8 Tips To Keep Your Kids' Homeschooling Fresh And Fun Every Day

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mother and daughter homeschooling

While some families chose homeschooling prior to the current pandemic, many more families are finding themselves suddenly homeschooling without preparation or, let’s be honest, a particular desire to homeschool.

So, you might find yourself suddenly in need of homeschooling tips to keep your kids engaged in a curriculum you're partially responsible for designing. That's a lot of pressure! But don't worry.

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School districts in many areas are starting the year virtually, with widely varying degrees of success. Even if the school is open for in-person learning, a majority of parents are concerned about their children’s safety and choose to homeschool this year.

While some schools offer a full day of school and a full curriculum, many schools have gaps in what they feel they can do. Therefore, parents are often in the position of filling the gaps for their children.

This is especially true when children are young — too young to stare at a screen for hours on end.

As an experienced parent and grandparent whose grandchildren are currently learning online, I have some ideas that will help your children stay interested and engaged without costing you a lot of money.

Here are 8 homeschooling tips for keeping your child's homeschool lessons fun, fresh, and engaging.

1. Read the science curriculum.

Ask for the curriculum if it is not provided. You will be able to find interesting and interactive “labs” you and your child can do.

For instance, if your child is learning about viscosity, get an Italian dressing seasoning packet, mix the oil and vinegar according to the directions, and show your child how the ingredients mix and separate based on viscosity. The seasonings floating around will make the viscosity lesson more clear.

Be sure to have your child do most of the work pouring and mixing for this and all science labs you do together. 

2. Spend time in nature.

There are many areas of your child’s learning that can be demonstrated in nature. Depending on their age, you can show them the leaves on the trees and how they change color. Or for older children, record the temperature or measure rainfall for science.

You can count things with very little ones, or use stones and sticks to do math. You can get inspiration for writing assignments in nature, too.

3. Play games.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of games you can play to illustrate concepts your children are learning. Some of these can be bought, and some come from your own mind.

Games that are commercially available, many of which are probably on your shelves, include games that teach academic skills. Your children will learn number skills, strategy, colors, spelling, and much more.

My father, an English teacher and poet who has always enjoyed playing word games with his children, has always played “20 Questions” and made up silly rhymes. We all learned a whole lot without pain!

Whatever games you choose, you will gain the added benefit of being the parent who plays games instead of doing schoolwork. What they don’t know won’t hurt you.

4. Use TV intelligently.

Your children have their favorite entertainment shows, I’m sure. However, there’s a whole lot out there they haven’t seen, some of which will dovetail nicely with curriculum.

During schooling time, you can put on a program that works with the curriculum, and they will learn a lot more than just doing worksheets.

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Everything from Sesame Street to more grown-up documentaries can be used if you spend a little time looking for what you need. In fact, you can get children’s programming in languages other than English to help your foreign language learner.

So, while just putting on TV is not a great idea, using it intelligently will definitely enhance your children’s experience of unexpected homeschooling.

5. Include the arts.

Children learn by doing and playing, especially in the earlier years. You can do creative projects or singing simple songs. YouTube is full of videos of songs about almost everything.

My grandchildren have learned the names of the continents, many aspects of science, and more things than I can remember through songs. They love it, by the way. You can create cells, animals, and so much more with modeling compounds.

If you engage in any arts, teach them how and see how you can explore their lessons that way.

6. Remember physical exercise (PE).

Your children need to get away from the screen and do something physical every day.

Depending on where you live, you can choose from a vast array of activities. Gyms might be closed, but there are likely biking and walking trails, parks, and historic sites where buildings are closed but the grounds are open.

Even with a small yard, if you're fortunate to have one, you can practice soccer skills, play catch, or running bases. Young children especially enjoy an obstacle course made from things to jump over or even just chalk on the ground.

Hopscotch and jump rope work in more restricted spaces, too.

7. Lunch is a learning opportunity.

If your children are not on a schedule set by the school, you can use lunchtime for learning. Depending on their age, children can be involved in planning, buying, preparing, and cleaning up afterward.

They will learn about nutrition, budgeting, cooking, and cleaning. There are lots of skills to unpack in lunch. If you and your children work together, it is less-physical work for you while they are learning.

Without an imposed schedule, you can allow enough time to make and enjoy lunch every day.

8. Take a break.

You will probably learn a lot with your children, and you’ll enjoy getting to know them even better than you did before. Still, sometimes you're going to need grownup time.

If your children are old enough to read independently, and especially if they have reading assignments, daily reading time is a good time for you to take some downtime. This gives the children a structured time to do their assigned reading, as well as allowing you to relax.

This is a special and weird time. I sincerely hope you and your children will enjoy it and each other more with these simple, inexpensive tips.

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Nancie Barwick is a clinical hypnotherapist, author, speaker, and medical intuitive. For more information on her services, visit her website.