Preview: Want your children to look forward to school time? Learn how you can spice up your homeschool lessons without overwhelming your schedule.
Most homeschool parents know they should teach more than just the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) if they want their children to enjoy their homeschool experience.
But it can be overwhelming to figure out how to fit it all in!
There are only so many hours in the homeschool day, and once you cover the basics, there’s very little time left.
In this post, you’ll learn 7 simple ways you can spice up your homeschool lessons and make learning fun. Plus, you’ll find practical suggestions for how you can incorporate 11 supplemental subjects into your homeschool routine without overwhelming your schedule.
What are enrichment or supplemental subjects?
We should probably begin with a definition. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “enrich” as:
- To make rich or richer, especially by adding or increasing some desirable quality, attribute, or ingredient.
- To add beauty to.
Homeschool enrichment subjects are those that bring delight, joy, and beauty to your child’s educational experience.
They go beyond the “basics” (reading, writing, math, history, science, etc.)
In addition to the basics, we also include the following enrichment subjects in our home education plans.
- Music lessons
- Nature study
- Composer study
- Hymn study
- Picture study
You might be overwhelmed looking at this list, but hang with me. I’ll share 7 simple ways we spice up our homeschool lessons with these subjects. They don’t have to be time-consuming or overwhelming!
How homeschool enrichment subjects spice up your homeschool lessons.
Enrichment subjects, such as those listed above, can breathe life into your homeschool lessons by
- Breaking up routine lessons with interesting and varied experiences.
- Exposing your children to a wider perspective.
- Allowing your children to connect with authors and composers through poetry, book, and music.
- Helping your children develop practical skills they can use for years to come.
- Exposing your children to living ideas, which provide nourishment for the soul.
Does your child not enjoy his homeschool lessons? Or, do you have difficulty motivating him to learn? In episode 83 of the All in a Homeschool Day podcast, you can learn four ways you can help your child enjoy homeschool lessons more.
7 ways to incorporate supplemental subjects without overwhelming your schedule.
There are many ways you can incorporate supplemental or enrichment subjects into your homeschool lessons without overwhelming your schedule.
The key is to remember that there is no one right way to homeschool!
We’ve used all of the following suggestions at different times and with different subjects. You can mix and match these or do something completely different that works for your family.
1. Rotate through a list as you have time.
Make a list of subjects you want to include in your homeschool lessons but never seem to get to. When you have time, work through this list.
- Complete the first subject or activity.
- Then place a checkmark next to the item.
- The next time, complete the next unchecked subject.
After checking off the last item on the list, start over at the beginning. You might only complete one subject each time, or you might have time for several.
This is a good strategy to use when you:
- Finish school early.
- Need an activity for a rainy afternoon.
- Want to take a day off of school but still want to do something educational.
Pro tip: Gather all necessary supplies, books, music, etc., so you don’t have to scramble when you have a few minutes for homeschool enrichment.
2. Chose one day to be your enrichment day.
One year, I scheduled most of our enrichment subjects for Friday and called it “Fine Arts Friday.” After working hard all week, we had something delightful to look forward to on Fridays. My children still learned a lot, but it was more laid back and fun than the rest of their lessons.
3. Do it with friends.
Homeschool enrichment subjects are even more fun when done with friends. The possibilities are endless! You could formalize your plans or keep it simple.
4. Focus on one enrichment subject per term.
If you want to add enrichment subjects to your schedule but feel overwhelmed, try focusing on one subject per term. (Remember, you can always add more later!)
Sometimes, we’ve focused on enrichment subjects in December or during the summer. Other times, we’ve used the first month of school to ease into the new year by covering enrichment subjects plus math and reading.
5. Schedule special focus weeks.
If you know you’ll have a week you cannot complete regular lessons, schedule a special focus week. During the special focus week, you could work through the list of subjects, such as in tip #1. Or, you could choose one or two subjects on which to focus.
Examples of when we’ve used this strategy include:
- When we are preparing for or returning from a trip. (Learn how to homeschool with traveling.)
- Instead of taking a whole week off during the school year, I scheduled a lighter week with enrichment subjects.
- Weeks grandparents are visiting.
6. Include supplemental subjects in family time.
Until my oldest daughter began high school, we spent thirty minutes to an hour every day completing family subjects. (You can continue to have family subjects during high school! We choose not to have regular family learning.)
Each morning at breakfast, we watched a student news program and read a poem. During lunch, we completed another supplemental subject, such as composer study or picture study.
You could spread family learning time out or concentrate it during one session. One difficulty of spreading the subjects out is pulling everyone back together once they begin working independently. We found it helpful to tie this family time to an established routine such as breakfast, at the beginning of lessons, during lunch, right after lunch, or before bedtime.
7. Have a special time for enrichment activities.
Creating a special time for enrichment activities makes them more fun. You might consider one of the following ideas.
- Poetry tea time (or a special drink such as a milk steamer, milkshake, rootbeer float, etc.)
- Pancakes or doughnuts for a “Breakfast with the Bard” (William Shakespeare)
- Nature Study picnic
You could cover any of the subjects listed above during your special time. And you could do anything you and your family enjoy. Mix it up and do what excites you and your children. Your children will look forward to these special events.
Schedule the special times so that they fit into your schedule. You could do it weekly, twice a month, monthly, quarterly, or any other frequency that works for you. The key is to schedule it! If you don’t schedule it, you’ll forget, and it probably won’t happen.
Practical suggestions to spice up your homeschool lessons.
Not sure what to do for supplemental subjects? I’ve got you covered! In the homeschool enrichment mini-series for the All in a Homeschool Day podcast, I spoke with veteran homeschoolers and bloggers who provided practical tips and suggestions on how you can spice up your homeschool lessons without feeling overwhelmed.
How to Add Enchantment to Your Homeschool with Dachelle McVey
Are you looking for a way to bring joy back to your homeschool? I love how Dachelle finds her joy by adding a little enchantment to their homeschool routine. And she does it in a way that the whole family enjoys and doesn’t overwhelm their schedule. As she said, “Enchantment does not happen every day. It is rare. It’s a little surprise of happiness and brings you joy.” Listen in to learn more!
How To Add Literature To Your Homeschool With Dachelle McVey
Adding literature to your homeschool can be quite a balancing act. Some children are reluctant readers while others love to read but only want to read books of their choosing. Regardless of whether your child is a bookworm or a reluctant reader, you can add more literature to your homeschool, (re)capture the joy of reading, and spice up literary studies in your homeschool. Find out more in this episode.
How To Add Music To Your Homeschool With Melissa Kamm
Adding music to your homeschool can be intimidating if you do not have a background in music. But it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming! I love all the practical tips Melissa Kamm provides to help us find simple and fun ways to enjoy music regardless of our musical background.
How To Add Poetry And Recitation To Your Homeschool With Crystin Morris
Do you have a subject in your homeschool your children vie to read out loud to the family? I didn’t think it would happen in our homeschool, but it did! My children love to read our poetry reading for the day. They take turns reading, and I rarely get to read it anymore.
Poetry in our homeschool does not look anything like what I imagined. When I first heard about adding poetry to our homeschool, I had flashbacks to high school when I had to analyze poetry and read difficult passages that I did not like. I had no idea it could be so enjoyable!
Are you afraid to add poetry to your homeschool because you’ve had the same flashbacks? You don’t have to be afraid! It can be fun and enjoyable for the whole family. Join Crystin Morris and me as we share what poetry looks like in our homeschools. This episode is full of practical tips about how you can add poetry and recitation to your homeschool in as little as five minutes a day!
How To Add Art And Handicrafts To Your Homeschool With Tricia Hodges
Children were wired to create! We only need to provide our children space, tools, and freedom to express their creativity. These practical suggestions will help you let go of preconceived notions of what art lessons should be so you can allow your child’s inner artist to shine through. Start enriching your homeschool by adding art in these simple and fun ways.
How To Add Nature Study To Your Homeschool With Cindy West
I’ll be the first to admit that I am often the limiting factor in us actually doing nature study. It is one of the first subjects I cut when we get busy. And if it’s cold, hot, windy, buggy… Well, you get the idea. But I know how valuable nature study is for my children, so I made it a priority when they were little.
The past couple of years, we have not studied nature as consistently because our schedule has gotten busier, and my children’s other subjects have consumed more of our day. But after my interview with Cindy West, I am convinced I need to add nature study back into our homeschool. And even though I know we should get outside to study nature, I am excited that we now have another option to learn about nature via live classes.
If you are hesitant to add nature study to your homeschool because you don’t know what to study or don’t want to get outside, this episode is packed with helpful suggestions and ideas for the brand new nature study newbie.
If you are a nature study veteran, there are tips for you too!
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