Homeschooling Ideas, Tips & Resources on Vacation in North Conway, NH
I know you've had a difficult time in the last year and a half with school schedules, shut-downs, etc.
In t, you probably didn't have a great opinion of the homeschool lifestyle and now you've had it dumped in your lap!
Fear not, I am about to give you the gift of free or low cost Covid homeschooling tips, resources, and ideas.
Homeschooling styles come in all shapes and sizes. Try to keep an open mind and do what works for you! I have heard so many parents say they are worried their kids will fall behind. Fall behind what? The world is upside down right now and I feel that our greatest challenge is helping them feel safe. A bonus would be for them to feel safe and make wonderful memories at the same time! Children that previously went to public or private school are usually concerned that they will miss their school friends.
During these upside down times, many families are struggling financially, having trouble finding childcare, have anxiety about sending their kids to school. The parents that decide to homeschool are struggling to figure out how to do it. Is it expensive? Is it hard? Will my kids learn? What if I don't teach them everything? This will be the best advice you'd ever get - contact everyone and anyone that has a skill and ask about a homeschooling class/tour/visit. Most businesses welcome tours by homeschoolers because every child has a chaperone to keep order. You'll find that dance studios, karate instructors, art teachers, etc., will welcome your homeschooling group during the day! Homeschoolers are available when public or private school students are not! Stop worrying and read my suggestions below
Buy an ASTC pass - Google it!!
Join homeschool groups on Facebook
Go to yard sales and look for cheap craft supplies and educational games
Decide what you don't feel comfy teaching (for me it was English) and see if you can do a trade with someone who rocks what you stink at
Give you child a camera
Plan a physical activity to let off steam
Get used to dishes in the sink
Prepare to do things you don't like
Get a library pass and tell them you're homeschooling. Most libraries let you check books out for months at a time
Plan or join classes of all types; karate, basketball, nature classes, theater group, plan a educational game night, or art classes
Contact local museums and ask about homeschooling classes
Plan a tour of a factory, hospital, restaurant, or a municipal building
Let your imagination run wild!
There are many variations of homeschooling styles. Throw school safety into the mix and all bets are off! Historically, homeschooling styles are classified as:
Homeschooling on the Road
Most folks use a combination of all of these styles.
When most folks picture a typical homeschooling day, they see a Mom in a denim jumper with a flock of children sitting at a kitchen table busily reading, writing, and learning. The reality for most families is very different from this. Even homeschoolers that use traditional homeschooling curriculum for the most part, do not gather round a large table under the watchful eye of Mom. In all my years as a homeschooling Mom, I've seen learning happen in the car, on horseback, on the swing in the backyard, laying on the floor, and many other wonderful ways! 25 years ago, I was busy trying to educate the masses about the benefits of homeschooling. Most folks would bellow, "what about socialization?" Insert eye-roll here. I wish I had allowed my super talented actor son to do a video series of a smattering of many homeschooler's "typical" days. It would have the makings of a TV reality show! I can imagine all of the outrageous outfits, boys with make-up that their sister's applied to their faces, older homeschoolers teaching younger kids how to ski or write in cursive, and many more daily occurrences in the life of a typical homeschooler!
There are articles that describe many more styles in gross detail. Having homeschooled myself in the 1970's and homeschooling my son starting in the 1990's, I like to boil a few styles together and only list 4 major styles.
Eclectic Homeschooling for Active Folks
Eclectic homeschooling was how I chose to describe the style that fit my son's personality to a tee! My personality is part wanderer with a touch of OCD thrown in for good measure. The truth is, it clicked for both of us. Travel is in my blood so when my son announced at the age of 5 that he was going to be an actor, I smiled. I had no idea how many far-flung places his acting career would take us. He practiced his Spanish in the car heading to play practices by shouting out the Spanish names for everything in view. We built a house when he was 6 years old and I do believe that the process of drawing up the plans on our old computer counted as math, English, history (we designed a saltbox style home), and science. The construction of it encompassed all that and more! During his elementary school years, I let him pick any sport or lesson that interested him. My only stipulation was that he stick with it for at least 6 lessons/weeks. The exception was voice lessons. Epic fail. We used lots of books from the library, tons of educational games that I bought for a song as the first yard sales of the season. Educational games are a favorite Christmas present of grandparents. Most of the ones we bought were never opened and by the time we sold them at a yard sale, they were pretty worn out! We joined a local museum and purchased the ASTC Museum Pass for about $70. We used this pass all over the country when we homeschooled on the road! Even when we were stationary, we used it a lot at museums we never would have gone to if we didn't have the pass! Check it out! My son was a hands on learner so he did a lot of his learning on the computer, at educational seminars, a bit of paid tutoring, and lots of reading. His homeschooling definitely had structure to cover all subjects but the way in which he learned them fit his learning style.
This style fits most folks vision of what homeschooling looks like. Buying a curriculum, setting a schedule each day for every subject, sitting the kids down and getting lessons completed. For some kids, this is perfect. For some parents, this is a dream. If your child is not the type to sit still and stay focused, it can be a total failure complete with crying and upset kids and parents. The old style curriculums I have perused are very thorough and well laid out. I must admit, I wanted to yawn when I flipped through the pages.
Finally, my favorite homeschooling style - Homeschooling on the Road! What fun it is! We packed a camper chock-a-block full of books, educational games, a laptop, card games, tons of nature DVD's, and lots of craft supplies. We found that just living on the road covers every subject! We used all of the supplies we brought but honestly, we could have left them home and he would have learned just as much. Some days my son calculated gas mileage, added up how much our lunch bill would be, chatted with a docent at a science museum, completed the Jr Ranger program at a National Park, read us a story, practiced his cursive by writing a letter to a friend at home, and helped cook dinner. Obviously, I could go on and on. If you decide to think outside the box and take off on a road trip, prepare for tons of unexpected learning moments!
Homeschooling the Unschooling Way
Unschoolers don't start the day with a plan to complete a number of subjects. The theory is that just living a very full life, a child will be exposed to everything they want and need. The term you hear often is that their paths are strewn with materials that could or could not be considered educational. It has been the experience of the families that unschool, that if the child wants to got to college (for instance), they know they will need Algebra or Chemistry or a foreign language so they self motivate and learn whatever they need to. To me, it seems like the most natural way to learn but I was not brave enough to practice it with my son.
In conclusion, I hope you can relax now that I've provided a slew of ideas, resources, and tips for homeschooling during COVID-19. It won't cost you a fortune and there is NO right way to do it. Relax, you'll do fine as long as you think outside the box. A good friend of mine that was a homeschooling Mom too, once said "Homeschooling allows you to ride in the first car of a roller coaster." Truth be told, I would never ride on any car on a roller coaster but I will say that most of my favorite memories from my and my son's childhood are epic homeschooling moments! Don't go it alone if you're a first timer. There are so many parents with great minds, talents, and the ability to get together during typical school hours. You can create a loose barter system with plenty of them. For instance, I was a science major in college. I taught the homeschoolers a Biology class in exchange for transportation to play practice for my son. Get creative, think outside the box, take chances, let your guard down and have fun! Teena
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