We are so happy it is finally here, and it seems that all of nature is also. The birds awaken me with happy songs, our chickens are laying eggs like crazy, and right now, I hope that the boys really like quiche because they’ll be eating it a lot. Eggs are a summer staple around here!
It’s geocaching season for us again also; we don’t do as much over the winter months because we find ourselves busy with schoolwork and other projects, but we do some. During the spring and summer, we are out almost daily hunting down the latest geocache, and I think it’s time we bought a few trackables to send on missions for us. For those who wonder what that means, it is an item with a barcode on the back. Each item is logged into the worldwide geocache system so when someone finds it, they are supposed to log that visit and move it to a new location. In a way, this is the geocaching world’s version of a Flat Stanley. We love adventure, and geocaching is an adventure in itself.
For us, Spring’s arrival means the chance to sit outside in camp chairs with our books, to take our work on a bike ride around the local park, or wander around with cameras taking pictures of the local flora and fauna. We also take little breaks to do something different with our studies. The next few weeks will be interesting. Our twins have amazing, creative ideas for books, so it was only logical to use this activity as Art and English instruction. They can write and illustrate the books they are writing, while I teach them how to use Photoshop to edit and color their drawings after they’re scanned. Spring for us becomes a time where we use multiple disciplines to combine seemingly unrelated subjects. We continue our “normal” studies, but they move a little more slowly right now.
Here are a few ideas that you might like to try adding to your homeschool whenever you need a break from the routine, these have saved us from insanity many times.
For the dreamers, encourage them to dream. Then write those dreams down so they can bring them to life in some way. One of the twins has a random idea about every five seconds. I got tired of stopping the workflow to hear his crazy idea, so I had my husband purchase sketchbooks for the boys so that they could write things down as they thought of it so they don’t forget. I cannot tell you how many times this has saved our sanity, and now they both have books full of ideas.
For the doers, encourage them to do something new.
If they love touching and handling things, then make sure there is clay handy. Instead of letting them just mold it into an unrecognizable mass of colors that blend together, encourage them to create a new creature from it. We like the clay that never dries out. You can sometimes find it at the local dollar store, but craft stores also carry it. You could also try Sculpey. It’s a polymer clay that stays soft until you bake it. Try buying a few colors and let your kids go to town. When they’re happy with their designs, bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 275 degrees.
Both of these ideas help blur the line between dreaming and doing. Many people are dreamers, but they never quite get around to doing. Many people are doers, but aren’t as comfortable dreaming. Teaching kids that it’s possible to do both (even if it isn’t their strong suit) makes them more confident and willing to take on challenges.
For kids who do not think themselves creative, try something like calligraphy or music. I never thought I was creative until I found music and calligraphy, and I know many other people who feel the same way. Both activities use the brain in creative ways and use both hemispheres of the brain. I found that creativity doesn’t always have to mean being an artist, making beautiful works of art, but that it means to apply old ideas in new ways to come up with new or improved solutions.
The best experiences often don’t come from books, however much we love them, but instead from trying something new and unexpected. Whether or not it works is irrelevant in the larger scheme of things, because the courage to try and to fail doesn’t come from a book, but from life.
I can’t think of a better time of year to try something new than Spring, what are you doing that’s new?