Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finding the Fun in May

The month of May brings with it the anticipation of the coming summer break for many homeschooled children (and if we admit it, the teaching parent too)! It makes focusing on schoolwork difficult. Outside, the birds are singing, new leaves are rustling with spring breezes, the ice cream truck is playing its merry tune, and it seems as if all God’s creation is celebrating new life. Who can ignore the celebration and stay indoors? Yet, we have work to do. We have chapters yet to cover, projects yet to complete.  And think about this: why do we have to stay indoors studying during the optimal weather of spring and take a break during the sweltering heat of summer??? (I’m speaking as one who lives in the sunny South.) Does that make sense to you?

This May, if you haven’t elected to take an extended spring break, incorporate the beautiful outdoors into your lessons.  Find reasons to be outside! Language arts could involve writing descriptions of the flora and fauna. Art could focus on drawing it! Math could be as simple as counting and multiplying things and could also include skip counting while jumping rope or tossing a ball back and forth. History could include local history and a walking tour of a local town or city. Science could include some fun experiments; for example, blow some bubbles! How long do they last before popping? Does the time of day affect the popping time? Does the outdoor temperature? Sunny day versus cloudy? Dry versus humid? You or your student(s) might create a chart for logging your findings. There are plenty of ways to include outdoor time with your home education. Be creative!

May 1 is May Day and is celebrated in some areas by leaving May baskets filled with sweets and flowers on the neighbors’ doorsteps.  You might find a way to incorporate community service into your May Day.

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday that celebrates a small army’s victory over the larger French army back in 1862. Americans see the holiday as a great excuse to eating their favorite Mexican foods! Your homeschool could focus on the Hispanic culture, Mexican dishes, and Mexican soft drinks. Most grocery stores have an international section that has everything you need! Your family could sample unusual soft drink flavors such as tamarind, guava, and pineapple. Perhaps you could make a papier mache piñata and fill it with candies and trinkets for a little family fun.

May 8 is Mothers Day. Part of training your children up is to train them to honor their parents. What form that honor takes is up to you. Will they create handmade cards, write a poem, cook something special, clean the house, or plan a family photo shoot? You can think of the things that would please you most and give them choices, or you can ask your husband or other loved one to help your children prepare for Mothers Day. If you were to give them a test about your life and your favorite things, would they pass? Could you make a fun game out of it? Can Mothers Day be fun for all of you? Sure it can, but you can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. People who do that are often disappointed.

The third Saturday in May is Armed Forces Day. Do you know anyone serving in the military? You and your children could find a creative way to thank them for their service to our country. (You might send them some drawings or writings done during outdoor school time. )

May 31 is Memorial Day. A visit to the cemetery may not seem like a “fun” activity, but many people find grave markers interesting. You may visit your deceased loved ones and place flowers on their graves. You could share favorite memories with your children. Then you might participate in community activities. There may be family festivals or opening day for public pools.  You’ll want to teach your children about Memorial Day’s background, but then you can find ways to get out and enjoy the day with your family as well.

Keep moving forward. Summer will soon be here. Make the most of the season, and remember to make time for fun. Your family will love it!

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