Homeschooling Essentials: Movers and Shakers

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Welcome to Day 5 of the Homeschooling Essentials series! Are you enjoying it? Are you gleaning from it?

The final thing I’ll post about as being an essential of homeschooling is what I’m going to call the “movers and shakers.” What are those? Those are the fun things, the games, the activities that get your kids up and moving, up and shaking. The things that turn your kids themselves (and maybe including  you, too) into the movers and shakers!

movers shakers
These really are essentials. I know this because I’ve not done very well – in fact, I’ve done horribly – about including them in our homeschooling experience. Where we are sitting right now has shown me that the movers and shakers really are more necessary than I’ve ever given them credit for being. They are every bit as important as The Three R’s.

Movers and Shakers

As I mentioned, we haven’t been doing a very good job of this. So, writing this post and telling you that movers and shakers are necessary, is a little difficult. You see, I don’t have very many suggestions on what you might include. I just know that we haven’t been doing them. So, I’m going to start out with a few things that we’ve done in the past that my kids either enjoyed at the time, or continue to ask to do even today.

  • Science Projects! Yes, that’s right – we don’t get around to doing science projects very often.Most of the ones we’ve done have been out of the CKE science books put out by Bright Ideas Press. (Affiliate link!)
    • We did a terrarium years ago which was a big hit. The kids even gathered up critters to add to it. Did you know that lightning bugs eat snails? They do! (And, thus, they don’t make very good terrarium companions. Just saying.)
    • Growing crystals. We totally used a kit. I really have a special dislike for those kits, without well-written instructions, and with materials that aren’t of a high enough quality for the project to work. This one did – finally.
    • Volcano! Everyone does this one, right? It’s one I always dreaded doing, and still the best loved project the boys have ever done.
    • Earth model – for the layers of the earth. From play doh. The kids loved it, and it was super easy.
    • Glaciers! This one was really easy to put together, and they learned more from this unit than probably any other.

A few other things we’ve done on random occasions:

  • Seasonal decorations, especially Christmas and often Valentine’s Day.
  • We baked an Apple Pie as part of a unit this past fall.
  • The kids made wooden swords once, and cardboard swords and shields another time. Those things never last long enough for pictures.
  • We’ve done lapbooks from time to time, and the kids waver back and forth as to whether or not they like them.

I’m sure we’ve done more projects than that. I’ve been homeschooling kids for almost 8 years now. I’m sure we’ve done the movers and shakers thing in the past. I’m sure I did it in the beginning. It’s just been long enough since I was making any attempt at it that it’s hard to remember. I excused myself from movers and shakers class when we got so involved with scouting, and hubby was doing many arts and crafts and fun outdoorsy things with the kids. We stopped doing scouts things last spring -for the most part – when they made their political decision to change their membership policy. It’s time for Mom to step it back up and do the movers and shakers again.

Movers and Shakers This Year

I’ll readily admit that in my plan for the year, I havent planned out very well for our movers and shakers. It’s kind of been in the back of my mind, and I have a general idea of a few things we’re going to do, but I don’t have a method or plan of attack. Here are some of my random thoughts for the moment.

For art, we’ll do at least one “project” each week, on Fridays. When I say project, I mean easy stuff. Stuff Mom can show the kids how to do, or just tell them, and they can spend an hour or two having fun with it and doing it. This optical illusion pin inspired that decision. I’ve pinned several ideas to my Art and Music pin board. I hope to gather more of these types of projects – fun, even lengthy sometimes – but easy to put together and do.

pinterest movers and shakers

For music, the two middle boys received instruments for Christmas. They’ll be doing lessons via DVD, via, and via YouTube if needed. I’m hoping that by this fall, we can sit as a family and do some awesome praise and worship together! My high schooler already plays the drums. For him, I plan on grabbing the audition music for the local area youth ensemble so that he can audition in the fall. He needs practice under a director, and some practice with melodic instruments. I can totally handle that.

Actually, Schoolhouse Teachers probably has many movers and shakers I can utilize.

For health and physical activity, the real movers and shakers, I was blessed to receive a full curriculum package through a giveaway on another blog. We now own what I think is Core 1 from Family Time Fitness. I can’t wait to use it for a while and bring you guys a review on it! Admittedly, I haven’t looked at it closely enough yet to know what all it entails, but I know it’s about the movers and shakers and getting the whole family active together. I’m pretty sure that it also incorporates some health and fitness educational learning as well. I’m excited to get started! (Health is on the list for this year, for the whole family, so this has been on my radar for a while.)

Projects – our history and science books are chock full of movers and shakers activities. Our Illuminations curriculum has some fun stuff to go with the literature (which often corresponds with our history). I want to make the commitment to do one of the really easy science projects – said that way because the ones in these books are almost always really easy to implement – every week. That’s all of them – one unit per week. It’s not unreasonable. I also want to do a history project or two every month. Mystery of History is awesome about movers and shakers projects. I’m not awesome about doing them.

I want to do some nature study. We need it. And we need a garden. Good combination, you’d think, except that this has been true for a number of years. Our gardening attempts have failed. Maybe Mom should do container gardening.

I want to be involved with helping the boys earn badges in our new outdoors character program – Trail Life USA. And I want to go camping!! I miss it, actually.

And I want to play games. Sure, the games can and maybe SHOULD be educational. But I need a time every week, maybe multiple times each week, where we can actually sit and play the games. I need a list of good games, some of which we already have, some that we can fake or make with what we have, and some of which we might acquire through the year. And you know what? Maybe not all the games have to be educational. Some of the movers and shakers games can just be for pure fun – Twister, for one. Dance Party on the Wii for another one. Maybe Wednesday should be Wii night after church!

What are YOUR Movers and Shakers?

So help a girl out, yall. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re a homeschooler too. You’re a mom, stumbling your way along this homeschooling life just like I am. What do you do in your homeschool for the movers and shakers? What do you do that’s fun? What do you do that gets things pumping? What are some of the projects you’ve enjoyed the most?

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials
Don’t forget to visit my friends and see their idea of Homeschooling Essentials!

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Julie @ Nurturing Learning
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Nicole @ Journey to Excellence
Adriana @ Homeschool Ways
Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Sarah @ Delivering Grace


  1. Jaynessa says

    I love this one! We use lots of movers and shakers too! We’ve done pyramids from marshmallows, a volcano, Egyptian “bricks”, owl pellets, cut open a birds nest, flowers, plants, oh my we’d done so many they all get jumbled up in my head! We truly love hands on anything! OH! We did an edible cell, and we got all dressed up like Egyptians and Mummies, we bake constantly, and Logan loves when we do anything edible that relates to his FIAR stuff. :)

    • dalynnrmc says

      I like the hands-on stuff, I just seldom get to it. I don’t know if you know this about me (*cackle*), but I’m actually quite artistic. I just hardly ever have the chance to break out the crafty stuff and get all artsy-fartsy. I’m making an effort this year though, partly because I recently asked my husband if there were any areas where I DO fit the image he grew up with in his mind about the perfect wife. He said, the artsy-fartsy stuff. :)

  2. says

    Totally agree that this what helps our kids become the best version of themselves. Just last night we put the finishing touches on a creative writing assignment that the girls loved because it came out of a craft activity that allowed them to be themselves. I’ll be posting that on my blog on Monday. But you are right, the “fun” stuff is really where they learn the best. Well said here.
    Lori H recently posted…5 Ps of Homeschooling Essentials – ParaphernaliaMy Profile

    • dalynnrmc says

      And that’s exactly the kind of thing I forget to do, or decide that I don’t have time to do. I think my problem is that most of these types of things take PLANNING, which takes time management, which is an issue for me. Thanks for taking the time to comment! God bless!