Homeschool Where to Start

To Homeschool Successfully, You Need Hands-on Activities

To homeschool successfully, you need hands-on activities!

There are many ways to travel, create, and work as part of your homeschool. You’ll find ideas and inspiration for ways to make your homeschool hands-on as a way of making homeschooling more fun but also of making it more real-life and more memorable. After all, we all tend to learn more when we’re enjoying what we’re doing!

There are two more articles in this series. We hope you enjoy them and find them helpful! To find out how books can help you homeschool successfully, click this link. And to find out how to use technology in your homeschool, click this link.

Before the last section of this article (about taking advantage of printables and hands-on activities), you’ll see an interview of our friend Colleen Kessler. In the video, Colleen gives practical information about adding hands-on activities to your homeschool regardless of the ages and grade levels of your children. She also explains how important it is to incorporate hands-on activities. It doesn’t have to be complicated! 

Before we talk about how to include lots of hands-on experiences in your homeschool, let’s talk about why it’s important.

Hands-on activities allow us to engage multiple senses in our homeschools. Why is this important?

  1. Because engaging multiple senses helps children make connections between the lessons and the child’s personal interests.
  2. It helps reach children who might not respond well to traditional lessons.
  3. It allows parents to design or adjust lessons to fit each child’s specific needs and interests.
  4. It improves the children’s retention of information.
  5. It makes homeschooling (and therefore learning) more fun!

What are the kinds of hands-on activities to consider including in our homeschools?

There are lots of hands-on activities that can be incorporated into your homeschool! These activities can meet the needs of children who learn best by experiencing:

  1. visual lessons 
  2. auditory lessons
  3. physical activities 

In the next several sections, you’ll find examples of lots of general and specific ideas for including visual, auditory, and physical activities into your homeschool. Many of these activities include two or all three of these.

Go Places!

Did you know that going places with your family, whether a trip to the grocery store or a trip across the country, is not only educational, but is also beneficial for other reasons? It’s true! There are lots of reasons why traveling with your family is a good thing.

  • Going places together–the park, the zoo, or a road trip–helps your family create memories and connect with each other.
  • The family becomes a team and works together–especially when you’re going on a trip like a mission trip or other trip where your objective is to help someone else or get some kind of job done.
  • It gives you time for fun away from your usual routine. Even if you’re exploring and learning together, it won’t seem like work.
  • Travel gives parents and children time with each other. When we’re home, there’s usually work to be done, and that can keep us from spending time together. When we travel, most of our regular responsibilities are either set aside for a while or set aside to be done at certain times each day.
  • Parents can model problem-solving and improvisation when the unexpected happens. These are not only learning experiences, but they are often character-building experiences too!
  • Travel turns the world into your classroom! It teaches our children that we are life-long learners and that we can learn no matter where we are or what we’re doing.
  • Travel can help our children understand the world in new ways and can even spark interest in new hobbies and possible career choices.
  • Going places together gives us an opportunity to allow our children to develop map skills, learn time management, develop organizational skills, and even to learn responsibility.

Create things together!

There are lots and lots of ways to create things together! You may want to do some kind of project (like a video or photo book) related to a trip you’ve taken, an experience you’ve had, or a book you’ve read. Not only is this a fun way to relive fun things you’ve done, places you’ve been, or books you’ve read, but it’s also a nice way to make that memory more concrete and longer-lasting.

Or you may want to take some time to learn a new style of art and do some art projects together. My daughter took art classes for years until her schedule got too busy to work them in. She learned about artists and different styles of art all over the world, and then she tried out new art forms and techniques. It was a fun way to learn more and then put what she learned into practice.

Even cooking is a great way to create things together! You can sneak in a math lesson as you cook, or you can study a city, country, or culture and cook something that’s related to your study. And you can even work in some home economics if you have your child clean the kitchen after the cooking and eating are done!

Learn something new together!

Or how about learning a new skill together? To be honest, I’ve wanted to learn to knit for years! I know some moms who’ve learned to knit along with their children, and now it’s something they enjoy doing together. The same could be true for any kind of skill you and your children would enjoy learning.

I have a friend who takes a couple of months every summer (when her kids aren’t doing regular school work) with her children to learn a new skill. One summer, they all learned to juggle! Another summer they took art classes. Another summer they took cooking classes and learned to make different kinds of foods from different areas of the country. You might have a skill you’ve been interested in learning that you haven’t taken the time to learn, or you might want to brainstorm something with your children. Either way, think of something new that you want to learn, and go for it!

Be active together!

Do things like swimming, gardening, hiking, riding bikes, taking nature walks, training a new puppy to do tricks, growing flowers, creating themed meals, or whatever else you can think of. Maybe you want to paint the house or strip and stain your dining room furniture. There are an infinite number of active things you can do together to not only get some exercise but also have a great time together!

Take advantage of printables and hands-on activities!

Take advantage of printable games, activities, puzzles, scavenger hunts, reading challenges, and more in order to encourage your children to love learning and spending time with each other and with you! On our sister site, Only Passionate Curiosity, we share lots of printables related to various subjects, age/grade levels, seasons, holidays, etc. Many of them can be downloaded for free! (Just put in 0.00 when you see the “pay what you can” option in the store. If you don’t see that option, simply use the code coronahelp when you check out.) Not only does using printables make learning more fun, but it also gives you an easy way of making learning more interactive. Most children learn better and enjoy learning more when they have hands-on things to do.

What kinds of hands-on activities do you like to do with your children? We would love to add your suggestions to our information here! Leave us a comment letting us know what kinds of hands-on activities you and your children enjoy doing together. 

About the author

Wendy

Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, and Love These Recipes. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 28 years ago, and they live in the South with their three children. Hannah, age 24, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 22, was the second homeschool graduate. Mary Grace, age 17, is the remaining homeschool student. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow an herb garden every summer with limited success.

About the author

Trish

Trish is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She has been married to her best friend, David, for 22 years and they have three sons (ages 19, 17 and 15). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to travel, write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!

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