5 Ways to Change the Mood on a Difficult Homeschool Day

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Let’s keep it real here. There are days that homeschooling is not fun. Not even close. Days that we watch that yellow bus drive past and wonder, “What if?” Thankfully those days are few and far between, but when they hit, we really need a couple of quick ideas up our sleeves to turn the tide… and FAST!

mom and daughter acting silly with pencils as mustaches

Don’t wait until your kiddo is in tears to change the mood. The goal is to keep homeschooling that day without having to punt and throw the schedule for the day.

So let’s talk about our top 5 ways to change the mood on a difficult homeschool day.


Sometimes we get so caught up in teaching, we forget to be just Mom. The mom that likes to laugh and have fun. What makes your children laugh is unique to your own family, so do what works for you! But remember that laughter is contagious, so when you start, they will follow suit! Here are few ideas we have used in the past that have worked for us. Some may sound perfect for little ones, but I promise, if you pull some of these out with your tweens and teens, they will roll over laughing too! Sometimes the element of surprise combined with any one of these will do the trick.

  • Tell a really corny joke. I always needed to keep a joke book handy for this one.
  • Make a funny noise. (Farting noises are super popular with young boys… ask me how I know.) 🙂
  • Watch a silly video. (Have these ready to go, pre-screened, and in your favorites list.)
  • Make silly faces.
  • Read a funny book.
  • Do a fun dance.

Once you’ve had a good laugh, maybe grab a drink and snack and try to refocus and get back to the schedule.

Pull Out a Game

Or after a round of laughter, change directions for a little while. If you are like me, you have a stash of educational games that are FUN too! Pull one of those out and invite everyone to join in. And honestly, even if it is not “academic,” it is still educational. They are learning to take turns, be patient, read, and sometimes, how to lose! If you need some ideas on great educational games, we have pulled a bunch together for you and sorted them by subject!!

Go Outside

Sometimes everyone just needs a brain break. When it’s a nice day, I love to have the kiddos go outside with me to work in our garden. Working together in the garden is a great way to get some exercise, and it’s so rewarding when we get to (literally!) enjoy the fruits of our labor! Not only that, but you and your children can even spend some time together over the winter planning for your garden, so you don’t have to wait for warm weather to get started.

In our free printable garden planner for kids, you’ll find pages for your children to use to keep up with your garden from the planning stage to harvesting and enjoying your fruits and veggies! There are pages for keeping up with which plants and seeds you’ll need, deciding which plants should go where, keeping up with the dates you’ve planted and harvested, keeping track of the bugs you find, and more!

Looking for more outdoor ideas? How about printing a free nature scavenger hunt? It can be lots of fun to take your scavenger hunt outside without worrying about setting a certain time for finishing. You might find that you and your children end up spending hours together learning and having fun together!

In fact, there are lots of ways to have fun outside with your kiddos! Some are educational, some provide exercise, some might provide service opportunities, and some are just plain fun.

  • Jump on a trampoline.
  • Swing.
  • Go fishing.
  • Pick some berries. (Be sure to let your children know which ones are edible.)
  • Work in the garden.
  • Look for bugs.
  • If it’s winter, see if you can find signs of life.
  • Hang out with your pets.
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Visit a neighbor.
  • Create your own scavenger hunt.
  • Read a book.
  • Press leaves.
  • Make bark rubbings.
  • And the list just goes on and on!

Go on a Field Trip

Impromptu field trips can be even more fun than planned ones because you get in the car and just go! You look for something that might interest you and stop when you find it! It might mean going to a museum, the zoo, or a park. But it could mean some really interesting things like stopping to see some baby goats or an old car, or watching a train go by or planes take off. It literally doesn’t have to cost a penny (except the gas if you have to fill the tank).

Once we decided to study all the historical markers in our local area. We just got in the car and drove to the closest one. We read it, looked up information online while sitting there, and studied it for a few minutes before heading to the next one. It was an interesting way to spend the afternoon.

Call It a Day

And then there are those days. You know, the days where nothing is going quite right, and we need to just close the books and take a break. It’s ok to take a day off now and then!

We actually homeschool year-round, so I don’t even feel one ounce of guilt when I take one of those days. Other moms I know just build “those days” into the calendar by adding days on at the end of the year so they can still get in their required days. If they don’t use them, they just end the year a little earlier than planned.

Next time you have a difficult homeschool day, we encourage you to give some of these ideas a try! You may just find that the day isn’t lost after all! In fact, it may turn into a fun, productive day after all.

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Let your kids help plan your garden this year with the Children’s Garden Journal. It includes a garden calendar where kids can track what they’ve planted and harvested each month, a grid for garden planning, shopping list for seeds and plants, notebooking pages for the garden, and much more! This Limited Time Freebie is only available thru Tuesday, April 14, 2020! 

Trish and Wendy are the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Homeschool Road Trips, and Only Passionate Curiosity. On Hip Homeschool Moms, they share homeschool how-to information and encouragement. On Homeschool Road Trips, they share opportunities for educational travel with other homeschool families. And on Only Passionate Curiosity, they share printables and craft ideas for your homeschool. They love meeting and encouraging homeschool moms like you, and they sincerely hope you’re encouraged and blessed by their sites and their resources!

mom and daughter acting silly with pencils as mustaches

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Annette has been married to her husband and best friend since 2003. Together they are raising their six children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet all her angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating fun and engaging printables, unit studies and curriculum for homeschool families. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about marriage, parenting, and homeschooling all while maintaining her sanity. She is also the owner of Thrifty Homeschoolers, where she shares free printables and resources from around the web as well as deals on curriculum and homeschooling resources. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Outside time makes such a huge difference in our days!! They focus better, fight less, and things are just plain easier.

    1. Yes! Some good ol’ fashioned Vitamin D and a way to expel that energy is a must here too! 😉

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