5 Unconventional Ways to Homeschool

October 29, 2021 | Shannon McGregor

I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I love homeschooling is because we aren’t tied down to a conventional school calendar. We can pick up and go at any time, have a sick day without being worried if my kids missed something important, and because I know my kids aren’t going to sit for 6 hours a day, come home with three hours of homework and regurgitate what they just learned only to forget it. List your reasons for homeschooling, list the things you love about it, create a vision of what a perfect homeschool day would be like for you, and ask your kids to do the same thing. Then get to work making that happen. Take the pressure off yourself to recreate the school day, that’s not what this homeschooling life is about. Here are some of my favorite ways to homeschool that you may not have thought about.

  1. Find a topic your kids are totally into. Is it building Lego structures or coding or unicorns? Ask them to put together a lesson plan for YOU! Ask them to teach you about a subject they are passionate about. Tell them you can’t wait to learn what they know.  Your kids will get a kick out of being the teacher while you’re the student! I love doing this from time to time because it’s a great way to connect with our kids. We’re showing genuine interest in what they love. It doesn’t have to stop with something love and are obsessed with, it can also be about a math lesson or grammar lesson. Asking them to teach the lesson back to you or a younger sibling is a great way to boost their confidence and ensure they’re learning the content. My high schooler does all the science lessons with her younger brother. She loves science and sharing with her brother allows her to share that love. 
  2. Audiobooks. There are homeschool days when we are running all over town and the only school work we get done is from the car. Whether it is a long road trip or a drive to the grocery store, hit play on the audiobook. Check out readaloudrevival.com for some great family read alouds, but don’t stop there. Any of the literature books from our curriculum are perfect for your car ride. 
  3. Homeschool on the road. This is also called road schooling. Research a town nearby or a town far away and hit the road! Hit up the visitor centers, local restaurants, parks, discover the history of a town, find the government buildings –– the possibilities are endless. What is the town famous for? Hit streets and discover. If you plan a trip a bit in advance, you call the local government office and see if they’re open to giving your kids a tour. I have found that bakeries love homeschool kids. I know, sounds funny, but ask them to give you a tour. Give your kids notebooks to take notes in, draw pictures, and collect treasures from their trip. Make sure to date and title because these will be such amazing memories for them to reflect on later. Last year we read about Lewis and Clark. I had no idea that they came through our state, and it was only about a three-hour drive from the house, so we packed up and went! My kids learned more about Lewis and Clark from this adventure than they did from any of the books. Do this! I promise you’re all going to love it. 
  4. Get outside. This one is going to sound so easy, but the more time spent outside the better for all. Gather your books and a big bucket of chalk. Spelling, grammar, math, writing, art –– it all can be done in the driveway with chalk. Skip the workbooks and do all the work without a pen and pencil. The sky is (quite literally) the limit.
  5. Get out in public. This one is always hard for homeschool parents to absorb. Sounds easy, but hear me out. Take your kids to the grocery store, teach them to grocery shop, teach them how to create a grocery budget. Let them pay for the groceries and interact with the cashier because these are skills they will need their entire life. THIS is homeschooling. Show them how to check their books out at the library, look up books, return books, and how to ask the librarian for help. My favorite –– teach your kids how to order their own meals. Guide them to look at the server and say, “I would like the eggs and bacon, please.” When the server responds with, “How do you like your eggs cooked?”, give them the opportunity to speak up and teach them the different ways eggs can be cookied. Have your kids call and order food on the phone for takeout. We love a little Mexican place down the street, and from time to time we order lunch from there. My eight-year-old can call and place the order himself. Teach manners, eye contact, and people skills. They will make mistakes but this is all a beautiful part of learning.