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How to homeschool? For many parents, just trying to answer this question is mind-boggling. For others, it’s second nature. Fortunately, when it comes to educating your child, there have always been choices: public school, private school, or home school. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has just forced every parent into homeschooling. Ready or not! That time has come.
The good news is, this extra time with your children is actually a blessing, not a curse. Also, many schools have implemented online learning for students – sending children their classwork via apps, email, and websites, taking the burden of finding a curriculum off of the responsibility of the parents. The bad news is, parents still have to figure out a way to teach their children. This article will provide tips and resources to help take the stress out of learning how to homeschool.
How Many Hours Should Homeschool Be?
The answer to this question will depend on state laws regarding homeschooling as well as the age of the child, but on average homeschooling could take between 2-4 hours per day. Some elementary school teachers advise that children should spend about 30 minutes a day studying each subject. Older students might require more time. Younger students might need less time. What’s important is that the work gets done. Remember, when it comes to receiving a quality education, this is not a race. This is a marathon.
How to Homeschool with Multiple Children
Nothing can make a parent more stressed out than the thought of having to homeschool two or more children simultaneously. Here’s good news. You don’t have to homeschool them at the same time. The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be done around the needs of the entire family. If you can work with both children at the same time, great! If not, send one child off to another part of the house to play quietly while working with the other child. Or set them up in two separate rooms of the house. Whatever it takes to get the job done!
What do you do if one of your kids is a toddler? While working with an older child, send the toddler off on a scavenger hunt. Have them find something that’s a particular color or shape and bring it to you. This way they’re learning too. There’s also the option of setting your smaller child up at the kitchen table with crayons or play dough to keep them entertained.
Read More: 15 Fun Indoor Activities for Toddlers
How to Homeschool with a Full-Time Job
The idea of figuring out how to homeschool while working full-time is overwhelming. The good news is, homeschooling offers a flexible schedule. Junior high and high school students should be able to work independently. Elementary school kids might require more supervision. If you have to work during the day, then homeschooling will be done in the evening.
What if your children are too tired to do their assignments at night? Keep an open dialogue with their teachers. Explain your situation and let them know you’ll do your best. Get done as much as you can with your kids before bedtime. As unappealing as it may seem, whatever you can’t get done in the evenings during your workweek will have to be done on your weekends. But at least it will get done.
Part of learning how to homeschool your children involves recognizing when you need a break. Give yourself and your children time throughout the day to decompress. Younger children will need frequent breaks anyway. Let them run and play for about ten minutes while you hide in the pantry and eat cookies. Or meditate. Whatever works.
Free Online Homeschool Resources
Taking frequent breaks and determining a schedule that works for your family is the easiest part of learning how to homeschool. The hard part is the actual teaching. Fortunately for you, the internet is filled with FREE resources to help you teach your children as well as give them extra practice if they need it. Listed below are some of the best websites to help you and your family get through this.
- Khan Academy – recommended for ages 4-18. Khan Academy is your one-stop-shop for all questions related to math, science, computer science, and humanities. Khan Academy also has its own YouTube channel with videos that will help explain more difficult subjects, like calculus.
- Scholastic Learn at Home – Scholastic’s Learn At Home Website will provide children with up to 20 days of free resources that include videos, stories, and educational games. Scholastic Learn at Home is geared for children ages Pre-K to 9th grade.
- Teachers Pay Teachers – a website designed by teachers for other teachers to help distribute low-cost learning materials all over the country. BUT, you don’t have to be a teacher to access the printable worksheets for your children and while some do require a minimal payment, there are plenty of totally FREE downloads. If your child needs additional practice this website is a good place to start.
- Education.com – similar to Teachers Pay Teachers, Education.com is another website filled with free printable worksheets and games for children to help supplement their education. It’s recommended for children ages Pre-K through 5th grade. Without a membership, however, parents are limited to the number of worksheets they can download each month.
- CK-12 – for kids in 1st grade and up with a handful of college courses as well. CK-12 is run by a nonprofit organization and provides totally FREE learning for these age levels. The courses offered include Math, Science, English, and Social Studies.
Drops: The Best Foreign Language App
For help with learning a foreign language – or staying on top of current studies – no one does it better than Drops. Available on both Andriod and iOS, Drops is an app designed to teach children between the ages of 8-17 any one of 32 different languages. Each lesson is only five minutes long and consists of matching and multiple-choice questions with images – guaranteeing to keep the attention span of easily distracted learners. The short lessons are also timed perfectly to keep make sure that its students aren’t being exposed to too much screen time.
The developers behind Drops are committed to excellence when it comes to teaching children how to speak a foreign language. They are so committed, they recently announced their partnership with the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) Global Navigator High School Study Abroad programs. Through this partnership, Drops will provide roughly 2500 high school students a FREE 3-month premium membership to its Droplets App, enhancing each student’s study abroad experience.
Read More: How to Choose a Homeschool Curriculum
Making Homeschool Fun
Learning how to homeschool isn’t all about reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s also about fun stuff like art, physical education, and music. Basically, when homeschooling your kids, these subjects are giving you permission to play with your kids.
Art for the Creatively Challenged
Art projects don’t have to be fancy. Finger painting, sculpting with play dough, and learning how to color inside the lines will suffice. And if you’re tired and don’t want a mess to clean up, consider loading up Bob Ross videos on Netflix. Netflix does offer a FREE one-month membership.
Music for the Musically Challenged
When it comes to music, YouTube is your friend! Just login and type in “sing-along songs” in the search bar. Sit back and relax while your children sing their hearts out to Disney songs. Or better yet! Join them! This is your playtime too. For older kids, YouTube also has selections from Broadway shows such as Phantom of the Opera and Cats. And if neither one of these is an option, sit down with your kids and help them write a few sentences about their favorite musical instrument.
Gym for the Weather Challenged
For most parents, gym activity is a no-brainer. But sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t want to cooperate. And on those days when the rain just won’t stop or the weather is freezing cold, here are some options to keep your children fit.
- Bike-Riding – have a garage? This idea might not work for high school students but for younger kids who have a bike or scooter, back your car out of the garage and let them blow off their excessive energy by riding around inside the garage.
- Sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks – Again, this might be a no-brainer for some but don’t overlook these exercise options as an option when they can’t go outside and play.
- A family dance party – blast your favorite music through the house and challenge your kids to a dance-off.
- YouTube – because all of life’s great mysteries can be solved by YouTube. YouTube has a collection of exercise videos for kids. Put some on and watch them get pumped.
Virtual Field Trips
The most exciting thing about homeschooling your kids is that with technology today, we can travel to other continents without leaving our living rooms. Check out these websites below for a list of museums and national parks that provide virtual tours for you and your kids.
- Smithsonian Natural History Museum
- Yellowstone National Park
- Georgia Aquarium
- Discovery Education
- San Diego Zoo
Parents, remember knowing how to homeschool your kids should never be all work and no play. Enjoy this time with your children. And remember this online education process is as foreign to you as it is to teachers everywhere. Be patient with your children’s teachers and remember to thank them frequently for all that they’re trying to do to get everyone through this pandemic.
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