Most of us have survived homeschooling with our sanity still in check. Everyone is always in need of some fresh ideas to keep the kids engaged and active during these crazy times.
Now that most schools will be starting the year at home with distance learning, these extra ideas could be helpful to break up your ‘school day’. Start by making a plan for your day. Print out a timed plan for the day or create your own. My oldest heads to first grade this year, so we made a clock to help him stay on track after school. We love this one from redtri.com. Use that same idea to plan out your day and help you and the kids get done what needs done during this time.
It’s really easy to turn on the TV in the morning and lose track of time to find out it’s noon. Been there, done that. I came across this creative sample schedule by Jessica McHale that may help your family get through the school day, when it begins again. We just used the clock idea above and modified it for the entire day. Now we just need to follow it….
Now, we haven’t yet found out what the plan for our distance school day is going to be, but it will hopefully have plenty of flexibility within it. Below are some simple activities and resources to keep you and your kids going while we get through this process of homeschooling and social distancing. While we know when public school begins, we don’t know what that will entail, so it’s always best to have a few extra resources available.
123Homeschool4me– This is a great resource with thousands of FREE printable worksheets available to print at home. Plus, loads of pages of instruction to prepare to homeschool and advice on planning, setting it up, etc. I especially like this list of 50 Books Kindergarteners Can Read Themselves. My kindergartener is sometimes reluctant to sit and read, so it’s important for me to find books that contain lots of age appropriate sight words so it doesn’t feel like a struggle for him.
Scholastic Learn at Home– Even when schools are closed, Scholastic keeps the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Even my 2 year-old found this site fun. He sat and watched the videos with us and watched as we read the book. What’s nice is the books are easy to read, but you can also choose the option to have the books read to you. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!
Discovery Virtual Field Trips-Discovery offers virtual field trips you can take from home. Join them live for these new Virtual Field Trips or you can watch them on demand later at your convenience. Each no-cost Virtual Field Trip comes with a companion guide packed with hands-on learning activities. You can search by subject, and most of the videos give your grade recommendations as well.
StoryOnline– The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside the books’ illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners. My kids love sitting and listening to someone read to them with all the different voices and expressions. And it gives me 10 minutes to get something done as well!
Audible free streaming stories for kids– For as long as schools are closed, Audible is open for FREE! Kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.You can choose by age group or search the library for a favorite title. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
I also ordered this 1st Grade Jumbo Math Success Workbook from Sylvan Learning on Amazon. When I looked mid-week, there weren’t too many options left, but I’m pleasantly surprised with this book. It’s a 3-in-1 book, featuring Basin Math, Math Games & Puzzles and Shapes & Geometry. It’s nice to be able to do a page from each area so it’s not always the same thing. It’s not a super cheap option but if you consider how much ink and paper (and time) you would go through to get 320 pages, I think it’s a steal.
Treasure Hunt Ideas– Head to Pinterest (for everything) to find some free printable treasure hunt clues and get the kids on a treasure hunt. These can be done indoors or outdoors and make the treasure something simple at the end. The fun is in the hunt!
Cosmic Kids Yoga– Youtube has an amazing yoga channel for kids 3 and up called cosmic kids yoga. She has many different themes including Frozen, Pokemon, Trolls, the list goes on and on. The sessions are pretty quick and keep the kids engaged throughout. Plus it gives the kids a great break to get up and stretch their whole bodies and clear their heads.
These are just a few of the many things you can use to keep the kids minds and bodies engaged while they are stuck at home. I have to tell my 6 year old every day that the pet store is still closed, so no, we can’t go get a hamster. I’m hoping some of this stuff will keep his school on track and his mind distracted.
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