Do you ever want to just step outside ‘the box’ of traditional homeschooling? Perhaps you already do and often. Over the years of my career as a homeschool mama I have learned to be more relaxed in the way that I approach our homeschool and learning. Here are just 9 activities that don’t quite fit the traditional model of home education. Embrace what’s different, and have fun!
9 Non-Traditional Learning Activities for Any Homeschool
Write a letter to Lego (or another favorite company). Both of my sons have done this several times over the years. They have written to the company to ask questions about products, suggest product ideas, request that a retired character be brought back, and to ask that a Lego store be brought to our current city. When my eldest son first began writing his letters, I cautioned him that he may not receive a response and that, if he did, it would likely take 4 to 6 weeks time. I was quite surprised when he did receive a response and within about 2 weeks of sending his letter! Lego sent a formal response on really nice company letterhead. My son is now 17 and still has that letter (as well as subsequent ones) in a box in his room. It’s a special keepsake, and I believe has been a wonderful learning tool for helping him to realize that he has a voice and can use it!
Interesting side note: The response to the letter that my son wrote requesting that a Lego store be brought to our town gained an even higher ‘special’ status when the local mall did, indeed, become host for a Lego store. Your children can be a part of making things happen!
Call the White House and ask a question about a current political issue. I got this idea from Bob Goff, whom I recently heard speak briefly about loving extravagantly and his book, Love Does, via video. He talked about how he had allowed his children to do things like call the White House, just to make them feel better. Isn’t that great? Who thinks like that?! I know I haven’t until more recent years. Calling to ask a question about political issues simply adds a bit of extra to the call. I think it will help your kids to gain a better understanding of the political side of things, as well as help them to gain a sense of the importance of being involved in our government.
Watch a favorite video on YouTube. My older kids enjoy this option. They watch things like Blimey Cow and other clean but funny videos. Often these videos are also informative about homeschool or political issues. If nothing else they are good to get the whole family laughing together!
Watch favorite shows, movies, and documentaries on Netflix. Often my youngest two girls watch cartoons on Netlflix. Some of their favorites are Wild Kratts and Curious George. My husband and I access movies and documentaries, and sometimes we watch with our older kids too. We recently watched Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, both shows that are full of information about our nations food supply. They definitely got us thinking! We have also watched history shows and other interesting entertainment, such as Good Eats and Mythbusters.
Take your child shopping for a sibling’s birthday gift or simply take him grocery shopping with you. A shopping trip for your child to purchase a gift for a sibling or friend will require them to think about how much money they have and whether or not they can afford the item they would like to purchase. This gives them the opportunity to learn about budgeting, and they may even need to put an item back on the shelf and opt for a less expensive item, something that most of us have had to do a few times ourselves! If it is a grocery shopping trip, your child can get involved in planning the menu, making the list, finding the items in the grocery store, scanning sales flyers for deals, collecting coupons, and helping you to stay within your budgeted amount for the week.
Encourage your children to give homemade gifts for holidays and birthdays of friends and family members. Homemade gifts are often a less expensive option. They require a little planning and your child will need to invest time into making the item. These kinds of gifts are often made more special since they are homemade, too. The planning, finding materials, and actual making of the gift help your child to learn about being organized with his time, resources, and talent.
Track the weather online and by watching your own back yard. No matter where you live you will have an opportunity to check in on your weather from time to time. Whether your area is expecting snow, rain, a heat wave, or tornadic weather, you can go online to a site such as Weather.com and learn when the forecast says this specific weather will arrive, how much precipitation to expect, how long it will last, and what preparedness action residents should take. You may also be able to observe your neighborhood to learn when the weather event is about to arrive. Is the wind picking up? Do you see snow flurries? How does it feel out there? What do you hear? All of these will help your child to make their own guess about what is happening weather-wise, and it will be fun for both of you to compare their results to your local news source.
Watch or listen to this week’s church message. This one is fairly simple. Many churches offer cd’s for free or for a small fee that you can listen to later at home. Others offer podcasts online that enable you to log on to the Internet at home at your convenience and watch at any time. I have found this is a great way to bring the points home from the weekend’s message. You can easily pause and journal, talk about what you are learning, and look up passages from scripture, throughout the message. You also have the opportunity to watch just a few minutes each day since you have access any time. Listening to the message together helps your entire family to be on the same page and learn together from God’s word.
Scour Pinterest for recipes for foods from an interesting country, then learn about the country and taste-test some of its traditional meals. If you are familiar with Pinterest at all then you know the kinds of recipes you can find there. The handy search bar is a great tool to use when you’re looking for something specific. In fact, I probably use Pinterest to search for things more often than I do Google these days. Simply type ‘Singapore cuisine’, or whatever other country you would like to learn about, and you’ll find many recipes from which to choose. To find information about the country itself, or resources to use with your kids, you could type in Singapore lap book, Singapore notebook, Singapore printables, etc. I don’t think you’ll lack for resources!
I recently learned about another really fun option for learning about countries and trying authentic foods. Kitchen Table Passport offers 3 ways to subscribe to their service through which your family will receive a box each month which includes information about a specific country and a recipe to try together. Visit the link to learn more about the program, its costs, and what types of items you can expect to find in each box.
Interested in some great resources for non-traditional learning? Try these!
Do you have some great ideas for non-traditional ways to learn? Please share them in the comments. I would love to add them to my list!