We homeschool year round because my Aspie can’t handle long stretches of time off school. It also gives us the ability to be flexible with time off. If a day becomes particularly hard and we end up needing a break, it’s ok because we have plenty of other completed days.
But what do you do when mom and other siblings need a break, but your structure-needy child can’t handle it? He just doesn’t know what to do with himself and it causes problems?
You become creative and sneak in homeschool without calling it school. Boom! You get to count class time, get a break from regular classroom activities, and he gets a break from making decisions with free time.
Below you’ll find ways to give your child structured educational time while getting a bit of a break for yourself.
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Games – Games are a great way to get some learning in without textbooks. See this post for a whole bunch of ideas to spark your imagination.
Free activities from the internet – You can find all kinds of free printables online. Just do a search in Google or browse Pinterest. Get started with these freebies from All About Learning Press!
Lego challenges – You can use Lego challenges to give your child a hands-on way to show what he knows about a subject. Have you recently studied the American Revolution? Have him choose a battle and make a model. Did she just learn about the respiratory system? Let her make it out of Lego blocks. Of course, if you don’t have Lego blocks (gasp!), you can use other building blocks. You can grab a fun Brick ebook from Stef Layton over at CurrClick. No affiliate link here, just fun!
Building with recycled materials – Many homeschool families have a stash of paper towel tubes, boxes, toilet paper tubes, and other items. Challenge your child to see what he can make. If that’s too broad, give him a particular item or topic. For example, a headquarters for his super hero figures or a treasure box for his cousin.
Scaveger hunts – Scavenger hunts require a varying degree of preparation from you, from very little to involved. However, you can pack a lot of learning into a scavenger hunt and your child will have fun as well as learn lots of other skills. Read this post for more ideas.
Field Trips – Find a museum or attraction to visit. See if your local bakery will give you a tour or find other homeschool families that might want to create a group for a field trip to get a discount.
Work in the kitchen – Cooking is very educational and also doubles as occupational therapy for special needs kiddos.
Give them a project related to the holiday – For example, this year I had my boys make activity placemats for everyone attending Thanksgiving. They’ve also been working on Perler bead projects for Christmas gifts.
Audio books – This is pretty self-explanatory. Your child can listen to an audio book while drawing, building, crafting, etc. Audio books are also a sneaky way to teach writing.
Handcrafts – Knitting, sewing, Perler bead projects, stamping, crocheting…these all strengthen fine motor skills, planning and problem solving, and allow your child to bless others with their end products.
Library events – Libraries are often a great source of educational activities. The extra bonus for kids with autism is they get to grow in their social skills and sensory coping. I remember the day I cried because my Aspie finally was willing to wear a name tag on yarn around his neck.
Documentaries and movies – Movies may not sound educational, but when you have your child look for literary elements in a movie or draw a Venn diagram comparing a movie to a book you’ve read together, it becomes a whole different story. You could also have your child create some Jeopardy! questions while watching a documentary or just sit and watch and learn.
Swap with another homeschool parent – Swap kids for a couple hours and let each parent have some quiet time alone. Or get together with other homeschool families for a project and play.
Online lessons – You can find lots of free things to watch online and your child can learn a new skill. The first one that comes to mind is Art for Kids Hub. One reason I especially like this channel is the dad draws or creates a project with one of his three children. Your child gets to see the difference between his picture and the child’s, and this reinforces that perfection is not required.
Have you discovered another way to take a break from regular schooling but still have a bit of structure? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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