One of the greatest challenges in homeschooling is keeping things fresh and interesting, day by day, so kids don’t lose interest. There are lots of ways to boost your kids’ excitement for learningintroducing different approaches to learning and reviewing material, giving them new educational tools and resources to work with, inviting them to participate more actively in their lessons, and challenging them to create something new with what they know. Mouse Mischief is a teaching tool and resource that can help you bring all this to your homeschooling environment. It’s a free add-in for PowerPoint that you can download and install fast on your computer, and it enables you to create multiple-mouse lessons with screens that your kids can click answers on using their own mice. Setting up your computer to play multiple-mouse lessons is fast, too, and you don’t need to invest in any special or extra equipment—just round up the mice you have and plug them in so you (the teacher) and your student can start enjoying a new way of learning, with you clicking the Teacher Control, your kids clicking the student mice, and both or all of you having fun. You can use Mouse Mischief with one or two student mice just as effectively as with groups of mice or a classroom of mice.

 

 

 

One immediate benefit of using Mouse Mischief in your homeschool is that it gives you access to 25 free lessons in math, language, science, and ESL that you can play with your kids. You can also check the Mouse Mischief community for more lessons that others have shared—just sign in with your Windows Live ID to access the list, which is continually being updated. You can use these ready-made Mouse Mischief lessons to teach basic concepts, review material you’ve already covered, or supplement other curricular materials you’re using. Kids will enjoy interacting with the material in a new way and look forward to lessons. 
 
Another advantage is that with Mouse Mischief you can tailor lessons to your child’s way of learning and to their progress in a particular subject. Say your child is having a hard time understanding angles. You’ve been over the material provided in your curriculum, but they’re still not grasping it. You can create a Mouse Mischief lesson that presents the material in a new way and uses multiple-mouse slides to make sure they understand each step before moving on to the next one. You can create yes/no and multiple-choice slides they can click answers on, for example. The results pane shows them immediately if they got it right. If they didn’t, you can go over the material again. Maybe your child is a tactile or kinesthetic learner who pays better attention when his or her hands are moving. For them, you can create drawing slides that give them practice completing angles or drawing new angles on their own.

 

The beauty of Mouse Mischief is that anyone can create custom lessons about any subject with it. Want to teach your child about something you can’t find any satisfactory curricular materials for? Create your own Mouse Mischief lesson, using words and concepts you know your child already understands. Is your child more a visual than a verbal learner? Use photos, images, and color schemes that are familiar or especially meaningful or attractive to your child when you create the instructional and multiple-mouse slides.

 

You and your child can create multiple-mouse lessons together, too. Talking with your child about how to present different kinds of material, what questions to ask about the material, and what kind of slides to use to ask those questions can be a valuable part of the learning process. And the two of you will be collaborating—always a good way to invite new learning and sidestep some of the authority issues that can surface when you homeschool.

 

Encourage your child’s creativity and responsibility by asking them to create his or her own Mouse Mischief lesson. They can create lessons as a way to demonstrate what they’ve learned or to introduce materials they’ve covered to younger siblings or other students. If they’re curious about something, dinosaurs or black holes or women scientists, have them research the topic on the web and create a Mouse Mischief lesson that teaches others what they learned and engages them by asking fun educational questions. Teaching is one of the most effective ways to learn.

 

Submit the lessons you’ve created to the Mouse Mischief community to share with others, so the fund of resources keeps growing. Just click Submit a template on the Office.com templates page, enter your Windows Live ID, and follow the instructions for uploading your contribution. 


For more ideas for ways to use Mouse Mischief to keep your homeschoolers engaged in their work and teach them effectively, check out the Mouse Mischief Community discussion, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

 

Try adding Mouse Mischief to your homeschooling toolkit. You’ll be surprised at how rewarding and how much fun clicking with your kids during lessons can be.