Fighting Winter BLAHS with GIANT Marshmallows

Honda gets my vote for most practical, timely innovation ever: in their minivan, they recently added a built-in VACUUM that works with the car’s battery. Every mom is secretly cheering (and wondering why this took so long:).
So many things we do require mechanical and rote repetition. From memorizing multiplication tables,chemistry elements or conjugations to indenting paragraphs or following recipes, there must be repetition and sameness for success. As we teach our children to read, write, and obey, there are certain undeniable principles that must be taught over and over to ensure the lesson is learned.
However, new and innovative ideas are needed when months, weeks, and days are cold, dark, and isolating. In our never-quite-finished pursuit of training our children, there must be a modicum of unpredictability to inspire our children to grow. If we allow textbooks (or even more horrific: workbooks!) to be our only mode of disseminating information, we are simply teaching them that homeschooling is boring. It is quite the opposite–done correctly, it will be the most challenging fun you have ever had!
This past October, we hosted our church Harvest Festival which was anything but predictable. Each family was assigned a booth and had to think “outside of the box” to update some old-fashioned fun. In addition to sack races, needle in a haystack, and glow stick tag, the most fun activity was the marshmallow on a string game, where children would race to eat the gooey concoctions off long strings hanging from trees.The family in charge of this festivity had found gigantic marshmallows–as big as baseballs! Picture eager kiddoes on their tiptoes straining to get that massive white blob to stay in their mouths!
I encourage you today to step out of the ordinary hum-drumness of teaching to the text–or to the test. When your 13 year old, out of boredom, rolls his eyes ONE MORE TIME….assign him the task of researching and finding a fun activity to go along with whatever you are in the midst of teaching. Give him the responsibility of making your subject more interesting. You will be amazed at how hard your teen or pre-teen will work when the idea belongs to THEM!
If you are drowning in parts of speech or phonics confusion, stop everything (for just a bit:), and try one of these:
  • Do a short unit of nutrition, prepare a meal together, and start a food fight with the leftovers.
  • Study pioneer history and go cold turkey from all electronic devices for the weekend.
  • Look up architecture examples and sleep in a homemade wigwam overnight.
  • Do a simple economics study and pay for all your day’s purchases in pennies.
  • Do all your schoolwork in a dark closet or underneath quilts —with a flashlight.
  • Come up with your own fun idea that has your name and family’s particulars all over it!
Amidst all the repetition throughout your homeschooling this week, do something unpredictable, and you’ll find yourself laughing………becoming re-energized……..and relaxing!

Karen Costello – Family Relationships

A veteran homeschooler of 30 years, Karen has been married 37 years,has 4 children (three of whom are grown,married and have already started homeschooling their own children) and is still teaching her 16 year old. Karen has written a book, “Go Fly a Kite: Ten Surprising Strategies For  Success in Your Homeschool” which was featured in WORLD magazine.She has educated a doctor, a nurse, and an accountant, but cannot balance her own checkbook and is queasy at the sight of blood.She loves encouraging  homeschooling moms in their marriages, their child-training, and in their time management. Visit Karen’s website for her blog, homeschooling resources and parenting tips.

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