We just returned a couple of weeks ago from our Israel harvest trip, and have hit the ground running as soon as Sukkot wrapped up, to get as much homeschooling in as possible before the next inevitable derailment. Be it in the form of guests, illness, or birthday season, it always comes. The freedom to adjust to life is one of our favorite things about homeschooling, and we have hit a quiet stretch right now (just when most are coming into their busy season, ours is nicely winding down!), so we are plugging away.
We have been very happy with our curriculum choice this year – homeschoolingtorah.com. The Elliotts have done a fantastic job of pulling scripture into each subject, and it takes quite a load off of me, doing the planning end of it. And so much freedom to cover what we need and leave what we don’t. What a blessing!
We have been covering our official school subjects Sunday through Thursday this year, leaving Fridays open for Shabbat prep. We have been doing some FUN stuff on Thursdays and some of my homeschooling readers might want to pick up this baton and run with it.
Basically, Thursdays are theme days. So far, we have done “Crazy Day” and “Backwards Day,” just to build anticipation and enthusiasm into our windup to Shabbat. Schools celebrate these kinds of things, mostly during “Spirit Week” around homecoming time. I came across a list online that was talking about finding ways other than sugar to reward kids, and this idea sparked for me. Theme week was my favorite part of the 6 months I went to actual school (kind of like kids who claim their favorite subject is recess), so I figure there is no reason homeschoolers can’t get in on this.
As it turns out, these days are SO much MORE fun for homeschoolers!!! (Since we are all family, everyone is comfortable and not trying to impress anyone, so we are free to participate with abandon – though at least one of us is still camera-shy!)
For Crazy Day*, we all dressed up in clashing and/or crazy outfits. We had plaid with tie-dye and stripes, sequined hats, clip-on ties, and face paint. We played Musical Freeze for PE, and read some crazy stories. Our other advantage over school format is that we were able to incorporate thematic elements with our food. For Crazy Day, my daughter who was on breakfast duty put blue food coloring into our dutch baby oven pancakes. 🙂
For Backwards Day, we wore our shirts and sweaters backwards, started our school subject list at the bottom and worked our way up, ran our relay course in reverse (Daddy put the kibosh on running it backwards), and ate our meals in the opposite order – breakfast was dessert, lunch was dinner, and dinner was breakfast! We also found some funny backwards jokes to read out loud.
We are all getting into it (even our 4yo who MUST wear matching jammies eventually joined in), and looking forward to future Thursdays this year. I have heard suggestions for Medieval Day, Viking Day, Farmer Day, Pirate Day, Hat Day, Pajama Day, Stuffed Animal Day… You get the picture – the sky’s the limit! (Did I hear someone say Astronaut Day?)
To close this post, I want to give one more shout out to homeschoolingtorah.com. Thanks for freeing up my brain space to think about the fun stuff!!! 😀
Blessings to all!
*Disclaimer: Yes, I realize that many of us can claim “EVERY day is Crazy Day at MY house!” But making it official frees you up to enjoy it. Every little incident throughout the day made me smile and say “well, THIS fits right in with our theme!”