Monday, April 21, 2014

Studying with Spring Fever

It's a beautiful spring day, with birds singing and a gentle breeze blowing. It's warm enough to be outside without a jacket, but not yet uncomfortably hot. It feels perfect after the snow and cold winds and ice storms. But the school year isn't over yet, so we have to find a way to soothe our cabin fever while getting the rest of the schoolwork done. Not an easy task.

To complicate matters a little, the baseball and softball season has begun, so we have to be out the door to Kennady's softball practices and games by about five o'clock a couple times a week, which means we have to wrap up school and get dinner earlier. And it's also the season for the Stanley Cup playoffs, so there are hockey games that we really want to watch every evening. Some of them go late, and if we were out in the evening and need to watch a game on the DVR, that can make for late nights which in their turn make for groggy mornings.

And then there's the schoolwork itself... we are to the point where we just kinda want to be DONE with this school year. I am thinking ahead to next year already because I want to have shopping lists and a decent plan in place when I head to the curriculum fairs and homeschool conventions. With all of this going on, how can we focus and finish well?

I try to use the many potential distractions as motivators. Easier said than done, in many cases, but the threat of being banned from watching tonight's hockey game(s) if schoolwork isn't completed is a powerful one. Knock off extra schoolwork when it's raining, and buy some extra time doing outside activities when it's sunny. This works if I think ahead during the winter too. Get as much reading and bookwork done during the cold, snowy months so that there's more free time to do other stuff when it warms up.
Look! It's Venus! It even shows up on my point-and-shoot camera!
We've found that springtime is great for getting the hands-on things done, especially in Science. Last year we studied Classical Astronomy, and a lot of the field activities were perfect for spring weather. (spring meteor showers?) Of course we could do a lot of observation of the moon and stars, sunrise and sunset, during the winter months (and the constellations visible are different), but let's face it - standing outside and stargazing is infinitely more enjoyable when the temperatures aren't as frigid and we're not standing in snow! This year Kennady has been doing a zoology study, so springtime is when we can finally think about doing actual observation of insects and birds. Maybe even consider trips to the zoo when there are baby animals to see.

Okay... not baby animals. But we were at the zoo!
It seems like there are more field trips planned during the spring than the rest of the year. We still have to be choosy which ones we can go on, because of all the other things on our schedule, and we do need to make sure the time on a field trip is well-spent; but if we can participate in a tour that adds to our education and is a break from our "usual", we try to do it.

What I would absolutely love, is if we had a nice outdoor furniture set or picnic table, so we could take our schoolbooks outside when the weather was right. I really will need to add that to the 'pros' list for buying/acquiring outdoor furniture and see what we can do for the future. We used to do schoolwork on our covered deck way back in the good ol' days before we moved to this house.

Mostly, though, our "spring studies" tend to be of the "let's just get this done!!!" variety. The sooner social studies are done for the school year, the sooner you can go out and play. Hey, whatever works!

How do you handle spring fever in your homeschool? Leave a comment and let me know! Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Wednesday, April 23rd) to see what other Crew members are doing for "Spring Studies". You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see lots of product reviews, and past blog cruise topics.
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