Do you have it yet? That illness that strikes all children as soon as the weather gets warm and the trees start budding? That's right... spring fever! It's the malady that causes you to wake up in the morning with absolutely, positively no desire whatsoever to do anything other than get outside. It often closely occurs in conjunction with the urgent wish to neglect homeschooling in the pursuit of anything involving warm breezes and sunshine. Let's face it, if you don’t feel like sitting inside at the table working on academics, your kids certainly won’t!
Fortunately, spring fever is something that can be easily cured by giving in to it rather than fighting it. Everybody wants to be outside, so go outside! The beauty of homeschooling is that "work" can be done anywhere – and there are no rules that say math has to be done at the dining room table. When the weather is gorgeous, indulge in the opportunity to get out of the house, and before you know it, your homeschooling mojo will return. Here are some quick cures for Spring Fever:
- Take a picnic blanket outside in the yard and do academic work in the sunshine.
- Read literature to children as they swing on the swingset.
- Do a unit on botany and have children plant flowers or shrubs while emphasizing the life cycle of plants.
- Have children create a nature journal or notebook by choosing a tree, flower, insect, or other element of nature, drawing that element, and then labeling its parts.
- Grill out for lunch, teaching children about how to use the grill, and letting them create the menu for the meal (and help prepare it).
- Get a book from the library on fort building, and let kids build their own fort either in the yard or in nearby woods. Consider A Kids’ Guide to Building Forts (affiliate link).
- Go to a local park, and bring geography puzzles, Math manipulatives, educational games or any of those other “fun” homeschooling resources you have stuck in the back of the closet. Spend a homeschool day doing those fun activities out in the sun.
- Play a game of baseball and use it to teach things like time (length of innings), measuring (length of bat, weight of ball/glove), Math (percentages of balls hit), physics (the speed, trajectory and flight of the ball), etc.
- Visit a local farm (or family) that raises chickens. Learn about the process of egg fertilization, and how eggs are gathered to be used as food.
- Plant a garden. Learn about the types of plants best planted in Spring, and watch the process of plant growth over time. Let children water, fertilize, and harvest the crop. Consider the resources and ideas for making gardening educational at PBS Learning Media's "Think Garden".
- Visit a local botanical garden or arboretum and take a tour. Learn about the different plants and flowers in the area.
- Make a pinecone bird feeder (see video below) and then watch which birds come to eat it.
- Learn about strawberries and then visit a strawberry farm. Pick strawberries and have each child choose a strawberry-themed recipe to make with the strawberries obtained!
Most of all, when spring fever hits, have fun! Enjoy the great outdoors and take advantage of the flexibility homeschooling provides to revel in the beauty of the season rather than fight the urge to indulge in it. You and your kids will be happier, and learning will be all the more enjoyable. Happy Spring!