I creak my eyes open slowly. The profusion of chirping outside my window is as loud as it is beautiful. Early morning sunlight streams through a crack in the curtains. It is mid-May, but our year-end field trip has already come and gone, and it feels like summer. I don’t want to go to school today.
Except that we homeschool.
And I’m the teacher.
Every year, it’s the same. After a long winter—an especially long one this year—our bodies and spirits crave sunshine, and it becomes increasingly difficult to motivate my children to do school work.
It becomes increasingly difficult to motivate myself.
And yet, discipline is important.
So what do you do when your motivation slips away with the changing season?
1. Move Outdoors
Grab a picnic blanket, pack your books and move outdoors. Whether it’s a beach, a park or your own backyard, the beauty of homeschooling is that it can be done anywhere.
2. Add in Extra Nature Study
As the flowers emerge and a host of migratory birds return, consider substituting science class with extra nature study. There are so many reasons why studying nature is an important part of education. If you want to read about just a few of them, check out this post. And if you want a big list of nature study resources, you can find it here.
3. Minimize the Workload
Are your children working ahead at all? Consider easing the workload for those particular subjects. For example, my children are working on the next grade level in math so I’ve cut back on math assignments. They are still getting practice, but they are able to finish up much more quickly.
Evaluate where you’re at and see if there are any subjects that can be temporarily pared down.
4. Read More
Summer is for reading loads of beautiful, glorious books. Books that are educational and books that are fun. (Books that can be read in the backyard, at the park, at the beach, etc.) Although it’s not quite summer yet, spending more time on literature is a great way to sneak in some extra learning.
Here are a few summer reading programs to provide incentive:
- Pam Barnhill’s Enchanted Journey Summer Reading Program
- Simple Homeschool’s Read the World Summer Book Club (beginning June 4th)
- Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge (open to the U.S. only)
- Modern Parents Messy Kids’ free printable Summer Reading Scavenger Hunt
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
5. Go on Field Trips
One of the best (guilt-free) ways to enjoy the warm weather is to take advantage of outdoor learning opportunities such as zoos, aviaries, informative boat cruises, farm tours, etc. If you live in Ontario, this is also the time of year for Doors Open, a weekend-long event in which cultural sites open their doors to the public—for free.
Homeschoolers, we still have a few more weeks before we have to share our favourite places with all the school kids for the summer. Take advantage of these quiet learning opportunities while you can!
How do you stay motivated when the weather warms up? I’d love to hear your ideas! Feel free to share in the comment section below.