I imagine you are probably pretty overwhelmed right now.
It’s a scary time already with this pandemic…Then add to that, many of us were already financially struggling and this situation is just making things much worse…and now public school parents are also being thrust into a world of educating their children at home without any choice or preparation…A role that those of us who made the CHOICE to homeschool put a LOT of time, research and preparation into before we dove in, willingly!
It’s scary and hard and completely overwhelming!!
I hear you. I can imagine how you must be feeling. I know how hard it is for ME, as a 14 year veteran of homeschooling 2 kids that I CHOSE and PREPARED to homeschool!
Let me first start with a BIG OLE VIRTUAL HUG for you.
Because I think you probably need it.
And let me also tell you to HANG IN THERE. You can do this.
You WILL get through this. Just take it ONE DAY AT A TIME.
And now I am going to give you some tips (in no particular order) to help you out. But just know that YOU. CAN. DO. THIS. And you and your children can come out of this on the other side with a stronger relationship and not a damaged one. That’s the goal here, ok?
Here’s tip number one…and THE most important one:
#1: When things aren’t working, DITCH THE PLAN and just CONNECT WITH YOUR KIDS.
Nothing is worth damaging your relationship with your children.
Let me repeat that: NOTHING is worth damaging your relationship with your children!
And IF you are struggling, and they are struggling….IF you are bonking heads and they are fighting you:
THERE IS NO LEARNING HAPPENING ANYWAY.
If there are any number of the following:
- Angry words
- LOUD PROTESTATION
- Hurt feelings
- Extreme frustration
- Severe confusion
There. is. NO. learning. happening.
Trust us homeschoolers when we say this. We’ve learned the hard way!
No one can learn in that kind of environment, so DON’T PUSH THROUGH THAT, It’s a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY.
And even worse:
It could damage your relationship with your child.
So just stop.
Try again in an hour, or tomorrow (or next week!) with a clear head and happier attitudes all around.
#2: If it’s possible, just take this time to PLAY:
- Play games-both inside and outside…(just stay away from other people, of course!) Board, card, digital, and physical/playground games, whatever you are into! I started a Pinterest board to save links to ideas for this sort of thing if you want to check it out.
- Watch good videos-educational AND also not. There are a TON of great options for this being posted on social media daily as all sorts of companies and organizations make more and more neat things available! Did you know that the National Theatre is going to stream a free play every Thursday night? Sir Patrick Stewart is reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets every day on Twitter! Here are 12 Museums around the world that offer virtual tours! There’s tons of this great stuff all over! Go looking for things that appeal to your family!
- Read lots of good books-order physical books online and get ebooks and audiobook downloads from your library! Does your library use the Libby app? It ROCKS! If you have little ones, check out Sesame Street’s “Caring for Each Other” program, as they are giving free access to over a hundred ebooks. There’s also the International Children’s Digital Library with over 4000 scanned books from around the world and Storyline Online where celebrities read books to children.
- Listen to awesome podcasts (and audiobooks!) iTunes is FULL of great options! Here’s a few to get you started: Brains On!, Storynory, Biddy Bedtime Stories Podcast, any of the Fun Kids podcasts…and here’s a great article with a list of a whole lot more!
- Do projects-with stuff you already have around the house (blanket forts, anyone??), cook together, make some of those crafts you’ve meant to do for years…Here’s a post about some fun things to make with all those TP rolls! Type your supplies into a Pinterest search and see what you come up with!
- And just BE with your children during this scary time. Ask them what THEY want to do with you! Catch up with them during this time that you don’t have to be so BUSY!
All of the above can be educational, but more importantly, this time could be a bonding time for your family instead of a stressful time, if you allow it.
Reconnect. Make this a special time and don’t even worry about formal homeschooling, if you are able to.
#3: If you have the need to have a more structured learning time, consider doing some of these creative and fun learning ideas…
These ideas are almost entirely created and shared by homeschooling families, designed to make learning come ALIVE by providing a different take on learning. Many of us homeschoolers have gotten very creative with learning! We thrive on making learning interesting and fun!
Honestly, if you have a kid that is super into something, just Google that thing and put “homeschool” in the search and I bet you can find a homeschool blog somewhere with ideas!
- Experience-Based Learning: This is a system I came up with awhile back that is based on kids learning around experiences vs academic subjects. You have stations but instead of subject-based stations, you have experience-based ones…so you have a “Watch Something” station and a “Read Something” station, and so on…6 in all: Read, Write, Watch, Listen, Play, Create. And then I do add a math station, though later I changed the name to “Solve Something” (but I do personally use a math curriculum for this.) Check out the link above to learn more about this fun system.
Subscribe to my email list to get word when my posts come out because I plan to do an update on my EBL post soon that will offer a simplified version of the system for distance learners and isolation schooling.
- Homeschooling with the Amazing Race: My family and I are super into the CBS reality tv show “The Amazing Race” as a family. As we homeschoolers do, I wanted to find a way to make it even more of a learning experience. So I created a fun, interactive Country Report for my kids to do to learn about the countries the racers race through in between episodes.
I then took things further and started creating online courses to sell to other families with lots of great activities based around my Experience-Based Learning system. I created courses for seasons 26 and 27 and then later I decided to move them to a new website, so they are not currently available on my new website yet.
During our “shelter in” time, I am working furiously to get these moved over (and doing a LOT of improvements as I move things) and share them with others. So stay tuned to Tina’s Learning Adventures (Facebook page) for when those are up for sale!
- Traveling Through History with Doctor Who: also check out the Facebook group by the same woman that created these lessons, and my Pinterest board where I’ve compiled more resources on homeschooling with Doctor Who. This is a fantastic way to learn history for all of us Whovians out there!
- Homeschooling with Star Trek: Check out my Pinterest board full of great webpages about this! A fun way to fit some learning in for us Trekkies (or “Trekkers”, whichever term you prefer.)
- Homeschooling with Star Wars: Check out my Pinterest board full of great webpages about this! Fabulous learning ideas for us Star Wars fans!
- Indy in the Classroom: This is a website that is full of learning ideas and resources using the Adventures of Young Indiana Jones series. This series is only available on DVD currently. There are 3 volumes (box sets) total: The Early Years, The War Years, The Years of Change. Here is the list of all the episodes’ and their historical figures.
- Magic Schoolbus: Scholastic has lesson plans for some of these awesome books. There is also these lesson plans for K-2nd created by a homeschool mom that use the video series. If you Google, I bet you can find even more.
- Carmen Sandiego: The new Netflix series has a whole website jam-packed full of educational resources!
- Gameschooling: Learning through GAMES! This is a huge topic on the homeschool communities all over! There are entire Facebook communities for it! I recommend this one: Gameschooling (Teaching with Games). Here’s the website of the homeschool mom that runs it: Homeschool Gameschool. If you Google, you’ll find a ton of more sites, articles and info. It’s a very popular topic. There’s even an entire Game Curriculum.
#4: Find existing online learning environments to tap into.
(Again, if you need structured learning)…There are tons of these online learning environments. Some are free, some are not. Your school may have already given you a subscription to some. Below are just a few that I know of…there are TONS online.
- Khan Academy: all ages, all subjects. Free. You name it, they teach about it. In all sorts of ways, including tons of videos and interactive learning. Here’s Khan Academy’s YouTube channel to explore.
- Khan Kids: For ages 2-7yrs. Free. Younger kids version of Khan Academy. Here’s a great video to show what this is about.
- CK-12: all ages, all subjects. Free. Online learning with interactive digital textbooks. Here’s a video that shows what it’s about.
Here is CK-12’s YouTube channel.
- Discovery Education: By the Discovery Channel…tons of educational videos (many are quite old and boring, but there are a lot of really good ones too! They had the entire Time Warp Trio series on there, last I checked…Cartoon series that is a really fun way to learn history!
This is a paid subscription service, but please note the link I have sent you to is the Coronovirus response, where DE has said that for those districts that are not currently subscribing to their services already, you simply need to have someone in the district or school to submit the online form and they will give you access for free for the remainder of the school year. So if you don’t currently have access, send that link to your school to see about getting free access!
Here’s Discovery Education’s YouTube channel videos to explore.
- BrainPOP: Awesome educational videos and interactive learning. This is also a paid subscription, but they are currently offering families and schools a free subscription during this pandemic! Learn about how to sign up here.
Here are videos to explore about BrainPop on their YouTube channel.
- Crash Course: for older students. These videos are AWESOME and FUNNY! But John does talk FAST. I often slow down the YouTube video speed to be able to track what he’s saying.
Free videos and they used to have free lesson plans that they provided on that site, but for some reason, they seem to have taken them down…so I scoured the web and found them for you and saved to my Google Drive so that they won’t disappear again. You can access them here. Go ahead and save them to your own Google Drive and share them with anyone that might like to also have them! There’s a teacher file (the “curriculum” pdf) and a student file for each unit. 6 units total.
- Kids Discover Online: Grade 3-8, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. Paid service, but very affordable. Check pricing here. Lots of great interactive online learning. We really liked this service when we had it. Here are videos to explore about Kids Discover Online on YouTube.
- Moby Max: K-8, all subjects. Just like so many services, Moby Max is offering schools free service for the remainder of the school year. Check out the link I sent you and send to your school to see about getting a subscription if they don’t already. Here’s some videos about Moby Max.
Well, that’s all I got for now…but I am sure I’ll think of more things…so join my email list to make sure that you get a notice when I send out more posts!
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More soon! Leave a comment below and let me know what your experience is with the resources above!