Isolated With Kids: Ten Homeschooling Tips From A Mom That’s Done It For Years
By Elissa Wahl
The coronavirus isn’t just about getting sick or stocking up on toilet paper — it’s also becoming a national issue surrounding education.
Schools are shutting down, leaving kids home, often without their parents. At Nevada Homeschool Network, our emails are blowing up, and our phones are ringing non-stop with parents who want to homeschool.
My response: But do they, really?
It might seem counterintuitive for this longtime homeschooling mom to advise parents not to turn their homes into schools during this pandemic, but that’s exactly what I’m saying. Homeschooling is great, but it’s not a choice to make lightly.
Instead of loading up your kids with workbooks, here are some ways you can use this time to bond with your family and enjoy meaningful learning experiences together:
- Utilize those board games that have been getting dusty on your shelves. Monopoly is all about math and finances, and don’t forget about strategy games like Battleship. Scrabble helps with spelling. Risk helps with long-term planning. And there are always old stand-bys like checkers, chess and Connect Four.
- Play outdoors — a lot! Staying away from other people doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Hike, walk, go for bike rides, skateboard, jump rope. Stay active so depression and boredom don’t set in.
- Read whatever you can get your hands on. Read snuggled on the couch. Read aloud. Just read! Showing that reading is important to you will help build the reading habit in your kids.
- Make a mess! Now’s the time to do art projects. Your kids will always remember the time you taped paper to the underside of a table and laid them below it with paintbrushes and paint, à la Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel.
- Build a fort or a tent. All you need is sheets and blankets or an old cardboard box. Even the mundane is fun in a fort!
- Teach them meaningful things around the house. Help your kids learn how to change a lightbulb or furnace filter or check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Explore the outdoors. Beyond staying active, go outside and count how many bugs you see. What kinds are the?y Where did you find the most? I live in a city, yet I can still go outside and find your standard bee, fly, ant, caterpillar, butterfly, cricket or beetle. What makes them the same? What makes them different?
- Make cards for nursing homes. Many nursing homes aren’t letting their patients gather for social events. And they certainly aren’t allowing visitors. Now’s the time to teach our kids about compassion. You can still make someone’s day!
- Learn about this virus. How do germs spread? How is washing your hands an effective way to combat the spread of germs? Grab some glitter. Pour it on your hands. Wash hands. See how much is left after washing under the fingernails, in creases.
- Make a family movie. I’m not talking just turning on your camera. I mean, come up with a script! Assign parts. Create costumes. Memorize lines. Then shoot the video. This could turn into a family tradition; if not, at least it can provide some fun memories.
Here’s the thing we homeschooling parents have known for a long time: Learning happens, and it doesn’t have to look like school. Recognize the educational value in everything.
If you’re stressing about math or the core subjects, know that there are so many educational companies right now offering things for free. Three of my faves:
Love your kids. Look for the education in life. With this mindset, you and your kids will enjoy learning and maybe decide to continue on with this lifestyle! If you do, give us a call, and we’ll help you through it.
Elissa Wahl is a longtime homeschool mom and founder of Nevada Homeschool Network.