February seems to be the month where, if school is going to go off the rails, it is going to be this month. I don’t know why but this month always seems to be home for discouragement, depression and disillusionment (like the alliteration?)
I’m going to jump for a minute but I promise that I will bring it back to the above paragraph. I have been listening to Schole Sisters’ new podcast. There have been three so far–one intro and two regular podcasts–and they have already been helpful to me in taking a new look at our learning time.
The second episode was on levity; being able to keep things light even during the difficult and serious times. Homeschool moms shouldn’t be serious all of the time, they need to have a sense of humour. The second episode is on loving that which you are learning. I came away from these episodes with some ideas on how I can combat the drudgery that seems to pop up during the month of February.
Pam, from Ed Snapshots, suggested having brain breaks during a lengthy time of learning to lighten things up and wake up everyone’s brain. Having a list of things that you could do a few times during your learning sessions that would only take 5 or 10 min. or putting the activities on popsicle sticks and have the kids take turns to pick out a stick and follow that activity when it is break time.
I really liked that idea. Now that I have 3 teenagers, learning is a solemn, serious event. Gone are the days of math games, art activities, and nature walks. We have fallen into the pit of reading and writing; that is what our days seem to consist of these days. Our days need a shot in the arm; a shot of wonder, a shot of fun, a shot of bearable lightness. So I gathered the kids today (we are having a week off this week so I did need to gather them) and asked them for some ideas of things that we could do for our breaks.
This is what we came up with:
Just Dance on the Wii
jump on the trampoline
go for a mini-walk
do some karate–kick through cardboard boxes
play a game
play with clay or playdough
I will be thinking more about this list but I like what we have so far.
On the third episode of the podcast, Mystie and Brandy talk about how to love what you are learning. They talk about math games and puzzles. This conversation made me nostalgic for the years when we played math games all of the time or read living math books. Brandy was talking about the I Hate Mathematics books by Marilyn Burns and I thought that my youngest could probably still benefit from that book and from the Beast Academy books . She is having some difficulties in math so I think she would still benefit from the puzzle aspect of these books.
Listening to these podcasts helped lighten things up for me. It has been hard for me to find wonder and discovery in the high school years. I am hoping that the suggestions made in the podcasts will help spark a bit of wonder in our days. I am actually looking forward to getting back to school next year…even though it will still be February.