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 learning—introducing
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
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.
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
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
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.