January 07, 2010

Don't forget the Sprinkles (adding fun to learning)

This post was originally written for and posted @The Homeschool Classroom.

Have you ever taken your child to the doughnut or cupcake section of a bakery and let them pick the one they wanted?
More times than not, they will choose one with SPRINKLES.

My experience tells me that sprinkles must be magic, because EVERYTHING is somehow grand and glorious when they are atop it.  I know that when I add sprinkles to those cupcakes, or to our homeschooling lessons their eyes will dance and their smiles will widen and my heart will rejoice and be thankful for those sprinkles.

What are homeschool sprinkles?

They are anything that makes a plain topic more fun, more interesting, more full of life.  Side effects are grins, giggles, renewed interest in subject matter, and increased cooperation.

Here are some of my favorite homeschooling SPRINKLES:

Music – Adding some fun music can really energize the whole family. We love to do our chores to fun upbeat music. That's just the beginning of the wonders of this SPRINKLE, there are so many educational music choices available now. For Science we can learn about fossils, seahorses, weather, the periodic table, the bones in the body and more in a few minutes of a catchy song.  For Math, there are skip counting and math facts CDs available. Learn the U.S. Presidents or the words to the Constitution to music as part of history. The opportunities for learning through music are as numerous as those sprinkles on that cupcake.

Art – Add some paint or clay to ANY subject matter, and you are nearly guaranteed happy cooperation. We used this SPRINKLE for those obscure tough Math facts.  By using scotch tape to "write" a math fact on a piece of paper, and then filling the paper with bright vivid colors, we were creating art.  As we colored, we repeated the math fact over and over again.  When we were finished we removed the tape and had a white math fact surrounded by beautiful color.

Field Trips – I absolutely LOVE books, but getting out to see the real thing is simply marvelous!  If you have the opportunity to visit some place you've encountered in a book, be sure and jump on it. Who wants to read about the changing Autumn leaves or tadpole transformation, when you can see it for yourself?  SPRINKLING  in a trip down to the creek or bike trail can be a welcome surprise on dull day.  Enjoy the fresh air together.

Audio Books – This is one of my favorite type of SPRINKLES.  It's nice to have someone else read aloud sometimes. The children can  play and listen at the same time.  My crew typically will listen to an audio book several times, but if I read aloud to them, they get it once, maybe another time down the road but not multiple times in a row, my voice just can't take it.

Friends – Announce to your children that friends are coming over for Science or History and their faces will brighten instantly. In the past we've had "Science Club", a weekly writing class and even a HAM radio class. Friends are truly appreciated SPRINKLES whatever the reason.
I must confess, sometimes I have forgotten the SPRINKLES.  Some days, my children are lucky to be getting plain cupcakes.  The next time you sit down to plan your lessons, take a minute to think about presentation and what sprinkles you will offer your children.

Have you found some delightful SPRINKLES in your homeschool routine? I invite you to share your sweets.


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