)… a little fun before academics.
Chose my own readers outside of our curriculum, such as “The Raggedy Ann Stories,” by Johnny Gruel (you must read these!). Participated in a reading program with a prize… Six Flags or Pizza Hut, or others depending on where you live. Made trips to the library a big deal, building up the anticipation before we got there.
Sang songs for Bible or listened to music while coloring. Used large picture flashcards for telling Bible stories (A Beka has beautifully-illustrated ones… get them used, as they are expensive). Had them draw their own Bible story pictures as they listened.
Taught fun chants with snapping fingers/clapping when they learned to count by 2’s, 5’s, etc.
Had my first and third graders act out the Boston Tea party, dressed in Indian costumes and using our swingset/slide platform as a ship and iced tea to dump over the side. When they got older, we had a “presidential” campaign between my junior high and highschooler, complete with video-taped speeches and political propaganda ads. (One girl video taped another’s messy room, asking her viewers if they really felt this person could run the country effectively!)
Had “story time” everyday after lunch. We would work on a chapter book, and I’d read one chapter a day. When I was tired, I would let my eldest take over. “Farmer Boy,” “Hitty: Her First Hundred Years,” and “Mama’s Bank Account” were some of our favorites. I continued this practice into the junior high/highschool years, moving the time to first thing in the morning as a motivation to get them out of bed. If they didn’t show up on time, they missed that part of the story.
Did simple art projects that didn’t frustrate me. Better yet, let my right-brained husband teach the kids art when he got home.
Let each child decorate her own school desk with whatever objects she wanted.
Let them play school in the schoolroom in the late afternoons.
Had “spirit week,” as they got older…. International day, chocolate day, and superhero day were some of my favorites! I dressed up, too!
Had “recess” everyday in our backyard, or in their bedroom if the weather was bad. Aah, a break for mom!
We do have fun and get creative! It is just organized, neat creativity (the kind my left-dominated brain can handle). I also made allowances for my right-brained children… sometimes, instead of a book report, a diorama or poster. A mini-project of the student’s choice that incorporates her spelling words. A timeline drawn on poster board for history. And we do have some science projects… my favorite being our real-life project, the vegetable garden!
Everyone is different, so from all those wonderful online sources, take the ideas you like, leave the ones you don’t, and go homeschool your children the way that works best for you!