As the majority of us know there is a world pandemic going on. It has created stress and worry worldwide as many are trying to navigate being out of work and having to school their children at home. I thought it would be nice to create some tips and tricks from a homeschooling mom to help you navigate teaching your children at home. While some kids are given virtual school work to do, some have been left to figure it out on their own. Either way the best thing to remember is that you don't have to be a "teacher." You don't have to set up a classroom and stick to a schedule just like your child would get in school. Relax a bit. For us homeschool is typically done for a couple hours in the morning, but that may look different for you if you are also currently working from home. Break it up if you have to and do a bit here and a bit there. Homeschooling doesn't have to be structured, there is beauty in the freedom of being able to fit it to your lifestyle.
I think it's important to add in some fun educational activities. You can find some easy science experiments using household ingredients. Make a baking soda and vinegar volcano, dissolve and egg shell in vinegar, make rock candy crystals, make balloon cars, or make pulleys and levers. There are so many different things you could make or create that allow hands on learning. The boys really love chemical reactions, so anything that explodes gets them excited.
You could bake some cookies or teach them how to do the laundry. Use this time to start teaching them about life skills. Cleaning and dusting. They could even pick a recipe and make dinner for the family. All these things may not be considered school but they are so very important to teaching our children how to be functioning adults in the future.
You could always go for a bike ride or walk around your neighbourhood. Go on a nature walk in your neighbourhood and journal about what you discovered. We have started Nature Journaling and the kids love it. Even with social distancing you don't have to go far. Go to your backyard and find a flower. Examine the parts of the flower and have them draw it in their nature journal and label the parts. Collect different leaves and do some leaf crayon transfers. It opens them up to really noticing the small details in the world around us and to express their creativity.
In my blog about Relaxed Homeschooling I talked about board games or educational shows and documentaries. Not everything you do has to consist of paper school work each and every second of the day. Let them watch a documentary about the coral reefs then ask them questions about it. There are so many documentaries on Netflix about animals, the sea, birds, or space. There are even tons of educational shows on Netflix. The boys specifically like to watch things with animals or sea creatures. We like to watch vet shows and documentary series from the Georgia Aquarium.
You can easily make some flash cards for different subjects. The boys do well with flash cards. Sometimes I think they think of it as a memory game. You can make some flash cards with phonics sounds or sight words. You can make flash cards with addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts. We even have flash cards with all the states of the United States and all of the provinces of Canada. The boys particularly like the movement flashcards we have. If you can't get outside to move around this could be a fun alternative. Make some flash cards with different exercises and how many repetitions to do or even have them "crawl like a bear." You can make flash cards for almost anything, the options are endless.
I always think that reading everyday is very important. Whether it's you reading to your kids or you have an hour a day for quiet reading. Reading not only helps develop language skills it also supports creative and imaginative thinking.
There are so many online resources for teaching your kids. You can find resources for computer coding, author storybook read-alouds, free printables for any subject, or even for learning a second language. Take advantage of all the free content out there. You don't have to do every subject every single day unless you want to and your child carves a bit of structure. You can print off 5 math sheets and 5 phonic or language sheets on the weekend to have them on hand for the week.
The biggest thing is not to overwhelm yourself. Do what you can and don't feel guilty if you don't get it all done. Any little bit is still better than nothing. I hope these tips and tricks give you some ideas for those days that just feel way to long. If your having an off day or just struggling with the weight of it all that's ok too. Your not alone and I hope you give some of these a try to ease this time at home with our children. Most importantly spend time with your kids while you can and make lasting memories. They will remember this time, so try and make it as positive of an experience as you can.