Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Getting started is the hardest part! Here are a few tips to help you get comfortable.
Whatever your reason for beginning your learn-at-home journey, welcome! Even though it may not seem like it under the current circumstances, homeschooling brings with it a great deal of freedom. Hopefully soon, you'll be able to enjoy all the perks of daytime museum trips, uncrowded parks, spontaneous vacays, and linking up with other homeschool families for fun activities. But for now, I'll try to post some ways to make the best of homeschooling while staying in.
Let the Games Begin!
One of the biggest reasons that we love having our kids home full time is that we get to enjoy more time as a family, learning while playing games and just doing life together. Education doesn't have to be formal or stuffy, especially not at home. This is your opportunity to integrate learning into your everyday lives and make it FUN. Board games, cards, and puzzles are engaging and provide excellent skill development. Here are some of our favorite games:
Very Silly Sentences
Sight Word Bingo
Swap Basic Cartoons for Educational Content
Sometimes, they just want to watch tv, and it seems like it's much easier to limit screen time when you're not home all day long. One way to make extra screen time part of the learning experience is to find educational shows that you can enjoy as a family. I still remember things I learned from watching The Magic School Bus as a child, and your kids will retain more than you think just from watching educational shows that they like, too. These are some of our favorites (available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or YouTube):
The Magic School Bus (the new ones & the old ones!)
Mythbusters (they also have Mythbusters Jr now!)
How It's Made
Basho & Friends
The Incredible Dr. Pol
How it Works
Into the Wild
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bring Back Home Economics
Teach those kids to cook! And clean, and sew, and grow food, and pay bills... But more on those later. Cooking, specifically, is a skill that even your preschooler can (and should!) learn. You know those miniature play dough sandwiches your four year old makes? With a little advance prep, they can make their own finger sandwiches for lunch instead. The littlest ones can start by measuring out easy snacks for themselves and others, work their way up to preparing sandwiches and microwave meals, then eventually move on to using the stove. Our kids have all gotten limited stove privileges around age seven or eight, and they first learn how to make easy things like omelettes and grilled cheese, brownies or cookies. Baking lessons are great for learning about chemistry, and for boosting reading comprehension and foundational math skills. And everyone loves the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making something yummy!
Added bonus: the more they cook, the less you have to!
Get Your Sillies Out!
On days when you find yourselves stuck in the house, there are still plenty of great ways to get the kids moving. Impromptu dance parties make for great memories! Just put on your favorite tunes and rock out. Choreographing songs in your living room is a fun way to bond AND get exercise. Also, these days, there are tons of great YouTube channels devoted to staying fit and having fun. Some of our faves:
Cosmic Kids Yoga
The Fitness Marshall
Homeschooling allows you, above all, the freedom to set your own pace. You shouldn't feel pressured to recreate a school environment within your home, no matter how you came to homeschool. Even if you have packets to complete or state requirements to fulfill, you can do it on your terms, and it does not have to be overly stringent or stressful. I highly recommend reading Julie Bogart's The Brave Learner as you get started. Relax, and enjoy!