11 Tips for Starting to Homeschool in a Hurry

A Guide for Coronavirus Parents

Updated on 4/17/20
Your child’s school has closed due to COVID-19. Your school district may be only kinda sorta prepared to support you. This is a practical guide for getting started.

Note: Since this was published, we’re getting a little bombarded with suggestions and new resources. We’ll be posting updates continuously. Please continue to share. We’ve recently added a recording of a webinar and slide presentation based on this article below.

Source: Flickr. CollegeDegrees360.

My wife and I have homeschooled our kids for about eight years. Facing an ever-growing list of school closures around the world, a friend texted me recently and suggested that we share some tips about how to get started with homeschooling. This article is geared for parents and guardians of elementary to middle school kids, though some of it could be adapted for all ages.

Good news. There has never, ever been a better time to homeschool your child. Many of our favorite resources are now free during the pandemic. Bad news, the sheer number of resources and choices can be overwhelming.

The following tips are a composite of things that have worked for us as a team to help you get up and running. Here’s what we would have wanted to know when we started:

Now, take a deep breath. Please know this is all quite doable. Most cultures have been doing it for generations. Enslaved people in America did this in 1619 with none of the resources we currently enjoy. Homeschooling worked for George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Tim Tebow, Billie Eilish, and Emma Watson (and, hey, she went to Oxford). You’ve got parents in your community who are ready to coach you. Most of all, kids are amazing, resilient and down-for-it. They’ll inspire you…at least by Friday.

Homeschool Shopping List

Small Whiteboard with Markers
Lined Paper
Art Paper and Supplies
3-Ring Binders

Online Resources

Pre-Recorded Webinar: “Quick Start Guide to Homeschooling”
Presentation: “Quick Start Guide to Homeschooling”

Articles on Resources and Homeschooling
15 Online Classes for Kids to Keep Them Learning on Days Off | ParentMap
The 12 best online tutoring services for 2020 — Care.com
Easy Educational Resources
Emerson Collective List of Resource Supporting Students During COVID-19

Great Content and Tools (Media, Lessons Plans, etc.)
Life Long-Learning with CuriosityStream for K–12 Institutions
Khan Academy
Learn computer science | Code.org
Teaching Resources & Lesson Plans | Teachers Pay Teachers
Studies Weekly: Educating Young Learners One Newspaper at a Time
CuriosityStream — Thousands of Documentaries On-Demand
Bookshare | An Accessible Online Library for people with print disabilities
Dolphin EasyReader App | Bookshare
Writer’s Almanac
Big Life Journals Printable journals for building resilience in kids
HistoryGal’s Top History YouTube Channels

Exercise for the Body and Mind
Headspace Our favorite online meditation service, includes sessions for kids (kindness, calm, etc.)
GoNoodle Lots of activities to get kids dancing, moving and shaking.

Art & Writing Activities (Tutors, Science Kits, etc.)
Outschool: Take small-group classes, from anywhere.
Brave Writer
Poetry Teatime
The 12 best online tutoring services for 2020 — Care.com
Mark Kistler Online Drawing Lessons Kistler is doing a free online drawing lessons during pandemic.

Science & All Things STEM
Kiwi Crates Great science-related activities
Elemental Science 80+ free science resources

Getting Started on Teaching Equity
National Women’s History Museum
Africa | The British Museum | Partner content | Khan Academy
EJI — Listen
Rejected Princesses
Resources on History and Indigenous People

Simple Lesson Plans
Monique Willms Blog Great one day lesson plans based on Frozen 2
Monique Willms Blog Great one day lesson plan based on the book Ish. For this lesson plan, Amazon prime video has an animated reading of the book so your kids can watch the story and then do the activities.

My wife and I have been homeschooling since our kids were in pre-school. They are now middle schoolers who seem reasonably sane and balanced. She is our Principal, Curriculum Decider, and Chief Executive Officer. She’s too busy to write this. I’m our Social Studies teacher and cheerleading coach.We get that this pandemic is a temporary thing. We have no interest in advocating for homeschool as anything but a useful option for some parents. All educational choices have trade-offs. #YouDoYou

Focused on social entrepreneurship, leadership, technology, parenting, equity, and homeschooling, which is to say, not focused at all.

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