Have Fun While Learning at Home

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
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mother and child reading together on a sofa.

When my children were growing up, we did lots of fun educational activities at home. Even as a working mom, I found lots of creative ways to incorporate reading, writing, math, history, and social studies into our everyday lives, beyond the school day. In a world of apps, I’m going to suggest some activities that make home a family affair.

Reading the classics together is a great way to build reading skills, as well as, conversational skills. The classics can be found in age-appropriate versions. Some favorite classics are Count Dracula, Black Beauty, The Wind in the Willows, and Treasure Island, to name a few. It’s fun to discuss the story, as you read. Upon completion of reading each book, create and print your child a “Certificate of Completion”.

For older children, a Shakespeare series is a lot of fun. First, introduce children to William Shakespeare by allowing them to research him and tell you about his life and his written works. A lot of Shakespeare’s plays can be found in movie versions, so you can plan family movie nights with movies based on Shakespeare’s plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the end of each movie, follow up with thought-provoking discussion questions. You can even encourage your child to read the book and compare it with the movie version. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate the study of world cultures into home learning by researching the cities mentioned in Shakespeare’s literature, such as London, Vienna, Italy, France, and Turkey, to name a few. For many children, this will be their first introduction to other countries. Roald Dahl is another author that works great with this activity.

Writing essays is another great activity for children in grades 2 through 12. For younger children, teach the basic skills for writing a five-paragraph essay with the introduction, body, and conclusion. Pick topics that provoke imagination and encourage the use of adjectives that colorfully describe the nouns. This is an opportunity to correct words that are misspelled and teach the usage of proper punctuation, particularly comma usage. These skills will help improve standardized and college entrance test scores in the future. Reading the essay for family members is an excellent way to improve public speaking skills. This is a good weekend activity.

Whatever activity you choose, ensure that it is time well spent. As parents, we are our children’s first teachers. Have fun, learn, and explore together.