A few days ago, I asked the kids what were the best activities in our homeschooling journey. As expected, the best and most memorable were the most fun. One of the benefits of having many, multilevel children is just having more people to enjoy the beauty and fun that comes with homeschooling. Fun and laughter are truly precious . They are worthy goals to have in your homeschooling day:)
Oh, of course our priority is to develop godly character and set a good academic foundation. However, i believe, we can ward off a lot of stress in our day if we just added that “MORE FUN in HOMESCHOOL” goal. In addition, FUN, for some reason, seems to lock the experience to our and our students’ memory very well.
For the one-child homeschooling families, the suggestion is to hook up with a playgroup or a homeschooling co-op/ support group. However, you can still have some form of one-on-one fun with young children . You just have to “think and wonder” like child and PLAY with them. For those with more than one, just think constantly of activities (projects and experiences) that can involve all your students, no matter how young. It’s all more worthwhile if they’re having fun and helping each other in the process like this joint project of store for the boys’ only sister, Raya.
So how do you plug in fun? I guess, it starts first with our mindset as teachers. We have to believe in the value of fun. We have to learn to have fun ourselves. I’ve learned about this concept of “flow” almost a decade ago in a book entitled, “Motivated Minds, Raising Children to Love Learning” by Deborah Stipel and Kathy Seal.” Let me quote:
“Learning can be so intense and enjoyable that it hurtles a student into a state that University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘flow.’ Flow is a feeling of passionate focus, a pleasurable time when work and play merge, when you concentrate deeply to overcome complex challenges.
Most people ‘remember a time, no matter how brief, when they were swept along by a sense of effortless control, clarity and concentration on an enjoyable challenge,’ explains Csikszentmihalyi.
Be on the lookout for the flow states in your child, because it’s a sure sign of intellectual enjoyment you can encourage.”
So I embraced the importance of “flow” in our homeschooling schedule. And as I witnessed one flow after another, one child after another, and experienced the fun, the joy and the added benefit of real learning taking place—I just knew that we were doing something right. The habit of thinking, “What could be a fun way (usually hands on and activities that involve movement–I have 3 boys!) to teach this concept?” became a lifestyle. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are days when learning can’t be fun due to certain subject matters or the children’s own preferences and/or moods, but more often the good FLOW days will outweigh the days when it seems like something is stuck in the drain and the “flows” are not happening. And I sincerely believe that the more FLOW days we have, the more mentally and emotionally ready, our students become for some lessons that can’t be taught through an exciting project or in a fun activity.
Paul in Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice.”