I am a hands on learner. My husband is a hands on learner. My kids are a hands on learner. This Hands On thing should be easy then right? NOPE! Because it turns out I’m not a Hands On teacher. I’m a book reading, big juicy conversation teacher and all the Hands On stuff tuckers me out!
I do work in little hands on things most days. Coloring pictures or drawing to go along with reading. Building with blocks something that goes along with what we are learning. There is also lots of independent play and projects. All very simple things that don’t require a whole lot of planning or preparing from the mom side of things. But I’ve had a harder time working in those more involved hands on things.
So what is this Introverted Mama to do? I know the benefit of hands on learning. I want to do the hands on learning with the kids. I even enjoy them when I’m doing them (most of the time), but oh my gosh! How does one take care of all the daily needs of her family, teach the kids and do all those hands on things? Well shoot, I just don’t…well I don’t daily.
When it comes to the big hands on activities I dole them out slow, and since starting the slow loop, in steady streams. This slow loop thing is totally helping me be that fun hands on mama. Knowing that at least every other day we will be doing something hands on really takes the stress of my trying to plan something for every day. And removes the guilt of not doing something hands on every day. It also helps me to physically and mentally prepare for the hands on time. (That is critical for me being successful.)
What is really surprising is now that I’ve removed the pressure to do something hands on every day….I find that I am doing more hands on things with the kids. My stress level is lowered and it’s been easier to invite one of the kids to cook with me in the kitchen, to pull out a board game or take part in a game of tag. Even on non-hands on days.
I like to look for practical hands on activities. As much as I love all the amazing crafts I see on Pinterest and Instagram, I’ve become much of a minimalist in our roadschooling and those things don’t fit our lifestyle. Currently our top two favorite ways to add hands on into our days is with cooking and games.
- Cooking. You don’t have to do something formal for this. We are with Kids Cook Real Food and even mama is learning some new skills. (By the way, summer is a great time to take this class when most of us have a lighter academic load and enrollment happens to be open right now too.) But we also get in the kitchen with our math, poetry tea time, science and helping hands.
- Games. There is a whole community of folks who gameschool out there. With so many games for math, language arts, science, history, geography and more it easy to see why. And I’m not talking about dry boring games that the kids can tell they are doing lessons but they are actually fun!
One of these days we will add more science experiments to our week as well. One of Pumpkin’s buddy reads is a science book and includes some experiments that the little ones are sure to get in on and I have my eyes on a new Minecraft Science Fun-Schooling Journal soon to hit the shelf as well. We also have this Thinking Tree Science Journal that I will print out sooner then later that is pretty amazing for the science loving kids.
And then there is hands off – hands on learning. While traveling we have been able to take advantage of some of the craft or game time at our resorts. I love those days, they are like bonus Hands on Time! And while others may not have the resort activities like we do local libraries, communities centers and even home improvement stores often have activities for our kids from I will admit sometimes all three of them at once is a bit overwhelming and I often retreat into a cup of tea and some quiet time for mama after. Okay, even if our hands on time was smooth sailing I still plan on some quiet time for after to recharge.
For me, knowing what recharges me as a mom, especially as an introverted mom is important to having hands on fun with my kids. If you are a member over at Read Aloud Revival she has a class Find Your Personalities Superpower, this class was a game changer for me! Because of this class I have found options other than just a lot of quiet alone time to help me be the fun happy me that I am. Some of those recharging thing even let me extrovert to recharge. Everyone in my family is enjoying the befit of that, especially all my extroverts.