This guest post comes from Kirsten of HATCHEDit.com, created to assist the chief executive officer of every family: MOM.
The long haul.
Winter Holiday Break may seem like the middle of the year, but in fact it’s more like the 10-mile marker in a marathon. Still ahead? 16.2 more miles…which translates to approximately 735 hours of school until summer vacation. Yikes!
My daughter always does better in the second half of the New Year when we refresh her school supplies. Crisp new folders, fresh loose leaf paper, and new pencils may sound simplistic, but it reinvigorates her to stay organized for the foreseeable future. Of course, for parents whether your children are educated in or out of the home, in diapers or reaching for that diploma, the job of educating a child is constant. And sometimes we need more than just new pencils to refocus our efforts!
1. Take advantage of new ways to teach old subjects.
Winter weather makes kitchens warm and cozy places for families to hang out, and to learn. Schedule one or two days a week and assign your children a cooking task in the kitchen. Whether it is helping you cook the main course, or overseeing the creation of a side dish, cooking offers plenty of opportunities to learn about math, science and the practical skill of creating healthy food! Have kids write out the recipe, and as they grow older you can add new tasks like doubling, tripling or halving the recipe before cooking it.
Weather exploration is another fascinating tool for teaching math. As the winter weather grows colder you can teach your child how to take the morning and afternoon temperatures. Keeping track of the temperatures and graphing them from winter into spring lets children see mathematic evidence of the warmer weather. This is also a fun exercise to do with sunrise and sunset and the lengthening of days.
2. The Well Rounded Child
Every parent strives to make sure their child is getting a well-rounded education. The beginning of the year means plenty of new opportunities through local organizations to try out arts, athletics or other extra-curricular offerings for your child. Good places to check? Local museums will have new class listings as well as dates for exhibits during the year. YMCAs and Town Halls will have information on recreational athletics through the winter months. You might check local mom's groups or homeschooling groups, or consider starting one yourself! You may even have a skill to teach a friend's children in exchange for lessons for your kids in her area of expertise.
3. Re-Connect with Community.
Homeschoolers as well as those parents who heavily supplement their children’s public/private school educations have built terrific communities through blogs and other online means. There are plenty of homeschooling bloggers who offer up terrific ideas for projects and activities. Try searching "homeschooling" on Pinterest and you'll be overwhelmed at what you find! It's nice to take those relationships from the screen to real life though, finding a good balance between online resources and real life living. Have you found that you've been able to build real relationship offline that originated online? Or do you keep those two worlds somewhat separate?
At HATCHEDit.com we hope that our free calendar and planning site will be a resource that parents and home educators find useful in teaching and building community. You can share lesson plans and activities through the calendar (set up a special lesson plan/suggested activity calendar and make it visible to your online community), track your favorite homeschool/education blogs with personalized RSS feeds, or, enjoy a place to have a dialogue with the people you know and trust through our online group chatting feature. When you come up with new uses we’d love to hear about them!