One of the questions that I have seen frequently asked on homeschool Facebook groups is how to keep your younger students occupied while you teach your school age children. I have created a sheet of activities that I believe will give you some ideas. One of the key things to remember is to limit these activities (as much as possible) to when you are in school. Here is the pdf of this list for you.
I had a deep and to the point conversation with my almost four year old granddaughter this week. She was talking about a friend who she had loved dearly and talked about all the time, but I noticed over the past several months she hasn’t said much about her. I found out why.
“Marmie, I used to love playing with ______, but now I don’t. She is so mean to me! Why does she have to be so mean?”
“Well, she shouldn’t treat you like that. It doesn’t make you feel very good, does it? Can you ask her to stop?”
My granddaughter looked at my with a stern expression and a wagging finger and said, “I have told her, but I will tell her again. I will say, be kind!” Well said, Little One, but I reminded her to say it nicely and with a smile.
I know this doesn’t directly relate to homeschooling as far as subjects, but it has everything to do with life. Which is really the most important part of educating our children. Quite a few people can teach the subject content, but we as parents (and grandparents) are the best for instructing them in character building.
Can you teach children to be kind? Yes, I think you can provide instruction and opportunity to show your children that kindness counts.
Model kindness. I can’t expect that from my children if I don’t do it myself. It might seem cheesy and self-promoting, but as you do something kind you can say, “I am being kind by _fill-in-the-blank__ because I love you and I want the best for you.” Showing kindness to strangers while going about your routine and sharing what you did with your children helps them to see you are preferring others over yourself.
Make a phone call, send a card to someone, create a “thinking of you” video. I love it when someone calls to say hello with no agenda. Who could your children reach out to that would brighten their day?
Serve someone. Kindness begins at home. Look for teachable moments for your children how to be kind to one another (and you). Kindness is being others focused- setting the table, picking up toys, saying please and thank you are just some of the ways we can teach our children to be kind. You can make a kindness chart, have a kindness competition, make Kind Coupons to be given to family members. Some examples could be: One hour of borrowing a toy; helping build a Lego model; doing a craft, etc.
Serve others that are not your family. Food pantries are always in need of staples. How about collecting some a little each week and have your daughter/son put them in a box? Once you it is filled, take the kids and drop it off at a local food pantry. You can contact your pastor or check with your neighbors to see if there is someone who needs help (yard work, grocery shopping, etc.). What about paying for the person’s coffee behind you in the drive-through window? Be creative! There are lots of opportunities to do acts of kindness.
Lighten someone’s load. Homeschooling can be overwhelming. Do you have a friend who could use an afternoon to themselves? Taking the kids to the park could be a huge help. If that doesn’t work out, how about a pot of chili or a taco bar?
I saw this saying on Facebook and had to copy it to share with you. I can’t look you in the eyes, 😦 but I can tell you, “You are awesome! You are doing a great job teaching your children and they are blessed to have such a caring teacher and parent.”
Have a great week! ~Lisa~
“I have to feed the dog. “
“Oh, look! There is a squirrel in the yard!”
“This is too hard; I can’t do it!”
Have you heard any of these comments when you are teaching your son/ daughter? There are times when kids find every kind of excuse not to do their work. I have even had the kids volunteer to do chores they normally detest in hopes that I would forfeit their assignment.
“Haha! Nice try!” I would tell them.
So, how do you keep them on track without losing the battle or your mind?
Go over the day’s lessons and what you will be doing. We all do better if we know what will be happening.
Talk about your expectations. There are certain non-negotiable things you want from your child when doing schoolwork. This could be a good attitude, legible handwriting, etc.
Start with success. If your child is having difficulty finishing their work, it could be that they didn’t know how to do the lesson. Begin your lesson by reviewing something s/he knows. For example: If the short <e> is difficult, then review the vowels that are already know and teach to the level of success.
Do the lesson together. After you have taught the lesson, make sure you do enough of the problems that they can successfully complete the rest themselves.
Set a time to finish the assignment. Be sure that it is a reasonable time. If your daughter/son is having difficulty staying on task, redirect and set a timer.
Save it for tomorrow. If the task is not finished within a reasonable time, review the lesson the next day and see if the lesson was understood. If not, reteach, do some of the work together until they are successful and can do it independently.
Reward for completed work. We all have tasks that we don’t like to do and give ourselves a treat when we are finished (chocolate comes to mind lol). Of course, I am not talking about rewarding them for every little thing they finish, but if it has been an issue, then a small reward will help.
Praise your child. Draw attention to the fact s/he has completed their work and celebrate! It’s a big deal!
Have a great week! ~Lisa~
Here are some typing programs worth considering purchasing:
Typing Instructor for Kids This is the program I used with my sons. It has lessons, accuracy tests, and games to help them learn.
Jump Start Typing This computer typing program is for children in grades 2-5 and includes video clips for hand placement. We used this program as well, but the boys for the most part, had already learned the keyboard and this was reinforcement if they wanted more games to play. I know, extra-cautious homeschool mom syndrome 🙂
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is a classic computer program that would appeal to older students (junior and senior high school).
Online Typing Programs
Online Keyboarding Education is a terrific program that students of all ages will enjoy. I played a few games and also brushed up on my typing accuracy while having fun at the same time. Thanks to two wonderful readers for suggesting this program!
Typing Web This is a FREE online program for typists of all ages and abilities. You can even print a certificate when you finish.
Typing Club is a free online typing program and has helped 23,000,000 students. That’s a lot of flying fingers over keyboards!
Dance Mat Typing is free and is offered through BBC so it has a Scottish accented sheep who is your typing instructor. It is for younger students, but the children are entertained with animated animals that rock n’ roll. That may not be what you are looking for in regards to learning to type as I noticed it can be distracting. If not, you can try one of the other programs.
I wanted to thank Justin for sending me some amazing websites for more online typing options:
Keyboarding Basics You are sure to find a typing program that will interest your son or daughter on this website.
Learning to Type More Efficiently This has typing education to help you with your typing skills and typing tests.
A special thanks to Mary Anne N for sending me all of these cool websites for typing. https://www.wristbandexpress.com/content/wrist-hands-and-fingers-proper-typing-techniques/
oOps! I meant…
You may have been homeschooling for a few weeks now and noticed that you need some type of schedule or routine. In my early days of homeschooling I thought that I should set up a schedule like I did when I was teaching school. It looked something like this:
Math 8:00-8:50 Language Arts (Reading, Spelling, Grammar) 8:50-9:50
Snack/ Break 9:50-10:00 Writing/Handwriting 10:00-10:30
Social Studies 10:30-11:15 Science or Health 11:15-12:00
Lunch 12:00-12:30 Quiet Time/ Silent Reading 12:30-1:30
That schedule lasted a couple of weeks before I realized that school life at home is quite different from a classroom setting.
Consider blocks of times and subjects instead of specific beginning and ending periods. You will see that sometimes you breeze through subjects, so you might wrap up math is 30 minutes and other times you get involved with a topic (like dinosaurs) and just want to keep on going.
Choose a routine. Things run more smoothly when your daughter/son knows what to expect. For example you may choose to have these things be done prior to school: breakfast is eaten; bed is made; teeth are brushed, and bed is made. You can have an order of subjects that you follow each day, a snack time, and lunch is at/ around 12:00. You can vary this according to what works best for your family and schedule.
Plan a starting and ending time. Do you need to start precisely at 8:00? Of course not, but pick a time that is good for your family’s schedule and aim to start and finish at that time every day. I liked to start early so we could be done early. I also told the boys as they got older that I was available to them all morning, but after that, they were to wait until the next day to ask questions. Any work they did not finish during our school time was their “homework”.
Pick a place to keep school books and supplies. This may seem strange to put this under scheduling, but I thought it important to mention. Having a designated place for items will cut down on them being misplaced and time lost in looking for them. You can have a certain color for each of your child’s things if you have more than one child.(notebooks, binders, folders, etc.) If you don’t have the room for a lot of things, then purchase a milk crate or stackable cubes to put textbooks and binders in them.
Expect the unexpected. Some days things are not going to go the way you want or planned. That’s okay! There might be a lesson that is difficult and your daughter/ son just isn’t understanding it. Put the lesson aside and come back to it. You might need to look for additional resources to help with the concept, or just some time for it to make sense. There might be an unexpected opportunity to go on a business trip with your spouse; a family member comes to visit; a cool display is in town for the week, and so on can disrupt your school day. Take advantage of the opportunity and make it a learning experience.
Have a great week! ~Lisa ~