A few friends have asked about what we use in our day to day and I’m happy to help, but I want to remind parents to give themselves a break as well. No one expects you to transform into the perfect homeschooler overnight. That person doesn’t actually exist so don’t even worry about it! Even the parents who decide to homeschool full time go through a learning curve and many of you are being shoe-horned into it. I give the same advice to you as I do to them, EMBRACE THE FREEDOM! The thing is, this is an unprecedented time in our lives. There’s no rule book and honestly, who needs it? Children retain more information when they’re having fun. They’re built for play. Take a step back. Make hot chocolate in the morning. Throw on an audio-book while you eat breakfast. Ease into the day with off-screen play time. Go for a walk, build a snowman, document the different types of trees in your neighbourhood. Read all the books! Draw pictures together, even if you think you suck. Have a movie night with popcorn and licorice. Think outside the box! You can do this.
This is not a “comprehensive” list, I just wanted to share some of the resources we actually use in our homeschooling. The Buttons are currently 4, 6, 8, and (nearly) 10, so these resources are mostly geared (or at least useful) to these age groups.
Netflix has all kinds of interesting things to watch, from nature documentaries, to history for kids, to cooking shows, to tiny home builders! Now’s a good time to explore something other than Paw Patrol and maybe even help your kids discover a new hobby! During a Nature Documentary lay out a stretch of paper and have them draw all of the animals they see as they go. The Buttons love this project and it’s something they can all do together. Watch the Who Was show and have them write a 3 fact profile on each historical figure. You can google what the person actually looked like for them to draw a portrait.
Disney+ has a National Geographic section, and for your little kids these ‘Ask Forky’ shorts where he explains what different things are/mean. T.t.t.traaash! G loves that weird little trash-fork.
Prime Video has quite a few book adaptations in their kids section as well as a family travel show that we like called Travel With Kids.
Teach Your Monster To Read is cute and fun and filled with monsters! the games help younger kids master letter rounds and phonics. (they can play right on the website as well if you don’t have a tablet)
Khan Academy Kids is loaded with fun learning activities. Games, books, and mini-lessons make this app a great choice for the 7 and under set!
Khan Academy is geared towards homeschoolers. It covers many subjects and offers video lessons with follow up work to cement those skills. It is American though so we don’t use the Math or English classes (we have our own curriculum) but there’s cool courses for coding, animation, music theory, and science (to name a few).
*TVOKids is split into a preschool category and a school-aged category, making it really easy to find games and videos appropriate for their age/strengths.
*CBCKids offers a variety of features including kid friendly news which I like for the 8-11 set.
National Geographic Kids has great videos, animal live streams, games, activities, and interesting facts galore!
Typing Club has a free version and a paid ad-free version. It’s a simple platform that kids right up to adults can use to learn or speed up their typing. There are even some mini-games to help strengthen recognition.
*Indigo/Chapters is offering free shipping until March 31st to help people grab those books they’ve been meaning to read but didn’t have time to until now!
*Kobo e-books is a great option if you’re not fussy about having a physical copy and you can access your book as soon as it’s purchased. No waiting for shipping! Kobo Audio is subscription based, but you do get a free audio-book every month and they have loads of good deals and sales. Children benefit greatly by being read to, but we don’t always have time to sit there reading to them. Throwing on an audio-book while they colour or before bed to wind down is a great option. (Plus it’s great for us adults too because we can listen to our own books while we make dinner or clean the house, or work on that sketchbook we bought 2 years ago, but never allowed ourselves time to get into until now!)
Vooks is a paid subscription app but it’s packed with great stories that are read aloud. When you’re busy helping your big kids with their work it’s nice to have some solid educational apps in your back pocket for your little kids.
AppleNews+ bought up my precious Texture app last year. They haven’t really done it justice (it’s kind of an afterthought in their news app) BUT most of my fave magazines are still there and quite a few kids magazines too! The Buttons love the National Geographic Kids and Little Kids especially. There’s also hiking, surfing, bicycling, crafting, and cooking magazines packed with gorgeous photos that might peak your child’s interest!
Scholastic has put together daily activities/videos/resources that are broken down by grade to keep kids learning.
*The Virtual Museum Of Canada connects you to a variety of virtual/online exhibits from museums around the country.
*Ripley’s Aquarium Of Canada has a Live Shark Cam!
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art has a collection of videos, streams, and articles to help you explore the museum from home.
The Metropolitan Opera has a collection of recorded shows.
There are so many more and lots of places are making special live streams available in the wake of all of the school closures so be sure to keep an eye out for these special glimpses of plays, musicals, exhibits, and experiences we may not all get to enjoy in our regular lives.
These are just a few items that we get a lot of use out of. Some these you may have at home already!
Banagrams and My First Bananagrams are a fun scrabble-esque game in their own right but we use them to practice weekly vocabulary words. Pair them with some flash cards or even write their names on cue cards.
A solid set of Flashcards can be very versatile. The “flash” part is great but tossing them on the floor and letting your kids line them up in order is fun! They can match them up with Bananagrams. You can write the alphabet out on a sheet of paper and have them place the cards on the matching letters. I suggest 3 packs. Alphabet, Numbers, and Sight Words. You’ll get the most use of those 3.
Our go-to Curriculum books are made by The Popular Book Company, but they also offer smaller workbooks to help kids keep practicing the basics. I’ll be honest though, looks like they’re slim pickins right now!
The Basics! Kick it back to Kindy no matter how old your kids are (or you are for that matter because everyone needs a little art in their lives. In uncertain times kids need an emotional outlet. Many times they can’t express what they’re feeling through words. Not only can they do that with something as simple as paper and a pick of crayons, but art can be uplifting too. This isn’t a fancy art gallery so don’t be afraid to get in there and be creative too!
A great place to find resources is Pinterest. There are loads of parents like me curating boards packed to the brim with amazing activities, information, crafts, and ideas! Follow me there for that HS inspo!
Alright y’all, The Roaring 20’s Redux is off to a shaky start, I’ll give you that. I was hoping for more of a new age Harlem Renaissance but instead it’s looking more like the early years of the Polio epidemic. It seems our country, government and fellow citizens, are working together to curb this thing the best we can and that’s something to be proud of. We’re all in this together. Be kind to one another. Be courteous. Be gentle with yourselves, especially on the parenting front. A lot of people are genuinely worried, not just about their health and the health of their loved ones but about their finances and their children’s education. These are difficult times, there’s no point denying it. It might feel like the world is cancelled right now, but remember that extra bedtime snuggles aren’t cancelled, chocolate chips sprinkled on their oatmeal isn’t cancelled, your favourite songs aren’t cancelled, silly snapchat filters aren’t cancelled, facetime’s not cancelled, texts aren’t cancelled, memes that make you snort aren’t cancelled…
kitchen dance parties are never cancelled!
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