The birds started singing early this year, and my whole household went loopy. Along with growth spurts and colds, the early arrival of spring has made for a tough teaching environment. The appearance of sunnier, warmer days makes me want to buckle down and sprint toward the finish; not so for my children, who begin to beg off on assignments.
I can be a bit of a taskmaster and lose sight of my long-range goal in lieu of short-term markers. This is when I have to indulge in the distant memories of my own childhood and remember the dizziness of spring fever and some of my favorite remedies.
Here are some of the ideas we use to survive spring fever:
- Do as many HANDS-ON-LEARNING experiences as you can. This takes less creativity with younger children. As they get older, it gets a little trickier. This year’s winner so far is forming chemical compounds out of marshmallows and toothpicks and then eating most of the result.
- MOVE OUTDOORS. Many of my best school memories involve a wise teacher who saw the spring day and told us to all grab our books and head outside for class. Sitting on coats, jackets, and blankets and going over a grammar lesson in the fresh air nurtured learning in a whole new way.
- FOCUS ON ESSENTIALS. This is the time to see if any lessons can be skipped or if you are ahead in any subjects. When temperatures soared into the 60s and we had three sunny days in a row this February, I opted to skip a week of foreign language and use that time enjoying the weather.
- SWITCH UP THE SCHEDULE. Sometimes it helps just to move things around. Move the after-lunch subject to first thing in the morning and keep everyone on their toes. It is a scientific fact that motion creates energy, right? I test and re-test this theory, but this spring I noticed my early bird needed to get her math done before the rest of us even started school so she had time to daydream a little later.
- PLAN A FIELD TRIP. Work with other moms or your co-op/ homeschooling group to take a field trip. A trip to a fire station, a dairy farm, a recycling plant, or a butterfly exhibit can refocus and bring energy to your learning plan and stimulate new interests. Check out Vicki Bentley’s Field Trips 101 for ideas and planning tips.
- HAVE A SCAVENGER HUNT. Hand out clues when a subject is finished for the day or at the completion of a chore. Prizes can be new school supplies, a treasured snack, a jar of nail polish, or an ice cream date with Dad. There is nothing like unexpected rewards to put life back into your workday (a latte for Mom is a good idea too!).
The best thing about spring?! Summer is around the bend. In our house, we are starting a countdown to the end of the school year. That’s something to celebrate!
Photo Credit: First image Graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images courtesy of Rachelle Reitz.