My family has just wrapped up week two of homeschooling and it’s almost beginning to feel like the new normal! We’ve just been notified that schools in our district are officially closed until at least May, but most likely we’re looking at August according to our state governor. My wife is a small business owner like many of you and I work full time for HoneyBook, so it’s hard to resist the temptation of simply handing a device to our 7-year old (Jack, pictured above having entertained himself last weekend with a Sharpie pen!).
If you’re still reading this then you’ve already been figuring out what works best for your family and every working parent has their own unique situation, so the last thing I want to do is write a blog that in any way feels like I’m telling anyone how to parent their own kids. My wife and I know that we have it easy compared to many families right now – we only have one child, we have a small backyard and our jobs are flexible enough that we can spend some time making sure Jack still has a routine and some structure to his learning.
So the main purpose of this blog is simply to provide a list of resources that you may find valuable. The only pieces of advice I will share based on our experience so far are these:
- Try and get your kids into a routine as close to their regular school schedule as possible including prescribed ‘recess’ time when they can simply play. Since we all know that our kids rule the roost, this in turn helps you create a work routine and be more productive. For us this means homeschool is out at 3:15 so Jack still has lots of time to do whatever he wants.
- Shake those sillies out and be sure you find ways to keep them moving and burning energy – you’ll be grateful come bedtime. See the physical activity section below for inspiration.
- Be flexible – for everyone’s sake, don’t pick fights with your kids. We’re experiencing a time of high anxiety for most people so the mental health of your kids and everyone in your house is more important than anything else. Once back in the classroom, professionally trained teachers will soon get students back on track academically.
These are the pillars from which we’ve established a balance of learning and entertainment in our household, while remaining somewhat sane. But again, I understand that every family faces a different set of circumstances. The following resources are skewed towards elementary school kids but there are plenty of resources for kids of all ages:
Physical & Mindfulness
Go Noodle – a fun collection of videos that promote movement and mindfulness – we do this with Jack every morning before homeschool starts and everyone loves it!
Cosmic Kids: Yoga-based storytelling including themes like Pokemon, Star Wars and Frozen.
Kids Tabata – mini workouts with kid themes
PE with Joe – UK based trainer who has put together exercise programs for kids
KIDZBOP helps kids work on their dance moves!
Arts & Crafts
At home art classes from Totally The Bomb.
Skillshare offers scheduled art classes.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems! where your kids can learn to draw their favorite book characters
Art For Kids Hub – a new art project every day.
Science & Math
Science Kids: A tremendous resource for games, lessons and videos.
Cool Math Games: The name says it all…..
The Maths Factor – math lessons and games for 4-12 year olds
General Online Learning
Scholastic has books and activities centered around a theme
Epic has online book and audible stories
Funbrain – Pre K to 8th Grade reading, games and math.
Bored Teachers – a comprehensive list of resources to learn history, geography and social sciences – from Preschool up to High School.
Audible is offering free kid’s book downloads
Offline Learning Ideas
What Do We Do All Day – is a great site for activities, including educational games and activities including cards and dice.
Lego Marble Maze – a fun lego challenge for elementary kids
30 Day Lego Challenge – not only are these fun to play, but incorporate numbers and math.
Pig – all you need is a dice, great for kid’s math skills and fun for the whole family
Google Earth has virtual tours of 31 National Parks in the US
Riding virtual rides at Disneyland on Youtube
Natural History – Virtually going to museums. For Natural History buffs, the Smithsonian is a must see.
Educational Screen Time
Want to go retro – try School House Rock?
There will be times when the TV or tablet will need to fill in as babysitter, and that’s just fine – we all have to do what we need to do to keep things sane and safe! In case you forget that we’re all in this together, you may want to check out this collection of 45 tweets from other parents dealing with social distancing with their kids.
Good luck and I hope you find the best way to keep your family life in balance!