It’s that time of year when the weather starts to warm up and students start to shut down. Many parents are experiencing end of the year burnout for the first time as they educate their children at home.
Children have become disinterested in distance learning and parents are ready to give up.
Even many traditional homeschoolers are experiencing a lack of motivation and focus this time of year.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to keep moving forward and overcome the urge to quit is by taking frequent breaks. Research shows that taking breaks increases focus, productivity, happiness, and creativity.
Here are 10 different ways to take “breaks” plus 2 additional things you can do while working to keep your kids engaged and finish the school year strong:
- Snack break: Keep healthy snacks on hand that don’t require much prep. We keep grab and go snacks like apples, mandarin oranges, grapes, and crackers or toast with peanut butter, hummus, chips and salsa, celery, carrots, cucumbers on hand so that we don’t lose an hour on snacks.
- Beverage break: coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or chocolate milk. We make these drinks in our favorite mugs and sometimes add whipped cream to make it extra special.
- Art break: Doodling or sketchnoting- draw pic or doodle related to a topic being studied or not, just encourage them to draw. Drawing about a topic we’re studying helps my children retain the information better. All of my children enjoy drawing and spend much of their free time honing their art skills.
- Dance break: Turn on a high energy song and let them rock out. My children like to learn dance choreography in their free time, so they sometimes do choreography during dance breaks or just freestyle it. Dancing releases endorphins and immediately boosts their mood.
- Song break: Turn on your favorite songs and sing along with them loudly and enthusiastically. Music is so much a part of our homeschool that it sounds like High School Musical around here at times.
- Take a walk: Go outside and walk around the block or to the corner. Sometimes we don’t get any further than the driveway but the fresh air helps refresh our minds.
- Have a chat: Talk to your child about something that interests them or ask a silly question to get their mind off school for a while, just be careful not to go down a rabbit hole. We’ve often had two-hour conversations about everything from faith and family to k-pop and hip-hop.
- Quick nap: Allow a 15 or 20-minute power nap. If my children are having a hard time focusing and staying alert, I set a 15-20 timer for power naps so that I don’t lose track of time. Many children have had a hard time sleeping during this time. If necessary, allow them to take longer naps but not too long or too late in the day.
- Game break: Make learning more fun by playing educational games: Some of our favorites when they were younger were alphabet, number, and color Scavenger Hunts and Stair Spelling. Today, we play more educational board/card games like Prime Climb, Valance, and Timeline.
- Take a day “off”: Don’t be afraid to take a day “off” from curriculum or distance learning. On days like this, we normally stay in our pajamas all day but the kids are encouraged to follow their creative pursuits. They engage in sewing, drawing, cooking, playing music, free writing, free reading, and drawing. Occasionally, we watch inspirational or educational movies/videos and make popcorn.
Here are two more things you can do to help kids stay engaged without taking a break:
- Do school outside: Spend the whole day or even just an hour or two doing school outside. We’ve done school while sitting in chairs on the front porch or on a blanket in the front yard. The change of scenery is refreshing and relaxing.
- Listen to music: Studies suggest that listening to music while studying reduces stress and anxiety, relaxes the mind, and increases focus. You can allow your child to listen to instrumental or classical music while reading. We often listen to Christian hip hop or pop music while doing math exercises.
You can schedule these breaks into your daily or weekly schedule. We tend to go with the flow and take breaks based on the rhythm and flow of our day.
Either way, incorporating these breaks into your homeschool or distance learning will help your child enjoy their day, stay engaged, and finish the school year strong.
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