One of the most difficult decisions I have had to make as a parent was to hoe school Henry. When he was in the 3rd grade, his autism began to show more than ever, especially while in school. The quandary we were in was Henry excelled academically but socially and behaviorally, he was declining. When he began to have stomach issues that turned out to be stress related to hat was going on in school, we knew we had to make a change. It took a while to get the hang of home schooling, but we have done pretty well. The one thing I have found is whenever possible, you need to make homework fun. Here are some strategies we found helpful and I hope they are for you as well.
Five Easy Ways To Make Homework Fun
- Snacks: Make sure you have your child take regular breaks for snacks and drinks. Studies show if you have the right combination of protein and carbs, your brain reacts positively to the food. This gives them a second wind so to speak after a long morning of work.
- Surroundings: Make sure wherever your child does their homework is comfortable. If they work better hanging upside down from the monkey bars, then move the homework session outside! It never hurts to mix it up and change where they do their work every so often.
- Music: Some children work better when they have music playing. Again, studies show playing music can stimulate the mind, which makes concentrating and thinking easier. I work better when I listen to music and so does Caitlin. Henry likes to have his headphones on while he listens to Veggie Tales.
- Computers: If you have computer access, there are tons of resources available for kids school work. We use the Internet all the time for worksheets, computer games for match and word searches and even Roman Numerals!
- Games: When appropriate, use games and toys for learning. Many educational toys can teach a child as well as any textbook, sometimes even better. One of our very favorite companies we use for homeschool lessons is SmartLab Toys.
Make Homework Fun
If you have a child in the 4-12 age range, you can find a plethora of educational toys and books from SmartLab Toys. Almost 10 years ago, the company started out with just 8 science kits, and two years later, they added arts and crafts materials. Now they have almost 50 award winning products that can teach and entertain your child. Of those products, we were sent two of the most fun we have ever had the pleasure of using. We received the Glow in the Dark Lab and the Squishy Human Body. With the Glow in the Dark Lab kids can experiment with all things related to glowing in the dark while with the squishy Human Body, kids will learn all about the organs of the human body with these squishy organs and skeletal, vascular, and muscular system representations.
The Glow in the Dark Lab, which sells for $24.99, comes with so much stuff that will keep your kids occupied for several hours. It comes with all tools and ingredients you need to conduct 20 experiments. You will get the Glow for It! book with 20 experiments, 2 test tubes, beaker and stand, mixing utensils, 3 creature molds, bouncy ball mold and polymer, black-light activator, 4 glow sticks, star stickers, jelly balls polymer, glow powder, fake snow polymer, and fluorescent ink. My kids and I had a blast playing with the black light activator when we wrote secret messages to each other and the glow in the dark powder and ink. (I still have some on my table runner that shows up in the dark!). This was one of the most fun kits we have ever used and we still have more experiments left to try.
Henry and I were able to use the Squishy Human Body, which sells for $27.99, set for almost 2 weeks of lessons. You get this amazing instruction guide and book that breaks down the systems of the body, the organs, skeletal and muscular systems and how they work together. The kit includes a book that takes you on the journey of your life, 12” plastic human body model and stand, 12 plastic bones and muscles, 9 removable squishy vital organs, Body parts Organ-izer, Tweezers, Forceps, and Instruction sheet.We had more books in the library at home that supplemented the kit perfectly for some pretty intensive lessons. It was such a joy to see Henry’s eyes light up when he was able to place all the organs in their correct place and name them all. He also had a lot of fun playing with the brain (and chasing his sister around with it) and bouncing the intestines up and down on the table! If you have kids that love science, these are awesome and SmartLab Toys has a ton of other kits they will love as well. You can choose from items like the Bugs Playground for the little ones, the Squishy T-Rex for the older boys and the Spa series for girls. Be sure to follow SmartLab Toys on Facebook and Twitter.
One USA reader will win a Glow in the Dark Lab and Squishy Human Body ($52.98)