Before the school year began for us, we spent a part of the summer putting fresh paint in our kitchen, family room and hallway. We furnished the hall with an organ bench, a self-sticking map of the world (everyone should have one of these - ask for one as a gift if $15 isn't in the budget right now), and a small bulletin board.
The children have taken turns creating displays on the board. My younger son's first display was about beginning a new school year and included pictures of our family. My daughter chose a fall/Thanksgiving theme, and my oldest son created a pictorial pun with the heading "It's Winter Time" over a clock which, instead of numbers, had seasonal items around it's face. It's hands were pointing to the snowflake.
I have given very little guidance and encouraged this as a creative project instead of an assignment. My daughter mostly used stickers on orange paper to make hers. My older son spent most of his time thinking of something he felt was funny and clever and very little time actually erecting the display (it was all black and white and he asked me to make the snowflake). My youngest son is extremely visual, so the colors included and balance of items are really important to him. His turn came around again last week, and he decided to stick with the seasonal bent the other kids have been on but focusing on his obsession of all things farm:
Some fun and unexpected learning has come from these projects, with very little input from me. The children all agree that covering the entire background of the board makes it look nicer. They try to have continuity in the color of tacks they use to pin their items. They figured out how to count the letters and spaces in their heading to center it. They realized that using a pencil first allows them to make changes before going over it with something more permanent. They discovered useful tools and tricks for tracing, sizing, and measuring.
This was a simple idea I added to school just for fun this year, and we will be doing it again. Like most things in homeschool, it was a practical experience that added fun and hands-on learning outside of curriculum. What simple, unexpected treasures have you discovered while homeschooling this past year?