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20 Alternative Ways for Sensational Homeschool Days

by Tina von Hatten

When homeschool days don’t go as planned

Let’s face it, some homeschool days just don’t go as planned. Even the best-laid plans are sometimes doomed to fail from time to time. 

Maybe a storm kept everyone awake at night, or was that the baby? Maybe something needs to be fixed and it can’t wait until the weekend? 

Maybe everyone has just worked really hard and needs a break? Maybe mom has come down with the flu and needs a day on the couch? 

Whatever the reason, the plans get ditched and an alternative day presents itself as a learning opportunity. Sometimes, we need to resist the temptation to push through the plans and let grace overcome us.

I remember when my daughter was younger and every math lesson ended in tears. I could feel the disconnect and a feeling of desperation.

I just wanted to reach her heart. Drilling more or longer wasn’t going to achieve anything. We both knew that.

Once in a while, we had to ditch the plans and just have some fun.

By nature, I am a Type A personality and like to get things done in a neat and orderly fashion.  I was raised in a very strict home and was never really aloud to do messy things and I never had a birthday party. 

I am not naturally the “fun” mom. I had to learn and am still learning to let go.

20 alternative ways to do homeschool days

  1. Watch documentaries. Our favorite documentaries are the ones with Ruth Goodman. These are family-friendly and historical by nature. They explore the life of regular farmers in different eras in Britain.
  2. Go for a nature walk. Perhaps even choose a place you haven’t explored yet. 
  3. Have a board game or video game marathon. 
  4. Spend the day reading or listening to audiobooks. 
  5. Go on a field trip. Visit a museum, a botanical garden, a beekeeper, a zoo, a farm, a theme park, or the science center.
  6. Shoot a movie. Let the kids dress up and film themselves or make Lego stop-motion animation films.
  7. Have a science day. Do experiments, watch The Magic Schoolbus or other science videos on YouTube, read Usborne science books, and visit their internet quick-links.
  8. Have a sports day. Go for a bike ride, make obstacle courses, or play at a playground.
  9. Have an arts and crafts day. Find some ideas on Pinterest or in books from the library.
  10. Spend the day at the library. Our local library has a play area and a lounge and of course, lots and lots of books.
  11. Plant a garden or if it is not the season, plan a garden. Try an online garden planner or get a large pad of graph paper and dream up your dream garden. 
  12. Have a spa day. This one is more fun if you have girls. Make your own sugar scrub, soak your feet, and don’t forget to paint nails. 
  13. Have a movie marathon. Maybe watch a trilogy or let everyone choose a favorite. Don’t forget the popcorn!
  14. Write letters. They can be addressed to real or fictional people. Doodle on the envelopes as well!
  15. Have a tea party. Bake something special, brew some tea, and even dress up – if you fancy that.
  16. Pack a picnic and go eat outdoors. If the weather is miserable or you can’t get away, have a picnic in the living room or under the dining table. Don’t forget to take pictures.
  17. Do some D-I-Y. Build something together. Our family loves building things and has used these plans to build a sandbox. 
  18. Have a “theme” day like they do in brick-and-mortar schools. It can be a “pajama day” and eat breakfast for dinner. What about having a “Mexico day” and eating tacos while learning a few words in Spanish?
  19. Get out of the house and go for a visit. How about visiting friends, relatives, or an elderly neighbor?
  20. Have a cleaning day. Clean the house, learning spaces, or playroom. We do this from time to time and the kids actually don’t mind. They like finding items that they thought were lost and they enjoy having things neat and tidy again. It can give the feeling of a fresh start.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully, it can help rescue homeschool days gone wrong. We all strive to do our best and plan for success. But from time to time, we all need a break. 

Perhaps, you have even better ideas to share. I would love to hear what you do on those days when “the plans get thrown out the window.” Leave a comment below.

Tina von Hatten

Tina von Hatten is a homeschooling mom, author, and blogger at http://underthreeacres.com. She and her husband Sascha run a small homestead with their 8 children in rural Alberta.

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