“Crisis-Schooling” and ways to simplify it so you don’t get overwhelmed!
“School at home? Where do we even begin?”
This is what we’ve been hearing from moms and we’d love to help!
The purpose of this post is to help those who are suddenly experiencing school at home.
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what your teachers expect, how to log in and find everything that your teacher sent, etc.
Don’t forget that your kids are overwhelmed as well! They’re used to seeing their friends and teachers every day and not being confined to the house!
Frustrated with doing school at home?
Reading comments like these makes me want to tell you that it will be ok – just do what you can! Let’s simply school so that we have plenty of family time for making memories during this stressful time.
Let me say that this crisis-schooling is NOT the way a typical homeschool family runs things.
Those of us that homeschool choose our curriculum at the beginning of the year, have teacher keys to guide us, and have our own “plan” that we know we can follow and that is what our kids need.
Many of us have homeschool co-ops that we go to weekly, as well as field trips, sports, and music lessons. Homeschoolers are also not doing their “normal” during this time!
To be thrust into the middle of another teacher’s curriculum mid-year has to be very confusing, if not IMPOSSIBLE!
Don’t be afraid to recognize this – if you have the choice, SIMPLIFY school until they go back by creating a simple learning environment.
Many schools are NOT requiring you to do school from home, but are sending work home to keep kids busy and learning.
(Of course if there are requirements, I’m not suggesting to skip the minimum required for them to pass their school grade!)
If that’s your case, and if you’re finding it stressful to figure it all out, we have some simple (but great!) concepts that you can easily do with your kids to have them continue learning while they’re at home.
We hope that at the end of this crazy school year, that you will be able to confidently say, “My kids DID learn something at home this year.”
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #1
Don’t try to be just like their school classroom and expect them to sit for 7 hours.
It’s fine to complete a “day” of school at home in half the time that it would take at school! There’s no waiting on an entire class of kids to open books to the correct page, complete work, etc.
When you’re not waiting on other kids, you can definitely get done more quickly! Don’t force your kids to fill in a certain amount of hours just to fill a time slot. You’ll just make them become bored.
Quality over quantity!! Get done and then go make some memories! 🙂
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #2
Give your kids a bit of routine…something that will be constant for them.
As adults, or worlds have come to a sudden halt. But the same thing has happened to our kids, and they can sense the craziness going on right now! Their “normal” was just totally pulled out from underneath them, so the best thing you can do for them right now is to create a new, FUN “normal.” Giving them a little bit of routine will help them settle and have something secure in their lives. You may be surprised at how much your kids will thrive on a bit of routine!
I don’t suggest a RIGID, by-the-clock routine, because that will only add to your stress, and it certainly won’t simplify things. What I have found works well is to have an “order” – this, then this, then that. Finish one thing, move on to the next, but don’t be a slave to the clock.
Your schedule may be “this block of time, 9:00-12:00, is for school: we’ll do math, then reading, 15 minute break + snack, history, then a science YouTube video.” Just have a mental checklist of things to accomplish in your “block of time,” and when that time is up, it’s up.
But that routine and knowing WHAT is coming next will make it easier for everyone to understand their simple schedule. Want to include a movie after lunch for your “routine”? Go for it! I find that doing extra non-school things like a walk, a short movie, etc. is always easier when it’s included in our routine – because we know that when it’s done there is something else we will do.
When your kids know that something is next on their schedule, it can prevent them from begging to keep watching a movie or not wanting to come in from playing outside.
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #3
Divide their learning up into small, short segments.
Kids do much better when you switch things up at regular intervals. 10 minutes of this, 15 minutes of that. Don’t sit with them doing math for an hour or both they and you will get irritated!
Keep things moving! For example: 10 minutes of spelling, then read one book out loud….10 minutes of oral math combinations, then work on paper for 10 minutes, etc.
Stopping one thing and starting a new one is basically like a mental “reset” for kids, and in this way you can grab their attention and keep them interested. This, in my opinion, is the most valuable tip in this list!
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #4
Don’t try to be a Pinterest mom.
As much as you may think that making everything perfectly school-themed-decorated and DIY will make your kids more happy about school, that will only last for a very short time.
In the long run, what matters more is your kids getting the time with you, and you not being a stressed-out mom trying to make everything look perfect. If you already feel like you’re over your head with this school at home stuff, forget trying to mimic what you think those perfect moms on social media are doing and focus on what really matters right now!
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #5
Set up different locations around the house for different subjects.
Similar to tip #3, changing things up grabs your kids’ attention…it’s like pushing a “reset” button on how long they can focus. A fun way to do this is to get up out of those seats and choose a new spot when you start a new subject.
Finished with math? Get up from the dining room table and head to the couch for reading or the porch for spelling! Sitting in a circle on the living room floor for vocabulary time is another fun one!
Just get creative with the areas available to you in your home, and get people moving between subjects.
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #6
Don’t be afraid to use electronics.
If you’re like a lot of parents that prefer to limit electronics, keep in mind that electronics can be used for good – for your kids’ learning and for YOUR sanity. Don’t be afraid to let electronics teach your kids for a 15-minute segment so you have a chance to re-group.
They can learn a lot with all the great apps and programs out there today, and this won’t be forever! Just give boundaries (aka set a timer) and let them know that iPad learning is something fun and special to do at home when they can’t go to school.
Adventures in Odyssey is another site we love – and you can get a free 28-day trial right now!
Ranger Rick is free right now and is a great resource for science!
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #7
Use personal marker boards or chalkboards instead of paper
Small marker boards or chalkboards are something fun and different that will make a kid excited about the work they’re about to do! Instead of doing everything on paper or out-loud, have them write their answer down on a marker board!
My kids like to do spelling or math combinations on a marker board instead of doing it on paper or saying it to me.
Again, use this idea to change things up – if you just did math combinations with them and had them answer you out-loud, use a marker board for spelling to swap things up!
Soon you’ll find that your kids will be looking excitedly to see what “different” thing you’re going to suggest when it’s time to start a new subject!
SCHOOL AT HOME: TIP #8
Use incentives, prizes, and praise!
Let’s face it – being confined to our homes can be fun for a while, but our kids will get just as sick of it as we do. Let’s not have this time that we will forever remember be marked with memories of how terrible it was, how angry mom was, and how boring school was!
Now’s the time to pull out a box of prizes and rewards and make this time be FUN! This doesn’t have to be complicated at all – don’t get in over your head. Just keep it simple!
I like to give my kids a stick of (sugar-free) gum after they’ve completed a couple things. (Keep several flavors on hand to keep the fun alive :-)!) I saw that one mom had a treasure box of little snacks and treats – she gave her kids Monopoly money for completing school subjects and let them come “buy” things at the end of the school day. What kid wouldn’t look forward to that?!?
Above all, don’t forget to PRAISE your kids when they do well. Nothing boosts a kids’ spirit like the approval of a parent! Are you proud of them for finishing their math problems in 10 minutes? Tell them! “Great job, Timmy! I know those were a little tricky, but wow, you got them done in 10 minutes today! I’m impressed!” Tell dad, a brother, or a sister later on – “Hey! Guess what? Timmy finished his math problems in 10 minutes today – isn’t that amazing?!”
SCROLL DOWN FOR A LIST OF AWESOME RESOURCES FOR SCHOOL AT HOME!
Wondering HOW to do school at home?
We sisters have collected SO many resources and learning ideas over the years, so we want to share them with you!
:: PIN THIS TO REMEMBER LATER! ::
Here are some simple ideas sorted by subject – remember that ANY learning that your kids get will be PROGRESS!
:: TYPING ::
We love Typing Instructor! This is a computer program with a “learning path” complete with treasure, exploring, and games. It’s really fun, and both my younger and older kids learned to type very well in just about 3 months of consistent lessons.
You can either order the CD or purchase the Download like we did (download is usually cheaper than CD).
The great thing about this is that it works for a wide age-range, AND they can do this on their own. My kids take 10-minute turns in the morning.
If your kids learn to type while they are doing school at home, then you will have given them something very valuable and useful that they may not have learned at school yet!
:: MATH ::
There are so many ways to practice math concepts – think of how often we use math in our every day tasks! Here are some ideas:
*Practice halving or doubling a recipe – this is something practical that would be good for your kids to know how to do!
*Play store to practice counting money and/or giving change – another very practical concept.
*Count by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, and 10’s – my youngest boy set up his army men in 3’s and counted by 3’s! 🙂 He didn’t even know he was doing “math.”
*Rapid calculation drills – A Beka has THESE CARDS that we use. Our whole family does these together!
*Keep your kids sharpened up on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables! My 3rd-grader has been using THIS Times Tables program to get better at his multiplication tables, and it has really helped! They have division tables available as well.
*Use a deck of cards to practice addition, subtraction, or multiplication. Have your child grab 2 cards and add, subtract, or multiply the numbers on them!
*Head Full of Numbers looks like a game that we would love at our house!
:: SPELLING ::
*Use scrabble tiles or bananagram tiles to make words!
This “Sight Word Swat” game looks fun and engaging!
:: BIBLE ::
Practice finding references in your Bibles quickly!
How about learning the books of the Bible by singing or reciting them?
Playing Bible Trivia for Kids is a fun way to learn Bible facts!
These Bible Times Quiz Cards are another great resource!
:: READING ::
Have a family reading circle – taking turns each reading a page from a favorite book!
Act out a story and use a lot of expression in reading/acting!
Play Pictionary with simple words – they’ll need to read their word in order to draw it!
:: SCIENCE ::
What are your kids interested in?? Why not choose a topic that they want to know about and look it up together! They’ll learn most when it’s things that they’re really interested in!
How about collecting bugs or leaves and doing a “bug board” or “leaf notebook”? They can investigate the differences in what they collect, while enjoying some time outdoors as well!
Here are some other resources to enjoy:
The “Everything Kids Science Experiment Book” is inexpensive and fun!
Sick Science has hundreds of great videos for kids!
Ranger Rick is free right now and is a great resource for science!
:: HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY ::
Keep up with current events by telling your kids age-appropriate news stories in language they can understand.
Ask them what they would do to solve world problem scenarios – this can get interesting and enlightening. 🙂
Studying maps is something that your kids will definitely use! Learn the continents and oceans, the 50 states, or check out distances between cities in your own state on Google Maps!
Other things to memorize are states & capitals or the American Presidents (there are songs for this on YouTube). 🙂
:: ART ::
My kids love the famous Art for Kids Hub! Even my 4-year-old can follow his directions!
Art is probably the easiest subject to figure out – there are so many resources out there!
We have several kids crafts available here on our blog as well – CLICK HERE!
We sincerely hope that when this crisis-schooling-situation is all over, that you will be able to say, “My kids DID learn some valuable things at home!”