At my last check, 45 states have closed schools, affecting more than 50 million students. I never thought I would see that in my lifetime! I am a strong advocate for homeschooling, and it’s no secret I wished everyone would homeschool, but not under these circumstances. Personally, I can’t imagine being thrown into a totally different world as many of you have this week. Homeschooling was a decision my husband and I made long ago, and it took time. Some of you may have entertained the thought, but to be forced to do so is no doubt overwhelming! Every year, it takes me months to plan and prepare for the year ahead. Truth be told, I still fly by the seat of my pants some days!
It has been so good to see so many people willing to help during this time. Even more, it is absolutely wonderful to see pictures of families doing things together! My Facebook news feed has been filled with links to art classes, virtual field trips, cooking classes, and many other online resources. Companies, bloggers, and other businesses have been so generous during these unsettling times. If you’ve seen all these great ideas, and have felt slightly overwhelmed by what’s out there, you are not alone! I’ve been homeschooling for 11 years, and I must say that I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of resources in my feed. I’ve kept a notebook next to my computer, and have jotted things down as I saw them, until I could no longer keep up myself!
I felt the need to make a list so all those good things are in one place. All these discoveries have led me to find new things that I plan to use as well! I decided to include those I am most familiar with, or those that looked most interesting to a wide variety of ages for now. It is certainly not a complete list, as I will be updating as I discover more things. It is also not curriculum recommendations, as many teachers have worked hard to provide that for you. I’m keeping it fun and simple for this post!
Grab a rope, here’s the roundup!
First, do not try to replicate whatever your child does in school. This lifestyle is much different than what most are used to. Take some time to enjoy your time with your kids if you are able to be home as well. “Schooling” does not take all day. Your kids may already have packets from their schools, so gently add things here and there they may not get to do in a classroom. I would encourage some sort of structure for the day, or burn out will come faster that you can say Corona!
I have used these blank schedules from Confessions of a Homeschooler for years. She also has ideas for more formal schedules for every grade level. I found them helpful when we first started. Remember, everyone does things differently, and she has some good guides if you or your child thrive on a lot of structure. Whether you are a very scheduled family, or no schedule at all – you need to have some kind of order to your day – for everyone’s sanity. We do well on a “flow of the day”, knowing it may be apt to change. She also has some other great tips concerning homeschooling and COVID-19.
Virtual Field Trips
These are so cool! During a time of closures, take advantage of these places being “virtually open”. Another thing to appreciate (especially as a homeschooler) is there are no lines or crowds!
- Home Safari At the Cincinnati Zoo (with activities).
- Over 50 Virtual Field Trips provided by The Unlikely Homeschool.
- More Virtual Field Trips provided by Freedom Homeschooling.
- 33 National Parks
- Virtual Rides at Disney
I love making art with my kids, but now that they’re big, I’ve found I like art more than they do. Sometimes I require them to join me, other times, I do it for my own enjoyment and stress relief!
Alisha Gratehouse from Masterpiece Society has several freebies right now. We have used some of her courses, and they are great!
- Impressionist Bluebird Lesson: masterpiecesociety.com/free-lesson
- 5 Famous Artist Lessons: masterpiecesociety.com/sampler
- 30-Page Coloring PDF Packet: masterpiecesociety.com/color
- Sparketh is offering a 30 day Free trial of their art lessons from ages 6-18. Over 1,000 bite-sized video lessons!
- Kitchen Table Classroom offers many fantastic printables.
- The Art Sherpa – I recently discovered this on YouTube, and painted the Grinch using her video. It was so much fun!
- Creating a Masterpiece – this is one I reviewed several month ago. There is a free sample.
- You Are An Artist – get started in making beautiful art with chalk pastels with Nana. Free Sample.
- The Homeschool Scientist is your go-to place for fun experiments!
- Kristen Moon Science has experiments, online courses, and more.
- Tied 2 Teaching has fantastic STEM projects. I reviewed one of their bundles last year, and we all enjoyed it!
- Fields of Daisies – a long time friend of mine who has loads of free history curriculum, printables and American Girl Unit Studies.
- 4onemore has some great looking mini geography lessons that can be done in just a few minutes. A neat looking Imports Scavenger Hunt caught my eye on Facebook this week.
- LitWits – Experience classic books in a hand-on way! Several fellow reviewers had the opportunity to check these out recently, and really enjoyed them. They are offering a free LitWit Kit with the code READFORFUN.
- Moving Beyond the Page is currently offering semester packages. I’ve tried some of their individual units, and we enjoyed them.
- Teach Your Monster to Read is created by the Usborne Foundation and is offering the app for free for a limited time. I have not used this, but have heard very good things. Plus, if Usborne has anything to do with it, it will be good!
- Usborne Books & More – I have been a consultant for 10 years with them, and the books can’t be beat! I encourage you to find my page on Facebook, and I invite you to join my brand new group! That’s where I can offer my own specials, sneak peaks, and more. Please join!
Other Fantastic Finds
- Homeschool Fanatic – that’s me! I have several blog posts and printables to get you and your kids outside. Right now, that’s the best place to be! Grab your day trip hiking checklist and some other printables in my free resource library! There’s also a post titled Buh-Bye February Blahs with ideas applicable for now to add a little fun to your day.
- Brainpop is offering free access for 30 days, or as long as schools are closed.
- Homegrown Learners has a cool Lego learning page with many ways to incorporate Legos into your learning for your Lego lover!
- SchoolhouseTeachers.com – offers a huge variety of courses, electives, and a super video library! You’ve got to see the Drive-Thru History videos! Check out how our family has used it here. They currently have a special price for membership.
- Outschool.com – offering live, online classes for ages 3-18. I’ve never used it, but they look to have some interesting things that are short term. Video game design, ASL, film making, mechanics, and more! I will definitely be checking this out!
- Gather ‘Round Homeschool – it’s new, and I’ve heard great things about it. It is a multi-Age Unit Studies that covers all subjects (except math). There is a Free Africa sample available.
- Schoolin’ Swag – my good friend, Dawn, runs a blog full of information, product reviews, and ideas for teaching multiple ages. She recently posted a great list of keeping children engaged and active during this time with several great links!
- The Secret Life of Homeschoolers – my new friend, Sharon, has a great section on her blog, with projects and activities such as pretty paper flowers, homemade ziplines, and more!
- CNN-10 – we watch this daily. Carl Azuz delivers all the news you need to know. Watch with your kids, then turn off the television. Really.
- Get the wiggles out and exercise with PE with Joe, (you and the kids will love the accent), There are so many free things on YouTube. Here is a big list of fitness studios offering free classes.
- Teach them to make their own lunch with free live cooking classes on Facebook from $5 Dinners.
I hope I’ve provide some things to offer a variety of options for new homeschoolers, and veterans alike. I plan to update this list every Friday for new things I’ve seen through the week. That way, you can plan your next week accordingly.
Finally, don’t feel like you have to be doing something with your kids every minute. They need down time and so do you. Let them be kids, let them play outside, get messy, learn life skills, and most of all enjoy a loose schedule during this time of current events. Remember, you were their first teacher, you know what to do! I hope to be able to provide some weekly tips, so check with me often or find me on the social media links at the top of this post.
I love hearing from my readers! Let me know if you saw something super to add to the list, or if you tried something from this one. Happy Homeschooling – whether you intended to or not.