Have you ever felt stuck in a homeschool rut? Like the inspiring, joyful, exciting life you imagined is just not coming together right now and instead, things feel stale and monotonous? Are you unsure how to get your homeschool spark back?
I think we all feel this way sometimes. Maybe the kids are between interests, they don’t seem to want to do anything, or you’re just totally out of energy and ideas. Your days are feeling a bit boring, but you just aren’t sure how to change things up.
It can be hard to know what to do when you’re feeling uninspired, or how to get back on track. The good news is, I have some ideas! Here’s what I do when I’m feeling that way…
12 Ways to Get Your Homeschool Spark Back
1. Tap Into The Power of Wonder
This is really the heart of homeschooling and unschooling. Wonder. The origin of all ideas, questions, passion, motivation, curiosity, invention, and exploration. It all starts with wonder. And so, when you feel stuck, I think it’s wise to go back here. Aiming to bring more wonder into your day is the perfect place to begin if you want to get your homeschool spark back.
“Wonder isn’t some lofty ideal that we hope to impart to our children if we can. It’s the natural tendency to look at the world and want to explore it. Wonder is triggered by beauty, new discoveries, and our imaginations. Children live in a constant state of wonder. They’re always learning, exploring, and discovering new things.”Ainsley Arment
You can’t expect new ideas, interests, plans, and projects, without first starting with wonder and curiosity.
Wonder thrives in environments where there is plenty of free unstructured time, access to nature, questions are encouraged and explored together, there is variety and spontaneity, there are open-ended resources they can help themselves to, and there is freedom and autonomy but no judgement. Re-assess how things are going in these areas. Is your home/life a place where wonder can grow? What do you need to change? What do you need more/less of? This is a very good place to start.
2. Stop What You’re Doing
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do what you want. If things are not working, just stop. If you feel burnt out, if you feel in a rut, if you feel bored, if your kids are not enjoying this… stop for a while. Take a break. Do something else. When you’re at school everything feels like a race. You can’t fall behind or you’ll never catch up again! You don’t have to do that at home. You really can just take a month off and forget about homeschooling. Live your life. Find what lights you up again if you’ve gotten off track. You chose homeschooling because you wanted to do something different. So go do it!
3. Organise Your Space
Ever cleaned up your homeschool/art room and the next minute you turn around and everyone is in there starting new things, being creative, playing with things they haven’t used in months? The power of a clean-up! If things are feeling stale it’s probably time to reorganise your space. Make it look appealing, make sure the things you’ve got out align with current interests, display things in new ways, add a new art material. I swear, this has such a huge impact!
4. Visit Interesting Places
If things are feeling stale in your home, then venture out of it. Have some new experiences, visit some new places, plan some excursions. Shake things up. Ditch those days that are feeling mundane and do something new. Whether it’s simply packing some food and heading out for a picnic in nature, or visiting a museum exhibit on something you all know nothing about! Get out there. See what’s happening in your community, invite friends to join you, visit family for the day, go swimming, enjoy a bush walk. Anything! Just get out and see something new. Add some spontaneity into your life.
5. Cultivate Joy
Sometimes we get so caught up in all the ‘learning’ that ‘should’ be happening that we forget about joy. Learning should be enjoyable! What do academics matter if children are miserable? Not much in my books.
What brings you joy as a family? What do you like to do together and individually? Where can you schedule in more of that? Forget about homeschooling and focus on chasing joy for a while. You won’t regret it.
6. Use the Real World
Sometimes things get boring and homeschooling loses its shine because we become too focused on ‘education’ instead of experiences in the world. We can’t just learn about things, we have to do them! Otherwise, it’s hard to see the point and that’s not motivating for many people. Education is more than what we were led to believe. Experiences are real learning and they’re much more likely to be remembered. What are you learning that could be done in a more hands-on way? Where can you experience this learning in real life? The real world is right here for us, so use it!
7. Join Your Children in Their Interests
And… have your own interests! When people tell me their kids have ‘no interests’ one of the first things I say is just to get on with your own interests then! Imagine the pressure of someone just waiting for you to do something. Go do your own thing! Try something new, learn something, master a skill. Give your kids a model of what self-directed learning looks like. Next minute, you’ll likely have some little people joining you.
Join your children in their interests too if they like that. Sit with them while they create, ask them questions about something they’ve been researching, just be present! So much happens with a present adult.
8. Declare a ‘Yes Day’
Doing something totally unexpected is a great recipe for fun and getting your spark back. Tell your kids it’s ‘yes day’ and that you’ll be saying yes to any request (maybe with some ground rules like not spending thousands of dollars LOL). What better way to find out how they want to spend their time? Let them direct the day and where you go/what you do! Pay attention! What do they enjoy? When do you have the most fun together? How can you create this feeling on regular days?
9. Read Something Inspiring
Ok, I’m a big book fan so this is on my list, but maybe not yours. But, a good book is magic! Some of my favourite times in homeschooling my own kids are the discussions we have when reading books. I just love to hear their thoughts, their take on the world, their arguments! Grab a great book. Fiction or non-fiction. We love philosophy and history books for discussion.
10. Join Others
If you don’t have a solid homeschool community, run to the nearest one right now! Surround yourself with others who are on this journey too. There you will find inspiration and support. If there’s none near you, start one! Put this up the top of your list of priorities. These people will be friends for both you and your children and they will keep you on track! Don’t underestimate the importance of community and belonging.
11. Ask Your Kids
Homeschooling is about them, right? So, talk to them about how you’re feeling! Are you feeling stuck, bored, unsure how to support them, in a bit of a rut? Problem solve together! I bet they have great ideas! Show them you value those ideas by genuinely trying them out! What things do they want to make more time for? What are they interested in right now? What tools/support do they need? What experiences would they like to have? What do they want to do less of? Find out!
12. Add Some Sparkle
People say homeschooling seems magical. That’s because we’re making it that way! We’re enjoying ourselves, and we’re intentionally creating this magic. Add some into your day. Make things special. Learn about something and then have a celebration when you finish. Throw a party, make themed food and decorations, invite others. Start traditions like poetry teatime, set up surprise activities or outings, have dress-up days and pyjama days, explore a country by making delicious food from that region. We recently had a dinner where we tried to adhere to strict etiquette like in the time of Henry VIII. There was much giggling! There are so many things you can do to make learning come alive! Brainstorm some things you could do and then surprise your kids with them!
I hope these ideas help you! It’s totally normal to feel in a bit of a rut from time to time. But, the feeling will pass. If you need to rest, do it! If you need to stop everything for a bit and just focus on connection and fun, this is not time lost but well spent. Go for it!