The first step is to give your kids permission to use humor. Even the blandest writing prompts can be hilarious when young writers feel free to let their funny creative juices flow.
The second step is to give them prompts that are related to what is going on with them. I did my master’s thesis in psychology on humor and learned the obvious: relatable humor is funny! Depressed people will laugh at depression jokes, for example. So give the kids writing prompts about fall in the fall! Can’t come up with anything? No worries! I’ve got you covered. You can either use the writing prompts that follow in your homeschool or classroom verbally or you can use the colorful printables with handwriting lines available to subscribers.
The third step is to be flexible with the form of writing. Allow your students to dictate their writing or type it depending on their level. By the way, I don’t think there’s an age range for these prompts.
Funny Fall Writing Prompts
If I were a leaf, I would like to fall on_____________because________________.
Jack Frost is a mythical character who is said to create the frost we see on windows. Name and describe a character who is responsible for leaves changing color in the fall.
Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper from Johnny Appleseed, admitting that you didn’t exactly plant all the apple trees, even though that’s what everyone says.
Write a paper to convince people that your favorite kind of apple is the best.
Write a story about a squirrel who thought it was spring when it was fall.
Write about what happened when a horse who was allergic to hay pulled a wagon for a hay ride.
Create a recipe that includes pumpkin that really shouldn’t include it.
If you were a talking jack-o-lantern, what would you say?
Write a poem about fall the way Eeyore of Winnie-the-Pooh would write it (it doesn’t have to rhyme).
Write a poem about fall the way Tigger of Winnie-the-Pooh would write it.
Write a letter to hunters as though you were a turkey wanting to live.
If you served all of your favorite foods for Thanksgiving, what would be on the menu?
Download Your Free Funny Fall Writing Prompts Printables
Can you say that subtitle three times fast? 😉 In the PDF, I share more tips for encouraging your kids to write humorous material. You’ll get a printable page for hand-written work for each prompt. You’ll also automatically receive the winter, spring, and summer versions. If you hate getting email, know that once you subscribe, you can change your preferences to Freebies Only. You’ll only be notified when a post describes a new subscriber freebie, which you’ll automatically have access to.
Click the turkey image below, add your email, and the download will automatically arrive. By the way, if you like this material, I would love for you to share it with other teachers and parents you know.
I shared a daily to-do list for homeschoolers, but that doesn’t cover everything we should be doing, does it? This weekly list is a great goal for six other tasks. If you’d like a free printable copy, click the orange button below to subscribe to Psychowith6 and you’ll receive it in your inbox lickety split! Current subscribers can find it in the folder linked at the bottom of your Psychowith6 email. Click Here to Get the FREE Printable
Add your printable to your homeschool binder in a page protector, laminate it, or frame it and you can use it every week with a dry erase marker. It’s a great reminder for me and I hope it is for you! Note that this is a PDF as pictured above and is not editable. If you want a to-do list that you can create yourself, check out the Homeschool Record Form or the Quarterly Checklist.
#1 Group Time
I admit that I once thought homeschoolers couldn’t possibly get enough social time. How wrong I was. But it’s a vital part of our homeschool to get together with other homeschoolers for co-ops and classes. We’ve also enjoyed having the kids participate in other sports and activities that aren’t just for homeschoolers. I don’t have to worry about forgetting this task. My kids insist upon group time!
#2 Field Trip
While we don’t go on a formal field trip every week, I do aspire to regularly take the kids out where they can learn and explore. Nature walks, parks, museums, and even the grocery store can work. Ask questions of the different workers you come into contact with. We’ve learned so much from just doing that!
Some of you laughed when you read my suggestions of group time and field trips, because all you do is go, go, go! But homeschoolers need a day of rest, too. Sunday is our day, but we all have different schedules. Allowing everyone to relax and do what interests them with no schedule is so important physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I believe it’s so important to review what we’ve learned–not through formal testing–but by discussing it and answering verbal questions, especially when kids are younger. I haven’t done a great job with this and that’s a shame, because review reminds mom how much she has actually accomplished and helps move information into long-term memory. Every day, write a couple of questions on notecards based on what you’ve learned and play a little Jeopardy game at the end of the week. It could be everyone’s favorite time. That’s my goal.
If we didn’t clean up twice a day, our house would be condemned in no time. But we still need time for more time-consuming tasks like dusting, vacuuming, and laundry. Build time for this more concentrated cleaning into your school schedule so you won’t be stressed. I assign various tasks based on the kids’ ages. We have been doing a little of these throughout the week for years, but we are going to try to knock these chores out on one day. We’ll see how it goes.
We see our worship as part of our homeschool. We all learn something in Bible class and from sermons, even though we study in depth as part of our studies. Church is something we don’t want to miss! But when illness strikes, my husband will often read and discuss the Bible with us. I have some Bible study DVDs that I would love for us to watch together as well. We haven’t made the time for them, so that’s a goal, too.
Want a copy of this daily to-do list to print and place in a page protector or frame to use with a dry-erase marker? Click here:
To-Do List Please!When you’re a new homeschooler or even when you’re experienced, you can become overwhelmed by everything you think you should be doing in your homeschool on a daily basis. The good news is there’s nothing wrong with you! You may have just overloaded your to-do list. To save our sanity when we’re trying to add too many things to our days, I created a simple to-do list with six tasks that we can accomplish most days.
As a Christian homeschooling family, this is foundational. I shared in the video below that we pray about what we’re thankful for, sorry for, and what we need help with. It never fails that when I’m feeling stressed, prayer will calm me down. We also pray for family and friends by selecting a few of the Christmas cards that are sent to us each year. Want to read more about establishing a family devotional time? Check out this post.
Reading is our favorite homeschooling activity. If it’s not your child’s favorite, check out these tips for reluctant readers. We enjoy reading individually, but love reading books out loud that correspond to our Mystery of History volume. One of our favorite books this year was Raiders from the Sea (a Christian fiction series about the Vikings). Reading is also a critical skill for our kids’ academic and life success, so it’s going to be high on our to-do list. I hope it is on yours, too.
I’ve written before about my angst about art, but I’ve found programs I really liked such as Atelier. But creating time (which is so important to our children’s happiness and future accomplishment) can be writing time, Lego time, robotics time, Minecraft time, or music time. Time to create and some basic materials are all you need.
Science is becoming more important to future careers than ever before. Doing experiments with a science curriculum you love (click to see a list of the best!) is a great way to give kids the opportunity to test their hypotheses, but nature walks are too. Cindy West has created an amazing curriculum for this purpose that you can use on the fly. There’s no reason not to put a little science into your day!
When the day becomes so crowded with seat work and classes and activities that there’s no time for play, there’s a problem. It’s even a problem when we don’t get time to play as homeschool moms. We all need a little margin in our day and dare I say it, a little boredom, to help us unwind and find our own fun. I think it’s really important not to dictate what the play time is used for, because then it isn’t really play. I do, however, believe in setting some screen time limits. I encourage you to pick up your free homeschool daily to-do list if you haven’t already! To-Do List Please!>If you already subscribe to Psychowith6, you’ll find the link to the Subscriber Freebies folder in your welcome email.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent way too much time trying to make digital homeschool planners work for you, when they just don’t!
That’s why I created the Easiest Homeschool Record System Ever that you can easily customize for your kids. I still think it’s a great way to keep homeschool records. But something happened that made me create a form that I think is even more MOTIVATING for kids (and for parent teachers, too).
I call it the Quarter Checklist, but you may call it a lifesaver!
Here’s how I came up with the idea. We were nearing the end of the school year. Some of my kids were behind in some subjects and were close to being finished with others. I really wanted them to be done with their independent work before we went on our family vacation. So I asked them what lesson they were on in each subject. I then made them a checklist of lessons to complete to be done with the school year. Here’s what happened.
My daughter became obsessed with finishing her school work, even begging to stay home from scrapbooking so she could work.
My son began working through multiple math lessons a day.
My older son spent hours finishing up his history reading.
All without any nagging on my part! That’s when I got to thinking.
How could I motivate the kids to work this way all year long?
I thought about what made that list so effective and here’s what I realized:
It was a closed list. My kids knew that if they finished the list, they didn’t have to keep working.
It was a short list. Unlike the list in their regular planners, the list seemed very doable.
It offered a reward. Not only were we going on vacation when they finished, but the kids worked for the reward of having free time.
I could do this during the school year too!
So I created a school quarter checklist for next school year.
The great news is I created one for you, too. Here’s how it works:
Make a list of each subject your child will do independently. Label one column with that subject. For example LOF for Life of Fred Math. You may need more than one sheet per child, depending on the number of subjects. If you end up with multiple sheets, note the page numbers at the top of the forms. Don’t have something next to each checkbox? Even better! Your child will feel like they have very little to do!
For each subject, determine how many total lessons s/he will complete in a year. Divide that number by four.
List the lesson or page numbers for the first quarter next to each check box on the form. If your children’s handwriting is neat enough, you can have them complete these forms themselves. If that isn’t a sanity saver! (If you run out of room for that subject, circle NEXT PAGE; otherwise circle YOU’RE DONE!)
Write the date the quarter officially ends in front of the year and plan a reward. We love to go out for breakfast. If your student finishes before that date, s/he enjoys the reward of no independent work (even if family subjects and classes continue through the quarter).
Store your completed checklists on clipboards. There’s something about a clipboard that’s so motivating! I love these Dexas clipboard cases that have space for notebooks and pencils and have a carrying handle. Don’t you? There is a color for every student.
Even if your child has multiple pages to work with, the perception will be that their lessons are very, very doable! Because that’s the case, your student is likely to be extra motivated. One tip: only plan one quarter at a time. Life happens!
How to Use the Quarter Checklist as a Teacher
I know I’m not the only one who gets discouraged when I get behind on my school plans. Using the Quarter Checklist, I think I can not only stay on schedule, but even get ahead. Here’s why:
The kids will be motivated to move through lessons quickly so we can get done with ALL of our schooling ahead of schedule.
I will be motivated to finish all the lessons because I’m working with a closed list.
I can use the form to show them how we’re doing after taking a sick day or free day to motivate them to spend extra time with me on subject.
Get Your Quarter Checklist Planner Free
(You can print it in color or black-and-white using your printer settings).
I’d love it if you’d share the sanity with homeschooling friends and let me know how it’s working for you on Facebook. Check out the other great ideas I’m pinning on Pinterest.
Grammar and writing can be a tedious subject to teach. Fortunately, there are so many amazing free games available to make teaching them fun. Until now, you had to Google your heart out to find them. No more! Below is an organized list of FREE grammar games for teaching parts of speech, punctuation, sentences and writing. I’ve described each game so you can decide if it’s for you. Following each section is a Pinterest board including those games. Follow them and be sure to pin this post so you can reference it later.
More Grammar Game Sanity
None of these games are online games. For a great list of online games, instruction, and quizzes for grammar, see The Best Free Grammar Websites. Many of the following games are appropriate for both classroom and homeschool use. I love to use games that require multiple players in our family co-op.
To make prepping many of these games even easier, pick up an Amazon laminator and pouches.
Free Parts of Speech Games
Adverb & Adjectives Game – Players must correctly identify adverbs and adjectives and use them in sentences to keep cards.
Spaced Out Adjectives and Adverbs Game – two teams divide into aliens and spaceman. Drawn cards must be identified as adjectives or adverbs. Words modified must be identified as well. Players who draw a planet card lose all their cards.
Students as Props – Three students have either noun, verb, or adjective taped to their foreheads. Other students tape appropriate words to each student.
Word Dominoes – Cards with words and parts of speech on them are played like dominoes.
Word-Eating Whale Game – an empty milk jug is transformed into a whale and is used to eat caps that have verbs on them (and not nouns) in the tub.
Basketball Pronoun Game – basketball-themed board game teaching he and she pronouns to young or special needs learners.
Make it Plural! – Students have to give the plural form of nouns in this board game.
Post It Note Noun Hunt – Players find Post It Note nouns and sort them into person, place, and thing categories.
Interactive Games for Sentence Fragments – Includes Words on Strips of Paper (students try to find someone with an independent clause to go with their dependent clause); Pairs Game (students work in pairs to transform sentence fragments into the best or most humorous sentences); and Song Game (teams compete in determining whether song titles are fragments or sentences).
The biggest challenge for teachers when it comes to grammar and writing is helping kids edit their own writing. Teaching editing is especially difficult for homeschooling parents who don’t feel confident in their writing ability. My homeschooling friends ask me to edit their students’ papers all the time.
In the interest of teacher sanity, I created a game that will teach students how to edit their own writing AND will make it easier for you to edit your child’s paper.
How the Better Editor Game Promotes Editing Skills
You can use the Better Editor Game for any writing assignment. Hand the game printout to the students. Printing in color is better as the errors are marked in red.
The student will read an example error and will look for it throughout their paper. This means of editing is much easier and clearer for students and teaches them to avoid similar errors in the future. Every error of that type found will be highlighted or circled and the error number will be added above.
When the student is done looking for errors (and the great thing is you can add your own error to look for), they total how many errors they’ve found. They then hand their paper and the game sheet to a peer editor or to their teacher. In most cases, they will WIN the game by finding more errors than the second editor. The win gives students confidence that they can edit their own work.