10 Things to Try When You’re in a Homeschool Rut

Routine can be an important part of the homeschooling process. As important as it is, routine can become more of a rut at times. This makes learning a duty and the joy can be sucked right out (for the child and the teacher!). So if your routine has become a rut, here are 10 ideas to breathe some life into it.

10 things to try when you are stuck in a homeschool rut

1. Make It Hands-On

One great way to do this is get in the kitchen. By making a cake together, you can work on non-fiction, reading comprehension, following directions, measurement, or fractions (among other things, I’m sure). Use learning toys and manipulatives to make learning hands-on and fun.

2. Make It a Game

Games always make learning fun. I love to play sight word games with my 1st grader. Even puzzles can be made into a race! It doesn’t have to be complicated, and the rules can be created by your child.

3. Change It Up Just a Bit

Keep the worksheet…just give it a facelift! Find some way to add or subtract something to make it a bit different, like a fun pointer for reading text. After a few weeks, my son began avoiding the sight word poke page in my PreK reading curriculum. So I changed it up a bit. We’ve done several different things with it, such as: 1- tracing the word in a plastic sleeve protector and 2- sticking small stickers on the word.

4. Rotate Out Learning Toys

As a classroom teacher, I rotated out centers and manipulatives. It didn’t even occur to me to do this at home! It was Carisa’s Keepin’ it Fresh post that kicked my rear in gear. The first thing I did was take inventory of all our toys and manipulatives. I categorized them; such as building toys, educational toys (LeapFrog, Tag, etc.), puzzles/games, writing toys, etc. Each week, I picked toys from each category and rotated them into our schoolroom or playroom. You can read a little more about that and our new system here.

Becky Spence guest post pic #2

5. Get Outside the Walls

Field trips are especially important when the subject can be learned best by experiencing it. Some of the best field trips we have are in our own backyard. Even if you aren’t studying something related to the great outdoors, take a blanket outdoors and work together. Sometimes, a little fresh air does wonders for the attitude (for student and mom).

6. Go Tech-y

My first grader began to loathe spelling his sight words with magnetic letters. I downloaded the Magnetic Alphabet app for our iPad and he gladly spells his words now with no complaining! He also doesn’t share the same love I have for the BOB Books, but download a BOB Book app and what do you know? I “catch” him playing on it!

7. Tap into Their Interests

Find a way to teach your child that taps into his God-given passions and abilities. Does he like LEGOS? It’s amazing what you can learn with those little blocks! Does she like telling stories? Challenge her to write them down. Kids tend to stick with tasks longer when they are passionate about them.

8. Give Choices

I make a list of the independent morning work my son needs to accomplish. As he chooses the order of his tasks, it gives him a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Becky Spence guest post pic #3

9. Reassess Your Curriculum

Sometimes, it’s simply time to ditch the curriculum altogether. Don’t be rash. Pray about it. Talk to other homeschooling moms. Get online and chat with others. Find out what curriculum might pique the interest of your child a bit better.

10. Take a Break

When rut has set in and seems to desire permanent lodging in your homeschool routine, maybe it’s time for a break. A long weekend, perhaps. Absence can make the heart grow fonder, but it can also allow the brain time to reset. What things have you tried to freshen up your homeschool routine? Please share with us!

Becky Spence guest post profile pic Becky Spence is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings. She is passionate about teaching, specifically literacy. She is the author of This Reading Mama, where she shares reading and writing activities as well as free literacy curricula and printables. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.


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  1. This is great, and I’d love to share but it won’t let me pin it, and when I click on like for facebook, it doesn’t bring up the whole link so I can click on post or share or whatever it says.

    1. Sorry you’re having trouble, Jen! I just checked & the sharing buttons are all working for me. I’m not sure why they aren’t working on your end. I do know that you have to be logged into your various social media accounts in order for the buttons to work. I’m sorry I can’t help more than that.

  2. We felt like we were in a rut last week, so this week we doubled up on Bible, history, and science each day and dropped everything else. It has been refreshing to spend an entire week on just three subjects. To get so much done in each of these subjects feels awesome…especially when the last two mentioned are the ones to get dropped off the schedule on a particularly busy day.

  3. Lovely post Becky. I help home school our twins and love the experience. Thankfully they are in the same grade so it easy to teach them both at the same time,.

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