I am not cut out to be a homeschool kind of mom. It was never something I dreamed about or wished I could do. On that first day of school every year, I am equal parts ‘pour me a mimosa because we survived Summer’ and silent tears streaming down my face because suddenly we are one year closer to middle school, high school, graduation, college, babies. Eek, that escalated fast, but that’s truly how it happens in my noggin’.
So yes, while I love being a mama, and I mourn moments lost and time passing because of all of the time spent at school, I also love the hours while my girl is at school. I love that I get to go to work during those hours, fold laundry while I catch up on Grey’s Anatomy and The Bachelor, and meet a girlfriend for a walk around the lake and lunch. And yet, here we are in week three of no school. Entering week three of mom school. I certainly never imagined doing this during a pandemic, when typical resources and activities would become wholly unavailable. And yet, here we are.
So, with three weeks of experience under our belt, and having tried a lot of the resources that are out there, I thought I would share our favorites with you. Also, I want to preface it with this: whatever you’re doing right now, it is enough. Our children have years of school left in front of them, years, and this next month or two, ultimately won’t really matter. We’ll recover, they’ll recover, they’ll graduate and go on to be the next great whatever it is their heart is currently dreaming. So again I say, whatever it is you’re doing right now, it is enough. It is more than enough. With that said, if you’re looking for some resources to help fill your time, (good Lord, the days seem 10x longer right now, right?) here are the things that Reese and I have been up to.
1. Scholastic Book Flix: This is hands down Reese’s favorite resource. Every morning we write a list of the school things that need to be done for the day, in any order she chooses, and this is always where she likes to start. She has a lot of control over it, as she gets to pick her topic that she wants to learn about each day. She then enjoys one non fiction book and one fiction book, as well as some reading comprehension questions when she is done. They can read the books, or have the books read to them, and you can pick their grade level. You’ll need a username and password to access this site. (You can use the username: Learning20 and the password: Clifford_ )!
2. Mystery Science: This is a great collection of short mini lessons designed for students, parents and educators. They are arranged by grade level, from K up to 5th. A lot of the lessons are completely digital too, which means no messy experiments and minimal parental involvement. We get it, you’re trying to work from home right now too while you do this homeschool bit!
3. Cincinnati Zoo: Just in case you’re not already watching these, everyday at 12PST the Cincinnati Zoo goes live with their ‘Animal Safari.’ It’s fun, educational, and we’re learning all kinds of fun animal facts. The zoo also includes an activity each day after their talk. Sometimes it is a quiz, other days it’s an art project. Oftentimes I’ll have Reese write three facts that she learned from that day’s talk. This way we’re getting in some comprehension and writing practice as well, but it doesn’t quite feel like school.
4. Deep Space Sparkle: Oh, how we love Teacher Patty! She has excellent online art tutorials that can turn the self proclaimed worst artist into a real artist. Y’all, I drew and painted the cutest unicorn just following along with her! She’s been going live every morning at 10am PST (M-F) with a different project and we look forward to each and every one of them. If you’ve got water paints, markers, crayons, and paper, you’re good to go. If you tune in live, you can assume that we’re there most days drawing right along with you.
5. History for Kids: My girl loves history and she is a total sucker for a timeline (she does not get this from me…at all). This site is great for exploring ancient civilizations, our current government, and everything in between. There are video clips, games, and worksheets to help your kiddo engage with the material a bit more.
6. National Geographic 5,000 Awesome Facts: When all else fails, we give Reese a book of facts. We have quite the collection of these fact books and she reads them over and over. At least ten times a day I can count on Reese looking at me, lifting her finger up in the air and saying “Fun Fact…Did you know an octopus has 3 hearts?” or “Fun Fact, the South Pole is actually colder than the North Pole.” If nothing else right now, keep your kid reading. There are days when reading is all the ‘school’ we do and I firmly believe it is the best thing for her (and your kids too)! Everything else that she needs to learn and do at school, and in her future, will be built upon her reading skills.So practice, practice, practice. If you need more book ideas, or help cultivating a reader, check out this post where I share some tips and favorite books.
We don’t do all of these things every day. We pick and choose and balance it out with other things like math worksheets, board games (so good for math skills!), writing letters to friends and family we’re missing so much, and a regular dose of television. This mama is being stretched right now in some really challenging ways, but we’re doing this. We’re all doing this. And you, and me, and the children in our care, we’re all going to come through this ok.
I’d love to hear if you’ve found an awesome resource you’ve tried and loved that you don’t see above. This next six weeks (or more) will be long and we will need some new ideas and resources for sure. So, I am actively soliciting ALL recommendations.
Hang in there mamas…and how many more hours is it until bedtime?