With school closure, many of you have found yourselves in a position you never imagined. Maybe you DID imagine, but the thought terrified you so much you never looked back. But now many of you are having to school at home. From what I’m reading, some schools are providing more than others. I understand the panic at the thought! As a newbie homeschooling mom, I wanted to drop some encouragement and some schooling ideas that don’t really look like school and offer you some down time!
For starters, school at home doesn’t have to look like SCHOOL. You’re not set up for that, but also you’re not likely teaching 20+ kids. You don’t have to account for keeping all the kids’ attention, you don’t have to keep the masses calm during the change of subjects, and you don’t have to curb the class clown from distracting everyone (unless your kid IS the class clown).
My oldest is in second grade this year, and while we do use curriculum based learning, we also have the benefit of interest based learning. My daughter is obsessed with space, so much of our learning, reading, and math revolves around space! As a second grader we are usually done with school in a 2-3 hour window–this will vary depending on your child’s attention span. It will also be dependent on what plan of action your school puts in place. But be prepared for your school at home day to be much shorter than an actual school day!
Below are some things you can do, or assign to give yourself some free time, while your kids are learning (and they probably won’t even notice!).
Read to them. Have them read to you or siblings. Reading is proven to expand vocabulary and improve spelling. Reading aloud is a great way to bond with your kid in a low key way. But also, the library has awesome apps like Libby & Overdrive where you can check out both digital books and audio books! Once you’ve read a book, or a chapter, let your kid create a movie trailer! If you have an Apple device, let them use the iMovie app, it’s super simple and basically walks you through it. This is a comprehension exercise, like a book report but way cooler! And you have some downtime while they film and photograph!
Does your kid play an instrument? Do they need to practice? Ask them to select two songs and put on a concert at a specific time. They can practice their pieces in preparation, pick an outfit, set up the stage. And again, you have some independent time to yourself. Don’t have a musical kid? Ask them to put on a play!
Pringle’s Ring Challenge – look it up, this one may have to wait until the stores chill out a bit, but using Pringles to make a standing circle is challenging, fun, and tasty!
LEGO challenges – Fox (also found on Hulu) has an awesome show on right now called LEGO Masters full of insane LEGO builds and challenges. All my kids love building with LEGO, it will entertain them for hours on end! Thanks to this show, we can watch a little and then challenge them to a build! Some ideas: House, Animal, Shapes, Maze, Boat
Play Dough Challenges – Same concept, (did you know playing with Play Dough strengthens hand muscles and improves handwriting?) Ask your kids to make: Food, Person, Alien, Boat
Math & Science
Make lunch – teach your kid how to make lunch here’s a helpful list of items they can use for lunch.
Play store – use real money or print some off, and play store! Practicing addition, change, subtraction, and budgeting.
Make them “pay” for lunch – use that same money, give them so much per day, have a standing menu for snacks and lunch. This is a great way to win the “I’m hungry” all day debacle. Many teachers give bathroom bucks to limit unneeded restroom trips, make snack bucks! They get a set amount for the day or week and see how they ration.
Create menus & price items – let your kids go to town on circulars. Cutting out food pictures and pricing. This will help them with both math and cutting skills! Once their menus are in place use your play money to shop. More math and money recognition.
Mud kitchen – I know, it’s messy. But a huge complaint for public schools is their lack of outdoor time. Let your kids get messy, let them be creative. Then hose them down and plop them in the bathtub for some more Mom Downtime! Baths are a huge favorite in my house, my kids will play for hours in a bath.
Flower chains – do you remember flower chains?! Making a tiny slit in the stem of one flower and then sliding another flower through that hole? Such nostalgia and when I taught my kids they went crazy! Picked all the clover and made necklaces, crowns, bracelets, you name it, we flowered it!
Note folding – remember the days of intricately folding notes for your friends at school? Teach your kids! If you can’t remember, don’t worry, Pinterest has got your back!
Edible art – add some food coloring + egg whites and let your kids paint a piece of bread or a tortilla; edible art! Then make french toast or a grilled cheese!
Draw – no, really. Bust out the pencils, markers, crayons and let them use their brains! We love Art for Kids Hub on YouTube, it’s a great resource for drawing and coloring. This dad and his kids do step by step drawings. My kids love this and are always so proud of how their artwork turns out!