Prisma is the world’s most engaging virtual school that combines a fun, real-world curriculum with powerful mentorship from experienced coaches and a supportive peer community
The homeschool day can be quite efficient, compared to a typical public school day. When their school work is completed, kids have plenty of time for extracurriculars, hobbies, unstructured play and generally... fun.
But fun doesn’t have to be the thing you save for after hours — and it doesn’t mean turning into your child’s camp counselor. You can make homeschooling fun during the school day, with these three ingredients:
The concept of fun is so individual — and, at its best, so is homeschooling. So let your child lead the way. You’re not “giving in” — or giving them a less effective education — if that means incorporating topics, materials and approaches that don’t often appear in a traditional classroom: video games, podcasts, and pop music can all be a part of an impactful education, if they’re used to help develop the kinds of skills (like problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking) that set kids up for success.
At Prisma, learners get to roll up their sleeves and dig into whatever aspect of our broad theme is most enticing: they conduct delicious science experiments through baking, improve their rhetoric by writing video game reviews, and hone their entrepreneurial chops by designing their own apps. That’s what we call the “hard fun” of learning.
Our lesson plans incorporate elements of gamification, drawing on human instincts for competition and teamwork to make less conventionally fun activities downright enjoyable: in our Prisma High School life skills class, students earn points by completing missions, from doing the laundry to cooking their family a healthy meal.
If you’re open to trying this student-led approach, rather than follow a strict homeschool curriculum, we recommend you start from their interests, no matter how far they seem to take you from a traditional academic classroom: if they like board games, they can design their own out of Legos; if they love running around outdoors, they can create an outdoor scavenger hunt for the whole family.
This fun-first approach is especially important if you’re helping a child find their educational groove after a less-than-ideal experience in a traditional classroom (for example, gifted kid burnout). Start from a place of fun (which usually means confidence), and it’ll be easier to work towards that growth mindset than if you insist on the topic that makes them want to hide under their bed.
It’s your day — and the way you tie together your homeschool schedule should be as intentional as the individual learning periods. Rituals and routines are crucial for maintaining a sense of structure in an otherwise free-form day. When you work, play and live all in the same space, you have to be extra intentional about marking the transitions between these activities.
But there’s no reason why these transitions have to be solemn: They can be as lighthearted as wearing a favorite hat during school hours, playing music between classes or having a dance party to mark the end of the day.
At Prisma, we find that the rituals developed by each of our small cohorts go a long way in making students excited to come to class. They may only last a moment but, repeated over time, these small fun things turn into strong connective tissue for the overall learning experience.
Fun ways to punctuate your homeschool day (or week):
Learning is more fun in the company of a trusted community. One of the challenges of homeschooling can be finding, cultivating and maintaining that community — but it can be well worth the effort. We find that a direct by-product of having fun while learning is that it increases motivation.
Our Prisma cohorts are full of laughter and jokes, and that only enhances the quality of their work: When Prismarians collaborate on projects, give each other feedback, or look forward to presenting their work to their peers at Expo Day, they want to go above and beyond.
Here are a few ways to integrate community into your learning:
Particularly well suited to science or social studies topics, museum exhibits are a great way to have students show off their mastery of a subject — while thinking about the way that knowledge should be presented to a visitor. Have them make models physically or using digital tools like TinkerCad, and print off or draw other visuals to support their exhibit. Then they can add explanatory labels to each object, write an introductory panel that explains the overall theme, and invite visitors to walk through and ask questions. Survey visitors on their takeaways from the visit, and use the feedback to refine the exhibit.
Science fiction and fantasy authors go through an intense world-building process to create the settings for their stories. While this is a natural fit for an English project, you can integrate that with social studies, for example, in our “Who Rules: 2050” theme, in which our high schoolers make a prediction about the future after studying current events and then build a setting for a story inspired by it. Or, for a science tie-in, study animal adaptations, design a world different from ours, then create animals that could live in it, as we did in our “Uncharted Territories” theme.
There’s an extra layer of fun that comes from entering your work in a real competition with real prizes. In our “Games for Change” cycle, learners code games inspired by a topic they researched and enter them into the annual Games for Change competition. In the Wild Inventions theme, kids enter the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge. You could plan your whole homeschool year around such competitions.
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