After a few days out of school -- and especially after extended time off for Winter holidays or Spring Break -- it can be so difficult to get students to settle back in to the school routine. What do you do to get them back in the groove? Is the key class management, a fun project, or what?
It's even harder if the classroom is right down the hall from the family room, play room, and bedrooms! Vibrant 'holiday spirits' are quite the distraction for my kids when it's time to settle back into schoolwork. These are the days when I really need to keep myself together, but understand where they are coming from. So I'd say it's a mixture of class management and offering them fun projects that will spark their interest, lead them back to a 'school' environment, but not give them any chance to resent the fact that they're stuck back in school after a good break! Winter break may be over for most students, but winter is still a fun season, so I like my lesson plans to play off of what we like most about this time of year, what makes it special compared to other times of the year. Keeping such a theme (one that may be common, but adding unique bits to it) is how I keep my kids' attention and let them know that even though we're going to be doing a lot more learning than playing, we're still going to have fun.
I guess it is harder for homeschooling families I really do think fun and engagement have to be the key. Honestly, that's probably the crucial point any time of year. If the kids -want- to be involved in the activity (like a great inquiry project focused on their own questions), they're more likely to dive in and think less about the toys in the play room down the hall. Thanks for the reply, Gloria. You're stretching my thinking!