Mind Stretches For the Homeschooler

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pencilsjpgIt's that time of year again, the start of a new school year. Newly sharpened pencils, books yet to be cracked open, and binders waiting to be filled, are all ready and waiting for students to return to learning. The beginning of a new school marks a new chapter in a child's life, along with new experiences and new things to learn.

As homeschoolers, we too have that same anticipation and excitement about the new school year. Yet even with that desire to learn, I've found that it is often hard for my children to get their brain going in the mornings. Their mind is still foggy from sleep and they just can't seem to jump right into spelling, math or language arts. Just as an athlete needs to stretch before a workout, children need to stretch the muscles in their brain at the beginning of a school day.

We call it our morning work. At the start of each school day we do a fun activity designed to get my children's mind stretched and moving for the day. To make it more fun, we've given each day a name:

1. Mysterious Monday: On Mondays, we begin the day by reading a short mystery story and then we try to figure out the solution to the story. Enclyopedia Brown is one example of a book with mini mysteries but there are many others out there. It only takes a few minutes to read but it's a fun and challenging way to begin the day.

2. Train Your Brain Tuesdays: We have a few workbooks with brief brain building exercises that we use including analogies, logic riddles, challenging mazes and word winks.

3. Weird Word of the Week Wednesday: On Wednesday's we learn a new word. I often select ones that they've never heard before, that is challenging to spell, and even ones that just sound strange.   They first try to guess what the word means. Then I tell them its meaning and they write it down on a worksheet along with synonyms, antonyms, and a sentence using the word. They also draw a picture describing the word. Later in the day, we use the word to see if my husband can figure out its meaning.

4. Take Your Pick Thursday: On this day, they select whatever morning work they want to do: read a fun poem, research what happened this day in history, do a quick Sudoku game, etc.

5. Find it Friday: On this day we do a geography challenge. National Geographic Kids has a daily geography quiz online. My kids also like when I give them map coordinates in longitude and latitude to locate country on the map.

If you are a homeschooler, do you have any fun ways you like to start the day?

Blessings,

Christina

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Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny S. Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at To Show Them Jesus and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ToShowThemJesus