I see your panic. I know this situation has just been thrown at you. Even when I CHOSE to homeschool, I was full of worries such as, “what if I screw them up?” or “what if I am not doing enough?” and that was when I had plenty of time to prepare. But parents, I’m here to tell you, it’s all going to go perfectly. Yeah, you will have some trying times, but I promise you, you will get to see a side of your children that will make it all worthwhile. And no, I’m not talking about the hanging from the balcony, peeing off the second story kind of side (I’m not the only one, right?). I’m talking about the sense of accomplishment and the face of success when they finally tackle that math problem or finish that essay. There has been no greater moment in my life, than being there to witness both my children read their first book, knowing I had a hand in teaching them. When my daughter completed her first algebraic equation, it was ME who was right by her side, cheering her on. You don’t need to be amazing at academics, nor the most patient person in the world, you just need that unconditional love that I know you already have.
While these times are definitely scary and stressful, keeping a routine may help ease your children’s worries and anxieties. As a homeschooler, you get to create your own or not even follow one! If the concern of keeping your child on track is weighing heavy on your mind, here is our daily routine as homeschoolers (for reference; I have a 9 year old doing 5th grade and a 6 year old doing 2nd grade):
Many may look at this and think we must be out to lunch to only spend a few hours a day on actual school work. This is the beautiful part about homeschooling. One on one attention allows for more time to be spent on actual school work, instead of on classroom disruptions or teaching to 20 other students. If you don’t have virtual lessons assigned to you, you can stay on track with simple math games (think card and board games), print outs (education.com and teacherspayteachers) and just genuine interest in what your child wants to learn about. Reading to them every day creates a solid foundation and a passion for learning. Taking your children outdoors to explore nature is just as important as anything that can be done inside a classroom. For homeschoolers, creating learning opportunities has become second nature. For those temporarily homeschooling, let me help you with some spur of the moment learning activities.
Baking (introducing fractions (1st-4th), adding or doubling fractions (5th grade and up)
Measure doorways, siblings, pets and toys around your home (all grades, 4th and up convert between units)
Sorting socks or objects by size/color (K-2)
Time- using a stop watch, see how long it takes to complete certain tasks. See how long a minute really is in regards to how many times you can do jumping jacks, climb the stairs, run from one end of the house to the other, etc.
Pantry organization- have younger one’s practice addition by adding similar pantry items together. Use subtraction when using items to make a meal.
Give real life problems- “if it takes you 40 seconds to run 50 ft, how long would it take you to run 1 mile?” I am obviously a slow runner, but any problem that resembles real life, will always be retained better.
Counting cards… I mean, playing cards. We love War, Crib and Black Jack!
Set up a store- This is my sons FAVORITE! At 4 years old, he was already totaling grocery trips including how much change I would get back at the store. He learned so quickly because it was fun and something of interest to him. I frequently set up a little “shop” and make stickers with price tags for them to calculate total costs. I then have them work out how much change they will get back in return. This is truly a fun game all around!
Keep a journal on your daily events (don’t stress to them any length requirements. Let them write from the heart.)
Set up a funny scene with their toys and have them create a story from it.
Document “a day in the life of …”
Write a letter to someone far away
Have a family spelling bee with age appropriate words for each player
Have each child and yourself write ONE part of a story (beginning, middle, end)
Dictate a story for your child no matter their age (this has been proven to be just as effective as writing on their own)
Look up English grammar rules together (no wonder English is the hardest language to learn!)
Show transpiration through a celery stalk
Sprout a bean to learn germination
Make rock candy to show the molecular shape of a sugar molecule
See how big of an eruption you can make from baking soda and vinegar
Test how quickly mold grows on bread in different environments (cold, warm, hot, wet, dry)
Look up the species of trees in your area and go on a nature hunt
Design a food chain with local plant and animal life
Use these awesome motors and have soda bottle races in the bathtub
Build a bridge out of toothpicks and clay/marshmallows and see what design works best
Look up family history
Create a family tree
Spin a globe and study whichever place you land on
Cook a meal from a country you’ve always wanted to visit
Listen to stories from older members of your family
Look into what your community is doing to help others in times of need
Research why certain breeds of dogs were artificially selected in certain points in history
Map where your family has traveled with one color and use another color for your dream destinations
In the end, anything you do with your children is going to be enough, that I can promise you. Take this time to enjoy your children because as we all know they grow up so fast. Read to them, appreciate their stories, allow them to learn what interests them most. Most of all, know that you, their parent, is all they will ever need in times like this.