With school closings taking place worldwide this month, many families are struggling to find school-based activities related to their children. This current global health outbreak is really causing chaos for families around the world!
As a world schooling family (a family that teaches on the go at home), we don’t have to worry about changes in our schedule, apart from social distance. But for families who usually send their children to traditional schools, it can be challenging to come up with activities in school that relate to their little ones. Especially if they are also responsible for the work.
Even though I’ve taught my kids at home for the past year and a half, I still have to deal with the balance between teaching and work. As a freelance blogger and author, and now as an online English teacher, my schedule is pretty flexible. But even I have days when I have to schedule time for work instead of playing the role of the glorified babysitter.
No matter how you cut it, homeschooling is a challenge. Whether you’re stuck at home or traveling the world, homeschooling requires a lot of patience and juggling priorities. And for parents who are new to homeschooling, some homeschooling tips can make this experience much more bearable.
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Homeschooling tips for newbies
I am not an expert in homeschooling. There are many parents out there who have a lot more experience than me when it comes to teaching their children in a home environment. But one thing that I can offer parents who get into this situation involuntarily is sympathy and advice.
My main advice is to resist the temptation to design your home just like school. It is a completely different experience! Your children already have expectations of how they should behave at home and at school. And often the expectations are different in every place. Trying to create a classroom at home will prepare you and your children for countless ways to hit heads.
Instead, find ways to integrate the learning time into your already established home routines. Swap the film time instead for an interesting documentary instead. Or complement the housework with a math activity. As a result, school activities are less about learning than family time. This way your children are more likely to participate and get involved.
Another of my favorite homeschooling tips for parents is to let go of the urge to plan your whole school day. On the days we teach at home, we spend a maximum of two hours of concentrated school time. Some days we don’t have a school at all! The one-to-one lesson time that your children receive during homeschooling is much more intensive than the learning they receive in a classroom. So you don’t have to schedule a six-hour learning day. That would do someone exhausted!
My favorite resources for home education
When school closings occur, parents typically receive resources from their children’s schools about what materials need to be covered during school closings. So you don’t have to create a full curriculum from scratch. However, if you don’t get resources for home education or want to complement what you’ve received, there are several useful resources that we like to use as a homeschooling family.
In terms of knowledge of the types of concepts that are appropriate for each grade level, the What your child needs to know Series is a practical one to have. We have the book What your third grader needs to knowfor our daughter and the kindergarten equivalent for our son. I do not closely follow all activities at school in the book, but will search the book for ideas from time to time. These books are useful for setting metrics to measure my children’s learning progress.
But when it comes to resources for home education, my favorite resources are those that are free! We like to use YouTube for learning. There are many educational channels on YouTube these days. We also like to use our public library as a resource, as there are many e-books available in its catalog. And when it comes to math, we like the Khan Academy because it offers a structured sequence of learning concepts that we can do with our kids at their own pace.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on resources to start homeschooling. Instead, try to use what you already have on hand. Or search online for free resources.
Thirty school activities can be carried out by families at home or while traveling
When these recent school closings started, I saw many of my friends who are parents worrying about how they would balance teaching their children and working. And given the current health restrictions for families to stay at home instead of going out, simple school activities like nature walks or museum trips are out of the question.
As a resource for families who have difficulty finding ideas for activities with their children, I have compiled a list of 30 school activities that families can do all over the world. Use this list to pass the time until the schools reopen. Or if you want to do homeschooling when it is safe to travel again, you can use these ideas too! No matter where you are, these activities can help promote your children’s learning habits.
Read homeschool activities
Read a book together
We still enjoy reading a book from time to time. The last book we read together was book six of the Harry Potter series. The half-blood prince. It was fun taking time every evening to read a chapter of the book aloud. Since we are also fans of the Harry Potter series, it was also a nice experience for our family.
Play a children’s book
If your children like to act, take a picture book and try to re-enact the scenes in the book. We did that Go dog. Go! once and the kids had a great time! Choose a book that is easy for your youngest to read, and take turns reading and playing lines from the story. Alternatively, you can choose a narrator who reads the book aloud and let the other family members replay the story in the book.
Borrow e-books from your local library
During school closure, the library can be an excellent learning resource. Some libraries have even started adding e-books to their catalogs! In cases of closures and / or social distance, access to a library’s e-book collection can make living together in a house more pleasant.
Writing and storytelling
Write letters to family and friends
The art of writing letters never went out of style! Have your children write letters to their friends or family members for a writing activity. This gives them the opportunity to get to know the elements of a letter. They can also express their feelings in writing. If you have access to a mailbox, you can send the letters. Or you can take photos of the letters and send the photos via SMS to the intended mail recipient.
Write a story
Let your kids practice their creative writing skills alongside the same topic of writing focused activities in school by writing a story. Teach them the basic structure of a story – introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and dissolution – and let them invent a story that follows that structure. While your child is unlikely to be writing a novel, they are likely to develop some creative and interesting stories.
If writing an entire story is too advanced for your child, give them writing instructions instead. Choose a topic for your child to write about and give them ten or fifteen minutes to write about the topic. Then give them the opportunity to share what they have written and to elaborate on it. Don’t worry about how to write prompts. You can use this list from 300 prompts for children Get ideas.
Play with story cubes
For younger children who can’t quite write, they can still practice creative storytelling with story cubes. Story cubes as cubes with pictures on them. Children choose a few cubes to roll and use these cubes to create a story depending on the picture. We like the story cubes from Imagidice because they have a lot of pictures, which gives our children more opportunities to create stories.
Learn a new language
Whether you are planning to travel the world or are just interested in new cultures, learning a new language can be an entertaining activity for children. The resources for home education to learn a new language are endless. You can use apps like Duolingo, or you can check out a book from the library with the first hundred words in a foreign language. Get creative and find ways to make your children fun.
Create poems together
I liked to write poems as a child. We will occasionally write poems with my own children or read them aloud. If you want to become more academic, you can have your kids create different types of poems – acrostic, haiku, limericks, or quatrains. Or you can give them a creative license to write any style of poetry you want.
Do you have a spelling bee
Since we teach at home, my children don’t really have the opportunity to attend one. Fortunately, you can create your own spelling bee for at home or while traveling. Write about ten grade words on a piece of paper and put them in a cup. Draw every word and let your child practice spelling it out loud. As an added bonus, you can give them a special treat as a price for completing the spelling bee.
Social studies and life skills
Watch videos about other cultures
As I mentioned earlier, YouTube is our friend! One of our favorite resources for home education related to YouTube is the channel: Geography now. You walk through each country from A to Z and create informative (and fun) videos about that country. Each video covers geography, history, language and culture, as well as relationships with other countries. At the moment, the latest video covered St. Kitts. So you can bet that a country you want to know more about already has a video.
Make tasks part of your school activities
Let your children work in the house. Now that they have more time at home, you can assign them different tasks to keep your house clean and sterile. Sweeping, wiping windows and mirrors, sorting laundry colors and folding towels are age-appropriate tasks for children under the age of five. For your older children, they can help you set the table, do the dishes, or put your laundry together.
Let your kids cook a meal from scratch
Speaking of food: if your kids are budding chefs, let them cook a meal for you (or with you if you prefer) from scratch. Have them practice following a recipe, cutting ingredients (under supervision, of course) and cooking food on the stove. If you’re feeling ambitious, choose a recipe from another country to expose it to international cuisine.
History homeschool activities
Create a history timeline of your favorite country
When we visit a new country, we want to learn something about the history of that country. In addition to visiting a museum or reading a book, you can also learn about the history of a country on YouTube. Crash course, Additional credits, and Suibhne are some of our favorite channels for history. Let your kids create a timeline of their favorite country by recording important events in that country’s history on the timeline.
Create a family tree
One of the projects we are currently working on is the creation of a family tree. This is a fun way for children to learn about their extended family. You can also see how families are connected. You can use a family tree template or draw your own family tree. Alternatively, you can change an organization chart template that is used for your family tree.
Read about famous historical person
We like the WHO HQ series of children’s biographies. We have read about it Galileo last summer and even tried some of his experiments with commuting! If your child is interested in a famous person in history, chances are that their biography is included in this series.
Fine and performing arts
Learn to draw
If you’re looking for school activities where your kids learn to sit still and concentrate, drawing is a good choice. We looked through the book Drawing for the absolute and absolute beginner. It was amazing to see the progress the children made in their drawing skills!
Learn a new artistic skill
In addition to drawing, your children can learn other artistic skills such as dancing or playing a musical instrument. We are currently teaching our children basic piano Alfred’s Basic Piano Library. I learned the piano as a child! Since we don’t have a real piano with us when we were traveling, we downloaded piano apps onto our children’s devices so that they could practice playing notes on a keyboard.
Make a stop motion film
We visited them last October Family adventure summit, a travel conference for families, and our children learned how to make stop-motion films. Since then, they have loved making stop-motion films with their Legos or other objects we travel with. If your kids are stuck at home during a school closure, let them make their own stop-motion movies with their toys in the house. If you don’t have a stop motion movie app on your phone or electronic device, you can do it the old-fashioned way by taking and composing photos.
Make a music video or a short film
If your kids like to stand in front of a camera, have them make a music video or short film. Give them the camera and let them take their own footage. Apps like iMovie can make it easy for you to put short clips together into a film. And you can also add music in the background! To inspire your kids, you can watch YouTube videos about the filmmaking process.
Do yoga together
If your children and you are afraid, if you are locked, practicing social distancing, or dealing with school closings, try doing yoga together. There are many yoga apps that you can download to your phone. Alternatively, you can find videos on YouTube. If yoga is too difficult for your kids, you can just try meditating instead. Start with a minute of silent meditation. Then work your way up to three and five minutes. Our children have now reached the point where they can meditate for eight minutes, although admittedly they are quite fickle when they do.
Integrate movement into your school activities
In addition to the same health issue, practicing together as a family can be a good balance with all academic activities in school that you do with your children. Since we travel, we usually don’t have access to a gym. For families facing school closure or closure, going to the gym is probably not an option either. I like doing it Seven – 7 minutes of training App on my phone. The children and I train every morning. The exercises are easy enough for children, but still make your heart beat faster!
Do homeschool activities based on card games
As a family, we love to play card games. U.N. and Sushi Go are popular games in our household. These card games are great for teaching mathematical concepts to your younger children. And if you have older children, they can also be used to convey social concepts such as athleticism and collaboration.
Use a deck of cards to do math exercises
Who says you only have to use a card game for card games? We occasionally use our card game to do math exercises with our children. Take out the face cards and the jokers and use the ace card as number one. Then flip two cards over at the same time. Let your children add, subtract, multiply or divide the card numbers.
Learn math skills with the Khan Academy
We like to use the Khan Academy for more structured mathematical activities. Most Khan Academy online courses are aimed at adults. But the Khan Academy has a curriculum for elementary school math. What I like about Khan Academy is that the kids can walk at their own pace. If a mathematical concept doesn’t make sense to them, they can simply repeat that particular lesson.
One way the kids practice math is by baking. We like to bake cookies together, especially chocolate cookies. When your children measure the ingredients, they can learn more about breaks and measurements. If you want to find out more with them, you can discuss science why some cookies pop up while others don’t.
Science homeschool activities
Create a scientific experiment
Your home is the perfect laboratory for your budding scientist! Try out some of the scientific experiments suggested in this list to get your kids excited about science Mama Poppins. We tried the Mentos in Coke experiment with different types of lemonade. Other experiments that we tried at home are filling balloons with baking soda and vinegar gases, and making homemade bubbles with detergent and water.
Watch science shows on YouTube
As I mentioned earlier, YouTube can be a great resource for your school activities. In terms of science, our favorite channels SciShow and SciShow Kids. Both channels pack so much information into easily digestible parts. And it’s much better than reading something from a book to them.
Select an animal to learn more about it
Even if you can’t go outside during school closure, you can learn about nature at home. If your kids are animal lovers, let them learn about one of their favorite animals. Watch YouTube videos or watch some e-books from your local library.
Learn more about the human body
A more timely activity during school closure due to an outbreak of health is learning about the human body. When we had the flu in December, we spent an afternoon reading about the different systems in the body. And with the outbreak this week, we watched videos about the immune system.
Get creative with school activities wherever you are
Homeschooling during school closure can be stressful for parents of children who normally attend traditional school. With the right tips for homeschooling, however, families can make the most of their time together at home.
What I liked most about homeschooling with my children is the creativity that enabled me as parents to help my children learn. Use these ideas for school activities as a guide to plan what to do with your children. And then get creative with the things you do.
Use this time to get to know your family better. Before you know it, the school will be back in session and we can all go back to our regular routines. In the meantime, stay safe and sound!
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