By Jackie White
Many parents are wondering what they are going to do with their kids now that they will be home a number of weeks. Some schools may provide some online instruction and many will not. As a former homeschooling parent, I would like to say this can be an excellent opportunity to get your kids engaged in learning. There are tons of resources and, along with this guide, you will have a plan to keep your kids brains from melting over the next few weeks.
One thing non-homeschool people don’t always realize is:
EVERYTHING is a learning lesson.
Listen to your kids and what they want to learn about and work it into the day.
Because homeschool is focused solely on your child, a few hours of instruction will be sufficient. A half-day of academics is probably enough.
Before you get all gung-ho and think you are going to knock out an entire grade in a few weeks, let me caution you to start first with some reasonable objectives. Then, from there, temper your expectations. Morale is better served to go after an easier goal with achievement then to have failed at completing a massive list of goals. Here are some ideas:
Occupy time with value-added material
Get a child caught up with missing work
Work on areas of opportunity with your child
Choose a skill to master in a reasonable time frame
Keep practice up in certain critical academic areas
Ignite a passion to learn by providing alternate ways to learn things. Hands on learning or project based learning can help achieve this goal
Age Groups and Expectations
Pre-School - Kindergarten
This group has a lot of energy and can wear you down fast. The good news is they are the easiest to please. The use of lots of books, crafts, outdoor activities all wrapped in an educational topic is the best way to keep learning fun. Switch up the fun often and get them outside to run around!
1st - 5th
This group has a wide range of competencies they could be working on. For each child, this time could be a great time to work on the academics they might need a little extra help with. Mixing that with topics they are interested in makes the day go better. Again switching up activities and getting outside will help things go smoothly.
6th - 8th
These students may be doing work that you are no longer familiar with, which can make teaching them difficult. If your child has an online Google Classroom, check out the topics they are studying and then Google those topics for information and videos related to that topic. You can also look up your school districts syllabus, scope and sequences for classes.
9th - 12th
Again, those days of being able to reconcile an algebraic formula may be long gone, but have no fear, you can do this! The key to managing this group will be setting expectations. Get agreement on spending time on academics, exercise and not a mono-focus on technology (social media or gaming). Address bedtime and waking hours as well. Any parent of a teen will realize that getting your teen up at an acceptable hour may be a battle in itself. Academically, check Google Classroom, school resources or district websites for specifics.
Across all age groups, a plan to follow will be important. For a copy of an example of a homeschool day, click the link below:
The amount of resources available are significant, and you should be able to find something that fits your needs.
Khan Academy - for math, Khan Academy is your friend. It is a free, online math resources that explains all levels of math in very clear and descriptive videos.
You Tube - the world is here for the taking. There are over 500,000 educational videos available. Some videos to check out are Schoolhouse Rock, Bill Nye the Science Guy and The Magic Schoolbus. For older learners, try YouTube Learning. There are so many topics, this is a goldmine of resources!
ABC Mouse - this online resource is for kids 2-8 and, technically, you have to pay for this resource, but there is a 30 day free trial. The curriculum is reading, math, science, art and colors.
PBS Kids Games - has educational online games for younger kids.
National Geographic Kids - has online games which are academically based.
Scholastic Online Learning - is offering free online courses for K-8 grade students.
Online Reading Resources - check out this blog for several options to obtain free online books:
Worth the Money:
Time4Learning - for a price, there is an online resource called Time 4 Learning. It has all levels of classes for K-12 across multiple topic areas. We have had very good luck using this system.
K-12 - has a full curriculum for K-12. The curriculum is top notch and very well done.
Summer Bridge Activity Books: these books are awesome to use during the summer or for homeschool. Books are available in a number of topics by age/grade.
Traditional field trips to a museum may be out, but many museums are offering online tours. This website lists all the museums offering virtual tours: https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/01/20-wonderful-online-museums-and-sites.html
Nature hikes are still an option just as long as the trails aren’t crowded.
Car rides to landmarks that are accessible are also fun. Check out Roadside America app or just google quirky roadside attractions to see which might work best.
Other Fun Stuff:
Popcorn Reading: Make a big batch of popcorn and read!
D.E.A.R. - Drop Everything And Read! This just fun acronym for adding in reading spontaneously into the day.
Deep Space Sparkle: Is my absolute favorite art resource. They have very unique projects that appeal to many age groups.
Make: a Facebook site by that name will be offering free art lessons.
Pinterest: has excellent ideas for artwork, academics and homeschool.
Google: of course there are literally thousands of resources here, but I might suggest looking for any homeschooling curriculum you can use. One of my favorite things to do is to have the kids make a Lapbook. It is a combination of studying a topic and displaying it creatively. Some worksheets or instructions are free and some are available for a small fee.
Life Skills 101: Work with those pre-teens and teens who haven’t mastered key life skills like cooking, laundry, hygiene, bill paying, budgeting, college admissions, driving and/or etiquette.
Take a walk or hike
Online exercise courses
Online yoga and/or meditation
Begin a couch to 5K challenge
Practice a non-contact sport outside
Clean up parks or roadsides
Make cards for elderly or those hospitalized. Although WHO says snail mail cannot carry the coronavirus, you might want to wait to send these until a later date to avoid any possible issues.
Donate to Food Pantry - call before you drop off products to ensure they are accepting donations and how they are accepting donations.
Clean the closets out for donation. Check on when donations are being accepted at your local thrift store
Music can play a big part in a homeschool environment. Baroque music has been shown to help students learn. Play it quietly in the background while they are studying. Dance breaks are great ways to shake off extra energy and infuse some fun into the day. Your teens may want to listen to their music while studying, if that works, then go for it! Practicing instruments are also a great way for kids to use their brains while on a break from school. Maybe you have an instrument lying around that no one knows how to play, then hit up YouTube for lessons!
This is do-able friends! Take the opportunity to spend time with your kids and really tap into what they are interested in. You will both learn a lot about each other and we all may come out being better people because of this.
Take care and Shine On!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.