I do a special “night” with my kids once a week – an educational evening. Sometimes it’s one-on-one, but usually the two oldest get one night, and the next two get another night. When the youngest two are a little older they will get a night also. Most of the time we just play card games or board games together and have a snack after the other kids are in bed. The purpose is to build a relationship and give special time to the kids in a more direct setting with less distractions.
Sometimes I want to mix it up and make it more interesting so we do educational things instead of just playing games. Any parent who wants to supplement their child’s education can do this once a week method of teaching. The extra lessons I plan are always fun–not math drills or phonics lessons, but science projects, art, or other learning projects. Once my two oldest and I spent more than six months doing drawing lessons from a How-to-draw course. The kids didn’t even realize it was a “school” subject.
With my two middle children we’re about to start on a series of craft and art projects on a variety of subjects. My two main rules are that it needs to require no more than ten minutes of prep time for me and it needs to be easy going and fun.
Here are some fun ideas for an educational evening with the kids (just don’t tell them they’re supposed to be learning):
- Drawing course
- Watercolor course
- Nature projects
- Star gazing and identifying constellations
- Any type of science projects
- Reading books together
- Book projects
- History crafts or activities
- Math games (like Sum Swamp)
- Educational Trivia Games (I really like the Professor Noggin series)
- Projects from The Dangerous Book For Boys or The Daring Book for Girls
- Cooking together
- Learning a musical instrument, like the piano, guitar, or recorder, or even just singing songs and learning to keep the beat or the rhythm
- Playing phonics games
- Doing projects from different countries or cultures around the world
- Playing an educational computer game together like Reader Rabbit or Jump Start
- I’m sure you can think of even more based on your child’s interests
Have fun playing and learning together.