Whether you have reluctant learners, kids who get bored easily, or kids who lose focus when they don’t understand the value of your lessons, you may recognize the need for creative, innovative lessons that will engage your homeschoolers. Thinking outside the box may be easier said than done when you concentrate on concepts and learning styles and covering content with students. The good news is, once you start to get creative with your lessons, you will inspire yourself to explore new possibilities and you will be energized by your kids’ enthusiasm for learning.
Real Estate Project
One of the best ways for kids to gain a deep understanding of the concepts they learn throughout the course of a school year is to connect all of their learning in one project. It’s even better when the project has real-world applications to the kids can see the value of their learning and the ways in which it applies to real life. For example, a real estate project incorporates math, science, English, social studies, and home economics and is something homeschoolers can work on all year long as they learn various concepts and acquire new skills. It’s also a project that easily lends itself to multiple grade levels, so it’s perfect for a homeschool environment.
For example, you could begin by telling students that there is a town that is interested in drawing young families to move in and live there beyond retirement age. Your students could put their math and geometry skills to the test by designing homes, playgrounds, and other areas that would be appealing to your target audience. You would then incorporate science by guiding students through researching the weather, geography, and other characteristics of the area and explaining what would make them appealing to new home buyers. The English component would come into play when students create commercials, webcasts, and other promotions that would persuade people to move to the area.
Next, students would incorporate their social studies lessons of culture and history to discuss the zoning laws, government structures, and demographics of the area. Finally, students could plan a social function to advertise their town and invite prospective business owners and home buyers to the area. This may involve designing and executing a menu, organizing a venue and entertainment, etc. You can get as creative with this year-long real estate project as you wish, and you could build upon students’ interests as the year progresses.
Design and Grow a Garden
Kids in any grade should understand the value of planting and caring for a garden. By designing and planting their own garden, younger students will understand that farmers work hard to grow and harvest all of the food they eat, and older students will learn about government-regulated pricing and its effects on agriculture.
Of course, students will learn the science behind gardening, and they can experiment with various amounts of light, fertilizer, and growing conditions. You can extend this lesson to composting so that students can use their own compost to provide nutrients for their plants and vegetables; you can also connect the gardening lesson to literature for younger students to help them gain a better understanding of gardens as habitats. Older students can measure rainfall and record its effects on the garden, too.
Build Your Own Study Space
Students will take more responsibility for their studying and learning when they have some control over their space. If they are empowered to design and build their own study space, students will be active participants in their education and think about how they learn and study best. Some may want to design and build a desk that contains several compartments for materials because they want to be organized, and some may want a colorful study space because they are visual learners who need visual stimulation while thinking and reading. Still others may want to include a space for headphones or a speaker because they study and learn best when there is music playing.
For a truly outside-the-box lesson, take the kids’ plans off graph paper and make them a reality by purchasing the wood, corkboard, jars, and other materials they need to design a unique study space that fits their learning styles.
Homeschool provides students with more opportunities to be creative, work with their hands, and connect concepts across subjects. If you get outside the box with your lessons, your children will be more engaged and gain a deeper understanding by applying their learning to real-life situations.
Written by Guess Author, Ms. Erica Francis.
Members of ReadyJob.org, a website that introduce curriculum and activities designed for educators to help teens prepare for their first job.