Overview: Use these simple ideas to make homeschool fun during the high school years. Your teen will be more motivated to learn! Includes a video. Note: Video sponsored by Teaching Toys, but all opinions are my own.
My own kids often felt like high school was drudgery.
Each day was a repetitive cycle of picking up a book, working through the lesson, and putting it down — so that they could pick up another book and start the process over again. All day, erry day. #trueconfessions #keepingitreal
So in all honesty, I’m not the one who can write about making homeschool fun during high school with any kind of meaningful experience.
BUT I KNOW SOMEONE WHO CAN.
Wendy Hilton of Hip Homeschool Moms is here to be a guest author (don’t mind me while I squeal!), to share her veteran-homeschool-mom perspective about making even high school fun. It can be done, y’all! Read on to find out how.
Do you sometimes feel like homeschooling high school is no fun?
I know all of us have days that are stressful, not very productive, and (to be honest) not much fun at all. But it shouldn’t be that way all the time! We often think of making the preschool and elementary years fun, but most of us feel like our kids should just buckle down and get to work by the time they reach middle and high school.
During the time my two oldest children were in high school, I just did the best I could so we could all make it to graduation! Yes, they both graduated, but I wanted something more for my youngest. I wanted to learn how to make homeschooling high school something she would enjoy. I started looking for information and resources and found that there wasn’t much available. That’s when Trish, my business partner, and I decided we wanted to help other moms (and ourselves!) learn how to make homeschooling high school fun!
Ways to Make Homeschool Fun During High School
Fun electives are a wonderful way to add some interesting courses to your high school students’ classes! There are many available if you know to look for them.
There are courses for teens who love technology and have an entrepreneurial spirit such as Intro to Filmmaking and YouTube 4 Teens. There are lots (and lots!) of ideas for other electives that you can teach yourself, take in a co-op setting, or even do online.
What You Need to Know About High School Electives (on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers) includes information about ideas for topics, where to find classes, and even how to give credit for self-taught or parent-led electives. Annie’s article about Planning High School Electives for Your Homeschool has more ideas and info, as well.
Travel is a wonderful way for our students to learn! Not only is travel itself educational, but you can make the entire process educational! Have your children help choose a destination based on things like cost, distance from your home, the kinds of activities you want to do on your trip, or even whether or not the destination lines up with the places you are currently studying in history.
Travel can easily include social skills if your children are old enough to strike up a conversation with the people you encounter as you travel. This can include having them ask for directions, having them ask questions and participate in discussions at the destinations (tours, museums, etc.) you visit, or even chatting with people who are sitting near them on planes and trains. This might also include allowing your children to make purchases at stores, street fairs, local markets, etc. while you’re at your destination or on the way.
And of course there are many educational destinations you can visit and innumerable educational activities to participate in while you’re there. In fact, at Hip Homeschool Moms we have a division called Homeschool Road Trips that takes homeschool families on (you guessed it!) educational road trips with other families. We do all the planning. You and your family show up to join in the fun and learn a lot! Go to the travel section of the Hip Homeschool Moms site to find more information.
(We’ll add upcoming Homeschool Road Trips as we make plans. And you can find information about educational destinations we’ve already visited as well as packing lists, travel journals, tips for making travel educational, and even related notebooking pages, too.)
Other Ways to Add Fun to Your Homeschool High School
Add a Map
Do you have children who love maps and geography? Whether you’re watching a history documentary, reading a story, or watching the news, adding a map is a great way to add some fun (and hands-on learning) to what you’re already doing.
Cooking is a fun and motivational way to get kids involved! If you’re reading a book or studying a certain time period in history (or even if you’re learning about a scientist or artist, etc.), cook some dishes from the time period you’re studying or the country in which the scientist or artist lived.
Most children (both younger and older kids) love doing things like science experiments, art projects, or even building projects. Some enjoy writing short stories or poems. Some enjoy vegetable gardening or flower gardening. There are many hands-on projects to choose from! Think about some you can add to what you’re already doing.
There are educational websites and online games, but you can also incorporate board games, card games, and word games into your homeschool. Gameschooling is a great way to do make homeschool fun for any age kids!
That doesn’t mean ALL you do is play games (although our high school students might love this idea, LOL). It simply means you incorporate games as you can into what you’re already doing. For example, you could play games to teach, reinforce, or review math concepts or the presidents or foreign language vocabulary words.
Diamond paintings are another great way to add some hands-on and educational fun to your homeschool. Our Teaching Toys Diamond Paintings are a fun way to have some artsy/craftsy fun, and each one comes with a link for a free downloadable unit study. You can even listen to educational podcasts, enjoy an audio book, or orally practice things like math facts or states and capitals as you work the paintings!
–>Ann here again. I had the chance to try one of the diamond paintings Wendy is talking about — and it really is FUN! I made a video so you can see exactly what diamond painting is and how top-notch the ones from Teaching Toys are:
Head to the Teaching Toys website for more information: Teaching.toys.
Now that your mental gears are spinning I’m sure that you can come up with even more ways to make homeschool fun during the high school years — as you’ve seen, even simple things can add an element of interest to an otherwise somewhat dry topic.
I (Ann) may have been a failure at making high school fun, but YOU don’t have to be!
(And thanks to Wendy and Trish for all they do at Hip Homeschool Moms and their other endeavors to help and encourage all of us!)
Wendy is co-owner of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers along with Trish Corlew. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 30 years ago, and they live in the South. They have three children. Hannah, age 26, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 24, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 18, recently graduated, bringing to a close over two decades of homeschooling for the Hilton family. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, writing, and studying the Bible, and she attempts to grow a vegetable and herb garden every summer with limited success. (One day she’ll grow a tomato as delicious as the ones her Papaw used to grow!)
Trish is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She has been married to her best friend, David, for 25 years and they have three sons (ages 21, 19 and 17). Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures, learning Hebrew and growing in their faith and walk daily. In her spare time, Trish loves to travel, write, work in their garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!