In uncertain times, it brings me the most comfort to be a helper, offering up my own gifts and resources in hopes of helping someone else. I know right now many are donating to food banks, helping elderly friends and family gather necessaries while avoiding shops, while those who are trained in the healthcare field are prepared to roll up their sleeves and jump right in. My offering is trivial when looking at a pandemic, but I do suspect this list of homeschooler secrets may come in handy for families at home with their kids in the coming days.
Without further ado…
Go- to resources from a homeschooling family to yours
Understand that individual education will look different than a classroom setup. Classroom teachers are accommodating everyone’s needs (IEPs, bathroom breaks, questions, and other disruptions). Your child can learn as much in a couple of concentrated hours at home as they can in the entire day they spend in the classroom. People are much more likely to retain information if it is relatable, relaxed, and applicable right now. Seek to find moments of connection rather than intense study. The latter will likely leave everyone exhausted and grumpy. The most important thing in our home is to preserve our relationships. There aren’t many things, even grades, that are more important than everyone feeling heard and respected.
Ok….. here goes…
I’m going to state the obvious here, but YouTube can be a simple but brilliant resource. We often pop on something during breakfast to strike conversation and occasionally, further research. We’ve loved various series (BBC documentaries such as Victorian Farm), but also just seek out answers to our current questions ( what does a bat eat?what is a virus vs bacteria?calligraphy lessons anyone?….you name it)
All three kids ages 3,6,10 write in a journal over breakfast. I ask for one line, to remind themselves of their life now, when they are 80. Frequently they write more, other times they struggle, so we brainstorm together. Obviously, our three year old draws, if he is interested.
Drawing with Kids Art Hub
Kids Art Hub (YouTube) has provided our kids lessons in drawing, focus, and attention to detail for close to three years now. This has been great for us since around the age of five, with gentle supervision, but our ten year old still uses it happily.
Classes with Outschool
Outschool is an option growing in popularity with homeschoolers. We’ve never actually used it, but we know many who have. People (parents, teachers, professionals and amateurs ) offer courses designed specifically for kids. There are single classes available as well as ongoing sessions, and the payments vary. We’ve been eyeing up some cooking classes, sewing classes, and math, but the possibilities are endless.
Streaming sites have various documentaries and educational shows we’ve indulged in. A few of our favs are Planet Earth, You Vs Wild, and Magic School Bus. We typically follow up with conversation, which will often lead us on a search for more info. This is learning in its most natural state. The best thing we can do is teach our children to find the answers themselves.
Teach Your Monster to Read
Sparkle Stories is a beautiful resource… an app filled with audio stories. There are free stories available through iTunes. It’s helped to develop attention spans, imaginations, and the follow up conversation is something that connects us. The Libby and Dish series is a sweet story for young children, while there are stories available for older kids as well…we love Martin and Sylvia and Windward Ho.
For young children
Don’t overlook the value of being responsible for the family laundry, meal prep, clean up, and more. These tasks are essential to the treasury of life skills our kids will require as they grow.On a daily basis, all of us wash, dry and put away the dishes TOGETHER, and tidy up our house before dinner. Building this into our routine has helped to prevent whining and refusal, since it’s just something that has become our normal. Everyone is rewarded by seeing our hard work after tripping over our day’s mess.
Model learning… If time allows, take up a new hobby alongside your child. Teach them that learning is lifelong….delve into photography, wood carving, macrame, or research a period of history you find fascinating and talk to your kids about what you’re learning.
Explore Language and Literature
Brave Writer offers units to go along with their novel selections. At the bottom of the page linked, you can find these resources. We read through one novel together in about a month and complete the language-based assignments together. I use this for my 10 year old, but there is something for all age groups. I also find purchasing the individual months very affordable, and will be beneficial for short-term homelearners.
The Power of Nature
Seek outdoor time daily, if this is possible and safe for your family. Nature can calm and reset us after the most stressful times. Grumpy kids almost always come inside happier (grown ups too!). Consider starting a nature journal to keep track of signs of spring, or learn to water colour paint what you see around you.
We’ve always enjoyed activity crates from KiwiCo. In fact, we’ve been fans since they were just offering Kiwi crates. Now they offer a variety of boxes, sent in the mail to your child, filled with crafts and other STEAM projects to keep kids ages 0-104 (their numbers not mine) busy. The link in this suggestion offers us both a deal if you sign up.
Get To Know Your Child
Explore your child’s passions together. Look up videos, ask questions, write about them together. Fake being interested until you actually are!
READ READ READ
Read aloud, read the same books as your older children, listen to audiobooks to enrich your inner world, vocabulary, and conversations.
Teachers Pay Teachers
Many free resources are available at Teachers Pay Teachers, while most others are reasonably priced. We supplement our learning with activities and worksheets from many of the teachers offering up their classroom assignments here,
Lastly, remember to enjoy each other. If the environment becomes tense, it’s best to offer a change of pace. Snack anyone?
This post will be updated as more ideas come to mind. Please feel free to check back for more suggestions as they come to me.
Asking myself, what do I have control over?
The strangest thing I’m experiencing during this isolation are the strong, opposing feelings which are becoming a part of everyday life. I’m sure I cant be alone in this.
A bit of homeschool panic
notes from the inside…well, kinda
A thing I’ll be doing to document this strange period in our history.