Sudden school closures due to COVID-19 have families entering the homeschooling world by surprise. It’s one thing to homeschool by choice or necessity, but this is quite the different spin on teaching children at home!
But, don’t fear! You can totally do this!
Begin with grabbing Teaching From Rest on Audible. It is a quick, AMAZING listen that will fill your heart with encouragement as you take on this new element of parenting. I listen to it each year when I need a boost and always finish feeling empowered.
After you’ve armored up for your role as teacher mom/dad, it’s time to come up with a plan! Problem is, there are SO MANY resources. Almost too many. I totally get how it can be overwhelming. I’m often overwhelmed! And then I overpack our days, stress out the kids, and have to prompt my own reset/simplification of what our homeschool days look like!
But over our four years of homeschooling I’ve definitely discovered some favorites and I’m excited to share! I’ve had a quite a few friends reach out for recommendations and since I’m still homeschooling my kids amidst all this, I figured it made sense to give ya’ll one clickable space highlighting some of our favorites rather than typing the same thing ten times over. Of course, if you have questions, DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK, I will support you however I can!
Before I get to all our favorites, please remember these important things:
- Do not try to recreate school at home.
- Your relationship with your child takes priority.
- You can do nothing for 2+ weeks and your child will not suffer.
- Read. Read. Read.
- Screens aren’t evil. Aim for appropriate boundaries versus zero tolerance.
- The weather doesn’t have to be nice to go outside.
- Siblings will fight. But, they will also bond.
Now, for those who want to explore some learning opportunities for your kids, here you go!
Find a Pen Pal
Handwriting practice? Spelling practice? Letter formatting? It’s a no brainer that finding a pen pal is a worthy activity for kids of all ages.
Enroll in an Outschool Class
I’ve shared about Outschool before, but truly, it is something the kids and I greatly look forward to. The class options are endless. Kristen Cwynar is our favorite art class teacher and Max loves the Pokemon classes taught by Lauren Ard. Here is a coupon to get a $20 credit for your first class!
Cook! Bake! Grill!
Pull out your cookbooks or teach your kids to use Pinterest (although, beware, this can get you in over your head … I learned that with Jem!). Cooking is the best opportunity for math practice. It’s also a skill worth developing seeing that they’ll have to eat for the rest of their life!
Watch You vs. Wild
This Netflix show follows Bear Grylls in the wild! It’s choose your own adventure style. You use the remote to help me make his next step. Lots of interesting (and gross) survival learning.
Regardless of the weather, my kids are outside everyday. Just unstructured, breathe fresh air, imagine and explore time. Which yes, often leads to baths midday, but hey, that’s no big deal.
Listen to Audiobooks
We’re borderline obsessed with audiobooks. Between Audible (most reliable), Chirp (cheap rotating sale books), Scrbd (free 60 days), and Libby (free library app). We almost always have a family audiobook going and Jemma and Max usually have 2-3 that they’re working through. Here are some of our favorite audiobooks.
Try Out Learning Games on ABCya.com
When my kids finish their daily book work they beg for time on ABCya! It’s learning, but they view it as a privilege. And it’s free!
Improve Typing Skills at TypingClub.com
Jem practices her typing through this free resource. Typing Club one of her favorite things!
Chill Out With Cosmic Kids Yoga
The perfect indoor PE! Cosmic Kids Yoga is a YouTube channel with kid-themed yoga lessons. Think Disney, animals, superheroes … it’s pretty fun!
When it comes to curriculum, I have many of our favorites saved in my Amazon shop for easy ordering. Teaching Textbooks is my top recommendation for math (grades 3 and up, although a 2nd grader can totally do level 3). We have used Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting practice since the beginning. And, probably my most favorite curriculum is Writing With Ease because it is structured for multiple age reading comprehension that introduces classic literature. Books we read clips of in WWE often become our family read aloud or next audiobook pick.
Most days I aim to structure things so the kids toggle between a parent facilitated activity and an independent one. It’s truly amazing what kids can manage on their own. Even Eli, who is 2 1/2 can sit with a pile of picture books for 10 minutes. And Jemma will gladly spend HOURS in her room writing stories and pen pal letters. Max draws every spare moment he has and Reid is my current tagalong who happily folds laundry, vacuums, and cooks with me.
Not homeschooling related, but life at home related, we decided to kick off Eli’s potty training earlier than planned since we’ll have so many days at home coming up! What did you think you wouldn’t tackle until summer that this time now provides space for?
No matter if you map out a schedule for each day or just hang out together reading, playing games, and doling out chores (yes, kids can contribute to housework during this time!) our kids will remember this unprecedented break. Communicate that things are different and that everyone has responsibilities to make the most of this time. Give lots of grace. To yourself and them.
Finally, here are a few resources that I haven’t personally used yet, but plan to explore:
- Growing list of educational subscriptions that are offering free/discounted rates in light of current events
- Virtual museum tours