We wanted to jot down some quick ideas to be able to provide resources for temporary homeschooling situations that may arise in your life.
Currently, at the writing of this post, much of the world has gone on a social distancing and self-quarantine to help alleviate the burden on the healthcare system to slow the spread of Coronavirus or COVID-19. As such, many schools in the United States have gone to distance learning or extended spring breaks.
As a result, we see many that are asking for advice and ideas to help get through the next few weeks with home education ideas. As a homeschool graduate and as a homeschool mom, homeschooling is certainly not new to me.
Here at TheThriftyCouple.com, we do not focus on homeschooling or education. We have an occasional post on some educational ideas, or freebies, but this is not the focus of our site.
However, desperate times call for some unexpected topics and articles. I will also state that I am in no way giving you a comprehensive plan! But throughtout my life, I have personally encountered a number of parents that have found themselves in an unexpected, unplanned or emergency type of homeschooling situation due to bullying, health issues, travel and other life-experiences that can cause upheaveal in a family’s life.
I have personally shared ideas and advice to ease and start homeschooling to help them make a gradual transition without feeling overwhelmed to the point of madness and hysteria in the home.
While I do not consider myself an expert, I wanted to throw in my two cents during this trying time on our nation. Millions of families have found themselves in a homeschool-like situation. I am sharing what I share with emergency homeschoolers. This is not comprehensive and the world of homeschooling is incredibly vast, but this is more than enough to help give your child a well-rounded education over the next few weeks/months.
Basic Principles To Remember
Let me start off by sharing some “ground rules.”
1. What a wonderful opportunity for you! The most important thing to remember during this time is love, patience, grace and being thankful for this forced time to really spend some great time with your child.
2. Throw expectations out the window! Don’t put pressure on yourself. The most important things and memories for your kids during this time is to relax, enjoy and slow down. I am an intense, never-stop person and I have learned that my style is damaging to my children. They need to learn and grow in their own way and every child is different. Just learn their styles and adapt.
3. Do.Not.Compare. Period. Do not go online and see what others are doing or see how they are doing things and think this is the only way or the right way. Every family’s style is as unique as the family itself. There are no standards that apply to everyone. If your day is chaotic, sporadic learning with play, sleeping in and doing school at night, it’s ok!
4. Only do what’s natural. While I do think some structure in general is good for kids, if it causes more stress, don’t make a strict schedule. Perhaps have generalizations and feed and sleep at a consistent time, but in terms of work time, it’s ok to relax! Learning is an all day adventure, it’s not only when they have their noses stuck in a book.
Where to start – 3 Steps to Implement
We encourage a “read, watch, do” type of concept where you will learn and read about the topic. Next is to watch something related to it to further seal it in the mind. Finally, complete an activity to further solidify the information!
For older children, using the read, watch and do PLUS add the elements of research, write and present. The process of the first three learning methods, combined with the ability for the child to research on their own, write a paper or summary and then give a verbal presentation will hit the various learning methods in older children as well!
Here are some ideas on how where to start for the next few weeks. In addition or to replace whatever is happening in your community, these ideas can help you lay a good foundation and build from that!
Most homeschoolers (us included) don’t use just these ideas below, but most of us have invested into individual textbooks for each subject, grade and child and generally have a more comprehensive plan. However, I am NOT sharing permanent ideas with you. I am sharing ideas that can be applied to those temporary situations, or for those that want to “test” it before fully diving in, or in the odd situation of a temporary world-wide social distancing (hopefully this is the only time in our lives this scenario arises). Regardless, this will be enough to really get the educational creative learning juices flowing nicely at your home!
- Buy a whole-year curriculum-based workbook like Brain Quest or School Zone Workbooks– they are super cheap and create a good foundation. Buy the grade that your child would be in. This is a daily exercise and practice in the required subjects for their grade. Have them do a couple of pages in each subject each day or so.
- For history, a really fun and easy activity is to use Google to find out what happened this week or day in history. We use YouTube for things like this quite a bit. I will quickly research a topic and then turn to YouTube to see if someone has created an educational video on the subject. Afterwards, I will Google free worksheets to print off for that topic to help the hands-on learner absorb the information. So we will read, watch and do on whatever we are learning. This is good for history as most of those all-in-one subjects do not have history, but this same concept works with any subject.
- That leads me to science! The all-in-one workbooks do have science in them and they can do some quick learning, but then you are able to add to it by following the read, watch, do steps shared in #2.
- Use this concept for math too! Watching videos on YouTube or Kahn Academy really helps to solidify the concepts for you and for your child!
- Those all-in-one workbooks will teach some geography and social studies. Use the topics that they have in those books to further expand on concepts through the use of the “read, watch, do.”
- Just read…a lot! Reading fiction, reading non-fiction, reading articles on current events (depending on the age) and then have them write and/or present what they have learned to help solidify the concepts!
- For teens, not only are the all-in-one books good, but go buy an SAT or ACT prep workbook. This covers what they need and then add reading materials and even the “read, watch, do” but also had research, writing and presenting for these older kids on these concepts.
- Khan Academy has a schedule for 4-18 year olds, which is a fantastic resource to stay on track. Combined with the ideas above, you will be able to cover all corners of education and more!
A Few Cheap/Free Resources To Bookmark
- We really like SuperTeachWorksheets.com for printable resources on nearly everything that helps with the additional “do” part of school. They have a lot of free printables, but we pay the membership fee of $25 per year to access everything! This is worth it, even if just used for a short time, but you will probably find it useful during any school break!
- ABCMouse is FANTASTIC for your preschooler – second grade. So worth the $8 per month, but you get it free for 30-days! We actually did an in-depth review a few years ago. Check out the written post HERE and the video review HERE.
- Apps galore! I especially love apps for flashcards as they have flashcards apps for everything from math to geography in all of the grade levels. If you see your child needing some additional help in a certain area, google what apps will help solidify the concepts they need help with.
- The Geography Games on Sporcle.com – FANTASTIC! My kids have learned the names of the countries and so much more with this game-ified geography learning.
- Music learning- my kids have learned many concepts through learning songs related to that! For example, the periodic table song is awesome!
- Consider a Science subscription like Mel-Science. We have been members for a year and get a new kit each month for $30. This is one of the best educational investments we have made. It is not enough science but there is a lot to learn and build off of in the concepts and experiments they are learning.
- Again, Google, YouTube, Khan Academy become your best friends. If you have a Disney+ streaming membership, they have the National Geographic Channel, which has some great educational shows! These resources will answer many questions for you, whether you teach it to your kids after you learn or if they watch directly.
- The library! But of course your libraries may be closed like ours. However, they often have MANY resources online.
Teach Basic Life Skills – Home Economics to the Core!
Use your time at home to teach basic living concepts! I have to be honest and say that I really appreciate what this kid says in this YouTube video.
Honestly, he’s right!
- Teach your kids to do the taxes with you.
- Teach your kids to cook and bake.
- Teach your kids to do laundry.
- Teach your kids to garden.
- Teach your kids to clean.
- Teach your kids to balance the checkbook.
- Teach them about the necessary requirements to live life that schools don’t have the resources to cover!
These are all FANTASTIC learning opportunities and just as important as book work.
Have mass amounts of FUN!
Send them outside for a nerf battle, baseball, soccer, tag, etc. Go PLAY and PLAY HARD!!
Get fresh air and sunshine!
Screentime is FINE and probably needed so you can also get work done. Don’t stress about it, but also try putting playdoh, legos, markers, scissors, glue, glitter, magazines, watercolors, paper and let them get creative.
How to Balance School and Work…All From Home
I am a work-at-home homeschool mom. It’s hard to homeschool six children and work the equivalent to nearly full-time hours. Everyday, life changes. But one thing I try to do is work early and let them sleep in. Sleep is very important for healthy growth of our children and they often don’t get enough in the school years. So let them sleep in and this gives me quiet time in the morning to get focus work done. In the 2-3 hours I have in the morning, I can get the equivalent of 4-6 hours done.
“Sleep is very important for healthy growth of our children and they often don’t get enough in the school years. So let them sleep in and this gives me quiet time in the morning to get focus work done. In the 2-3 hours I have in the morning, I can get the equivalent of 4-6 hours done. “
Then I really put good focus into my kids the rest of the morning/day and work again starting around 3-4 pm into the evening as needed.
But there are some days that I need to get more work done. I will let my kids know the expectations and we will have 2-3 hours of me teaching them hands-on and then the afternoon is creative learning and play where I will put a bunch of materials in front of them for them to get creative, where they can go outside and play, where they can watch those YouTube videos to help solidify a concept and where they can watch those educational shows from channels like National Geographic. I will work in 2 hour stints and they know that they cannot interrupt me once I get stuff set up for them, unless there’s an emergency. On these occasional days, they know that i will focus on them for a few hours and they need to give me the rest of the day. This may be your reality everyday if you are working from home AND homeschooling too! And that is perfectly fine!
You will probably find that the 2-3 hours your get with your kids each day are massively productive and they will have absorbed so much information in such a short time, that they will need an afternoon for just fun!
How to Control the “Snack Attack”
Finally, if you homeschool, your food bill can go up quite a bit from the snack attacks! Snacking can get out of control for homeschool kids! We are in a constant battle to keep our kids from eating everything.
“We are in a constant battle to keep our kids from eating everything. “
But one thing I have found that works the best for us on the days I am intentional about it is that we ban them from the pantry or fridge, but we will set up a snack tray for the day and that’s all they get between meals. They will learn quickly to ration throughout the day.
The tray will have veggies, fruits, crackers and sometimes things like olives, cheeses, etc. I basically fill it each morning after breakfast with things we have on hand that need to be eaten up! Popcorn is also a fantastic snack as it is cheap and goes a long way.
Take this as a warning, if you do not set strict ground rules on snacks, it will get out of control FAST! Believe me, I know. 😉
Time for YOU to share too!
There are hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers in this country and many of you that also continue school education during summer break. I have shared a very quick summary, but it would be so great to have any of you leave your ideas, resources, tips and tricks in the comments below!
Please share your thoughts too so all can get through this time!