I’m an elementary school teacher and mother of four. I recently returned to the classroom after being home with my children for 10 years. My children range in ages from 4-11.
Many of you may have felt a slight sense of panic and quickly began to wonder how the heck you were going to “teach” your children. Take a deep breath, because you’ve got this.
The very first step to homeschooling your children is to give you and your little ones grace. The second step is to not duplicate school.
There are so many resources out there and I will share several with you. In a digital age, while digital resources are good, they are no substitute for curiosity, books, paper, pencils, creativity, imagination and exploration.
The goal of education is to spark curiosity and encourage life-long learners who take charge of their learning. Let this be a time to explore.
Allow time and space to read and enjoy books. Here are some ideas of how to foster reading.
- Read aloud: Man nothing beats a great read aloud. Choose a book the family can share and read aloud roughly 20 minutes daily. This is a fun way to experience a book as a family. Read aloud examples: Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wayside School is Falling Down, The Boxcar Children, Wonder.
- Read in: Throw a plate of snacks, relaxing music, pillows, and blankets and everyone grabs a book and a reading spot and reads. Monkey see monkey do. Nothing teaches the love of reading better than loving reading.
- Book club: Similar aged children (and parents) can read the same book and meet weekly for book club. In my classroom, students prepare a job for the meeting. Examples of jobs include Passage Picker, Summarizer, Word Wizard, Discussion Director, Connector.
- Guided reading: This is just a fancy way of describing something that comes naturally. Choose a book, discuss background knowledge, new words, tricky letter combos. Student reads book aloud. Discuss.
The real moral of the story is make time to read. Read aloud, alone, in groups. Epic Books is an awesome resource for books and they have a free 30 day trial.
You can encourage your child to keep a reading log. We have a free printable reading log found here.
Scholastic put together a day by day resource (by grade) to help your kids keep reading, thinking and growing while they are home. Click here for that amazing resource.
Create a writing lab/corner/box/drawer. Sharp pencils, illustrating supplies, stapler, tape, different kinds of paper. Give children ownership over creating. When given space, kids will amaze you with what they can create. Whether it is journaling, a script for a play, a puppet show, or a made up story, the act of writing daily should be encouraged and celebrated.
These journal pages are perfect for young writers where illustrating is an important part of telling their story.
Never underestimate the power of the basics. Basic facts, word problems, number sense and place value.
Look for everyday opportunities to work with math, like building, cooking and logic games.
What a great place to let your child’s interest guide you. I’m sure your child is bubbling over with curiosity. Find out what interests them and teach them how to become experts on their topic of choice.
You can use Epic Books to put together books and videos on a topic that interests your child. This is a great way to allow kids to do research without the worries of what will come up when you “google” something. Also, Mystery Science is offering free plans for families. Kiwi crate is also offering FREE resources for parents.
Learn Something New
Now is a great time to follow a passion or learn something new. Teach your child basic life skills. Lessons on how to properly clean a bathroom, do the laundry, load the dishwasher. Teach them to make a meal, bake something new. These are such valuable skills that we forget to teach.
The most used and important life skill I picked up in middle school was how to type (I can still hear Mr. Hoppe “a-space, a-space, space”). Did you know there is a free program for that too? Teach your kids to type.
How to Schedule the Day
I’m all about ownership. The more our children take now, the better off they are in the long-run. The last thing I want to spend the next three weeks doing is nagging my kids.
We will be using work plans, because they give kids ownership and because my kids are used to using them for school. Your work plan can be time-blocked or by subject.
My daughter’s work plan is columns with a subject heading. Reading, writing, math, science, social studies, etc. Whatever topics you are choosing to include during your home study would go on the top. Then it is filled in for the week with the student’s responsibilities and the student manages their time to complete the tasks, checking them off as they go.
If a plan feels overwhelming, then it can become a work log, where the work is logged under the proper subject. This gives you an overview of the week to see what learning and work has taken place.
The Real Goal
The real goal is that your child walks away from this experience empowered, curious and excited about learning.
Always look at the big picture. Allow time for open-ended play. If you think your kids don’t know how to play, turn off the screens long enough and they will figure it out.
Learning how to be in a family and get along with others and share is valuable learning too.
I hope these resources and information has helped you feel more comfortable in your role as “teacher”.
- Epic Books
- Happy Numbers
- Kiwi Crate
- Mystery Science
- Typing club
- How to drawing videos
- Stop Motion Camp
- Doodling Class
- Go Noodle
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