Making Homeschooling Fun
If workbooks are getting boring, and cabin fever is setting in, it might just be the right time for you to add some fun to your homeschool. Games, contests, and more can break up any monotony you are facing. You'll find ideas for field trips and extracurricular activities. And you may find that your kids think "doing school" is funner than anything else they can imagine!
Educational Games
Kids who thrive with hands-on learning love educational games. These are a great way to learn while having fun. Browse through our picks for the best educational games out there.
Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are a great addition to the educational experience you provide your children by homeschooling. Here you'll find resources for everything from Scouts to 4H to sports and more.
Holidays
Holidays offer a nice opportunity to enhance your child's learning experience. This listing of holidays offers ideas for celebrating in your home, along with interesting facts about these special days. You'll also find suggestions for incorporating holidays into your home education plan.
Field Trips
Who says homeschooling has to happen at home? Most homeschoolers will tell you that they spend almost as much time out of the house as in it. Field trips are learning opportunties that offer fun ways to make every life experience a learning experience. You'll also find tips and strategies for planning, managing, and attending field trips with your homeschool support group.
Camps
Is your child ready to go out, experience new opportunities, and make new friends? Are you looking for specialized instruction in a particular subject? A camp may be just the ticket. Here you'll find a listing of camps that are great for homeschoolers in Indiana and beyond.
Contests
Entering contests is a fun activity for kids. They can practice their writing skills, learn about new subjects, and may even end up winning a great prize. We've collected some of the most interesting, challenging, and fun contests available for kids to enter.
Car Games
Busy homeschooling families tend to spend a lot of time in the car. Learning doesn't have to stop just because you are on the go. These ideas and games will make the most of your vehicle time, giving your kids fun things to do while on the road.
Penpals
Is your homeschooled child looking for new friends? Are you learning about a different part of the country or world? A penpal may be just what you are looking for. These resources will help your child connect with other homeschoolers in far flung places.
What's Popular
John Ball Zoological Garden
The John Ball Zoo is located on the hillside of a beautiful 140 acre park on the west side of Grand Rapids. Currently the animal collection at the Zoo includes 237 species and 1,183 individuals.
Postcard Kids
Geography Postcard Kids Project started for homeschooled children around the world in October of 2002. It is intended to help enhance geographic studies by sending postcards from their local area to other postcard kids around the world.
Potawatomi Zoo
The Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend has over 600 animals on 23-wooded acres. Highlights include the Australia walk-a-bout with kangaroo, wallaby, and emu. Zoo Farm includes domestic animals such as goat, sheep, alpaca, and pigs. Your safari through Africa features lions, zebras, chimpanzees, warthogs, antelope and three species of old world monkeys. Trek through Asia to view red pandas, tigers, cranes, camels, takins, and two species of leopard. Explore the Americas, home to bison, prairie dog, fla...
Virtual Manipulatives for Interactive Mathematics
This website features online games and interactive activities designed to help children learn and understand mathematical concepts. You can choose any grade level from pre-K to 12, and subjects including numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurements, data analysis, and probability. You'll find virtual peg boards, geoboards, fractals, charts, games, and much more.
Planning Homeschool Field Trips: 10 Things To Do Before You Go
Children enjoy field trips because they’re able to explore new destinations. Parents enjoy field trips because they offer children hands-on learning and specialized information. Farms, museums, gardens, landmarks, industrial centers, battlegrounds, and businesses are great field trip destinations. Educational opportunities at these sites are plentiful, so homeschool parents will want to venture out so their children can glean valuable information. However, in order to experience a worthwhile fie...
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden
At Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, you will see more than 500 animals from 200 species roaming freely in natural habitats surrounded by exotic plants, wildflowers and trees. Our beautiful 40-acre park features a Children's Enchanted Forest, paddle boats, bumper boats, a tram, and the Discovery Center, focusing on the world's vanishing rainforests and animals.
Field Trips in a Large Family
There are lots of things to love about a large family, but being agile and moving about quickly isn’t really one of them. Learning in action and experiencing something first hand is one of the best things about homeschooling. It’s often what really sets apart our education from that of a traditional brick and mortar school. It is worth it to make the effort for field trips, though it doesn’t necessarily make them any easier!
Indianapolis Zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo has approximately 3,800 specimens of 320 species of animals, including 16 endangered species, four threatened species, and 13 Species Survival (SSP) animal species. The Zoo also has more than 1,900 species of plants in its collection.
Letters About Literature
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with Target Stores and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre-- fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author's work changed the student's way of thinking about the world or themselves. Th...
South Bend Chocolate Company Tour
This South Bend, Indiana, company got its start making candy for the University of Notre Dame. They now make licensed chocolates for Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Michigan. They also wholesale their line of chocolates to confectionery stores, gift shops, gourmet food stores, coffee shops and gift basket companies throughout the country. You can see them in action with either a free guided tour or set your own pace with a self-guided tour. Reservations are encouraged...
USA Computing Olympiad /International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI)
The IOI is the premier world wide high school computer programming competition. The USACO supports pre-college computing around the world through computer programming competitions and training materials. The USACO holds six Internet Contests during the academic year, and in the late Spring conducts the US Open, a proctored exam. Based on the results of these contests, 16 students are invited to an all-expense-paid training camp in the early summer, where 4 students are selected to be the US T...
Field Trip Guidelines
Some helpful guidelines from Home School Legal Defense Association. The guidelines could easily be adapted as a list for members of a homeschool group. There is also a helpful checklist for field trip planners.
Activities for Kids: Car Games
A short list of some fun games for traveling by car. Includes "Odd or Even," "I Spy," and others.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo features 43 acres and 1,000 animal species, a train ride, animal contact area, pony ride, and the Rain Forest. Hug a goat in the popular contact area. Take a ride on a pony or the 1860 miniature train. See red pandas, sea lions, penguins, a giant tortoise, and much, much more. Relax in beautifully landscaped grounds and facilities.
Resources
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
The Letter Factory Game
Teaches Phonics! The race is on! With two games in one, children play together and learn letter names and sounds with actions and music. Wacky Professor Quigley guides players every step of the way so no reading is required! Games automatically adjust to skill level, to keep children learning at just the right pace! 2 Games in 1: Counting Colors & Letters: Learn letter names and sounds by matching color cards to move around the board. Leaping Letters: Listen to the name or sound and then find the card that matches it! Includes: interactive card reader, game board, 26 letter cards and 4 playing pieces.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Jr. Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Race around the board in this fast-paced, wonderfully wacky game. Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 1st and 2nd grade skills in math, language arts, life science, physical science, and social studies!
Great States Board Game
What is the capital of NJ? Where is the Football Hall of Fame? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions players are asked as they adventure around the USA discovering state attractions and landmarks, capitals, state abbreviations, state locations and more. In order to answer the questions on the cards, players must look closely at the colorful USA map game board, becoming familiar with the geography of the country. Players must hurry to find the answers as the mechanical timer ticks. Contents: Game board, 100 Figure cards, 100 Fact cards, 100 Find cards, 1 spinner, 1 mechanical timer, and game rules. Duration of Play: 20 minutes. 2-6 players.
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
Visual Brainstorms
Children who love word games, logic puzzles, secret codes, mazes, and math mysteries will stretch their mental muscles with Visual Brain Storms. This set of 100 cards, each of which includes a humorous, full-color drawing, promises "the world's best brainteaser questions." The characters in the questions often have funny names (Professor Pith Bugby pops up often) or faces or dilemmas to solve. The answers and explanations are on the back of each card, along with a related bonus question. Many of the puzzles involve math concepts, spatial reasoning, logic, or sequential thinking, but some can be solved with plain common sense. Here's a sample: "Frank and Helen's annual singles elimination tennis tournament has drawn 18 players this year. How many matches must be played before there is a winner for the year?" Answer: "Every match will produce one loser, and every person other than the winner will lose once and only once. Eighteen players makes 17 losers; therefore it will take 17 matches to have a tournament winner." Visual Brain Storms is a humorous, painless way to improve those higher-order thinking skills. Visual Brain Storms: The Smart Thinking Game is for one or more players. --Marcie Bovetz
Smart Mouth
Ages: 8 years and up; For 2 or more players

Smart Mouth is a quick-thinking shout-it-out hilarious word game that helps build vocabulary skills. It includes variations of the rules for category play and for younger players. Players slide the Letter Getter forward and back to get two letters. The first player to shout out a word of five or more letters using those letters wins the round. The game includes tips for teachers. This is a fun game to play with children and adults together.

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