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Looking for online AND offline educational activities while school’s cancelled?
I’ve had several parents reach out to us (we’re in our 5th homeschool year), asking what resources we recommend as many parents now have to work remotely while keeping their kids occupied.
My favorites list below…
First – I am NOT a fan of mindless busywork.
So links you find in this post are resources our family has used and feels are USEFUL and won’t waste your or your child’s time but be fruitful for their time at home.
Just know it’s not all rosy when you stay at home with your kids. If you feel yourself getting frustrated and resentful –– let your kids know you need to step away and collect yourself. This can be a stressful time if you’re needing to work on top of being a homemaker (and now an underprepared homeschooler as well).
My biggest tip is this:
Create a (loose) schedule.
If your kids are used to working with a schedule at school, they’ll be less anxious and feel like you have everything under control if you have one they can refer to at home. A schedule saves a lot of headaches, last-minute frustrations as well as liberates decision-fatigue!
And before you think homeschoolers aren’t affected by schools being canceled –– we are –– very much so.
You’re not alone.
Almost ALL homeschool families also rely on weekly community gatherings, local school sports, church and enrichment programs for our kids.
The only difference is we also have A TON of practice using many of the ideas I mention below to keep our kids engaged and learning.
Now before you jump into everything –– please consider this:
This time at home with your kids is a blessing – not a burden!
Home is often the best place for kids to experience and experiment with their true, innate passions. So instead of completely filling up every hour with activities, try leaving some room for them to JUST BE KIDS!
Finally, I highly encourage everyone to also spend an ample amount of time outdoors with your kids. Studies show time in nature cures those cabin-fever blues. Even a short walk works. Everyone comes back feeling refreshed –– and when you’re feeling stuck –– the outdoors become a Godsend.
And now… here are my favorite at-home resources for kids Kindergarten through about 4th grade.
(Make sure you open any links below in a new tab so you don’t lose this list!)
Books + audiobooks…
Bring out ALL the picture and comic books (I was privy to our library closing for two weeks so I gathered as many as possible). But you can usually still borrow audiobooks if your library offers online access.
If you have 15 minutes a day to read aloud, you’ll be surprised how kids will gather around and listen to children’s classics or a different fairy tale each day (whatever you have on hand will work!)
Want a study that guides you through Beatrix Potter’s sweet books? Check out A YEAR OF TALES.
I don’t have a history section below because my list was getting too long. We just signed up for THE GREAT COURSES free trial (for a month) and here is a list of HEROES HISTORY BOOKS LIST from my HEROES + HOPE SIMPLE STUDIES.
And don’t forget PODCASTS! While we don’t often listen to children’s podcasts there are so many available (and they’re free!)
My favorite activity!
Hand your kids some colored pencils and a nature journal (or a simple blank piece of paper with a clipboard works) and send them outside for a minimum of 30 minutes. Have them observe animals (or a tree/flower/bird/plant…etc). and draw what they observe. Give them a field guide (if you have one on hand, or use our favorite identification app SEEK) and have them enjoy the wonders of nature.
For birds we love the AUDUBON app.
Here are a few of our favorite, printable nature unit study small businesses:
FIREFLY NATURE SCHOOL
CHICKIE AND ROO
EXPLORING NATURE WITH CHILDREN
OUR JOURNEY WESTWARD (LIVE nature lessons), and
If you have 15 extra minutes a day and would like to encourage nature study through a story (something we do every day in our homeschool) I offer my SIMPLE STUDIES: LEARNING NORTH AMERICAN ANIMALS WITH THORNTON BURGESS.
Also, I listed additional unit study resources below.
We’re just now starting to use DEEP SPACE SPARKLE too. And my favorite handicraft bundles come from ROOTED CHILDHOOD. Note: You’ll most likely need to make a short run to the craft store or order a few essentials for quick delivery.
Most studies I list above offer a free lesson to test them out. We’ve also utilized many free YouTube art tutorials for watercolor and acrylics.
Want more YouTube ideas? Here are 10 YouTube Channels to check out.
In regards to crafts – I love letting the kids play with these items while listening to me read aloud:
This is probably the biggest concern for most parents –– not wanting their kids to fall behind. Just know that studies show it only takes 6 weeks (yes 6 weeks) to learn everything one needs to know in math. Everyone at your child’s school is in the same boat as you. This is also an area I’m not as familiar with because we do use a specific curriculum.
5. SCIENCE + HEALTH
Don’t forget, if your kids are doing nature study during the day, that counts as Earth Science! √
We also enjoy THE GOOD AND THE BEAUTIFUL science studies (make sure you get the download, not the physical product if you want immediate access).
Also, we LOVE our monthly TinkerCrate kits by KIWICRATE but realize that may not be a reality if your kids are only out of school for a few weeks. Here are a few quick-ship STEM ideas instead:
Now’s a great time to pick up a new instrument! There are countless free online lessons. We use in-person music lessons so I don’t have any online ones to recommend here.
7. FUN UNIT STUDIES
Here is a list of online resources we highly recommend for quick-access unit studies kids can do with you and many of them independently. Sometimes they offer free downloads you can take advantage of! (You will need time to prep after printing).
Chickie and Roo
The Peaceful Press
Little Spark Company
Firefly Nature School
Our Journey Westward
Honey Home Cabin
Be Naturally Curious
The Heritage Letter
You can also find Montessori printable like THIS on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Never underestimate the power of games: Logic, deductive reasoning, math, reading… games offer such great hands-on learning opportunities.
Don’t forget to play them along with your kids! If you still really want to sneak in some learning opportunities, I recommend THESE GAMES from Amazon.
Yes, we own and use every one of the games listed!
This is my favorite activity aside from getting outside together. If you’re creating a schedule, maybe you schedule a time to gather for 30 minutes each day. Maybe you read aloud a great book, create, pray, sing, read poetry, tell stories –– whatever!
Gathering time may surprise you… you may just love it so much you never want to stop.
If you’d like some pre-planned gathering ideas (We homeschoolers call the time “Morning Basket” or “Morning Time” –– our family calls it “Morning Circle”). Regardless they all mean the same thing: We gather, worship, read classic books, read poetry, talk and study the good, true and beautiful.
I have either personally used these resources or read through them and can attest to their ease and usefulness:
10. CHARACTER + HABITS + LIFE SKILLS
This time can also be used to to cultivate good character and responsible behavior.
Would this be a good time to instill new, simple routines like helping with the dishes, walking the dog or doing one’s laundry?
We find it easy to incorporate chores because we’re home most of the day. But once you wiggle good habits into your routine with the kids at home, the easier it will be to keep once they go back to school.
“Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.”Charlotte Mason
I have used these CHORE & ROUTINE CARDS from The Peaceful Press. We hang them up and the kids take them down after they’ve been completed for the day. (Let them have some ownership and choose what time of day they complete them!)
And it’s so fun to bake all the goodies during this time! We’ve enjoyed KIDSTIR the last few months (they offered 1000 kits to homeschoolers this weekend!). If you missed the deal, check out these sweet BAKING STUDIES from Willfully Serving His Children.
It may feel like the struggle is real (because it is!) but it truly is a blessing to be with our kids every day.
I hope these ideas bless many of you looking for a few helpful resources during this time.