Sunday, March 29, 2020

homeschooling for the non-homeschooling mom

Hands up if you are now finding yourselves "homeschooling" your children. I for one, NEVER thought I'd be in this position as I am sure neither did most of you. However, here we are! I have been putting together  some thoughts over the past couple of weeks since the BC school system decided to suspend school indefinitely. We have been on Spring Break, but that comes to an end starting tomorrow and some sort of academic work should be on our schedule.

I have spoken to many friends, mamas, teachers, etc about what the next steps in this crazy process should be. Where to even start? Where to look for resources? What should I be teaching? It becomes so overwhelming so I have decided to take it one day, one step at a time. There is no need to rush this process as our children WILL BE OKAY!

five tips that have been suggested more than once:

1. Have a schedule, make sure everyone is aware of it.
2. Be flexible! Just because you have a schedule doesn't mean its is how it will go EVERYDAY. Try your best, but if you get off track a bit don't stress.
3. You are not a licensed teacher, don't try to be!
4. Make sure you have some outdoor activities.
5. Take breaks throughout the day, don't try to jam pack the morning then let your child have 5 hours of screen time in the afternoon. 

  We have to make sure our schedule works for not only Sofia, but for myself AND for Lyla.  To keep everyone engaged and stimulated I have decided to mix real life skills in with her academics. I catch myself many times just doing tasks quickly on my own instead of involving Sofia, mostly because its easier to just get it done. In saying that, we have allll the time in the world so what better time to teach her! Below are a list of life skills we will be working on:

1. Cooking / Baking - and I am not just talking about licking the spoon of cookie dough or opening a can of soup. We are going to read instructions, look up ingredients, measurements, etc. My goal is for her to have a handful of dishes she can make on her own to be more independent. 

2. Laundry - Maybe sounds more like a chore? I think there is a technique to doing laundry and doing it properly. As she gets older she'll have clothes that will need special care instructions and I want to make sure she knows exactly how to do that. 

3. Gardening - It is Spring right now so all the flowers and veggies are ready to be planted. There is a science behind planting, the soil, the sun, how much water. We will learn it together!

4. Proper Cleaning - ie. a proper way to make your bed, how to vacuum (w/lines!) cleaning a bathroom. As she gets older house hold chores are a daily task so I'd like her to learn how to do them properly. I am sure this will be her least favorite real life skill but a necessary one at that.

Now let's talk Academics! Where do you even start?  Google is a good place haha.  Okay, seriously where do we start? I will separate the categories and the info I have been give in each. ** Disclaimer I am not a teacher and this info has not been provided or directed by any district, just a bunch of info /sources that has been sent my way, 


There should be a list of books that are recommended for your child's grade. You could even jump on amazon and type in "grade 4 books" and a bunch of titles should pop up. If you don't want to buy books for your child your library may have an online version where your child could digitally check out a book and read it from a tablet. 
After your child has read the book (you will also need to read the book! otherwise how will you know  if they are on track? should be an easy quick read and may even help you get your mind off this crazy time) below are a list of activities to follow up the reading.

A) Complete reading comprehension questions to do with the novel (just google reading comprehension questions, whichever grade with book title) and should bring up lots of free resources

B) Use a Book Summary activity (ideas below)
  1. Write a letter to the main character and the character's reply
  2. Write a different ending for the book
  3. Pretend you are a talk show host and interview the main character.
  4. Create a travel brochure for the setting of the story or scrapbook pages about key characters.
  5. Create a book jacket, including illustrations, an enticing synopsis, author bio, and favorable reviews.
  6. Summarize the book into a comic or story aimed for younger students or your classmates.
  7. Write a news article about an important event from the book.
  8. Write about the decisions you would make if you were the main character in the book.
  9. Choose two characters from the story and write a conversation they might have.
  10. Write a letter or email to a close friend recommending the book you have just read.
  11. Make a list of new, unusual, or interesting words or phrases found in your book.
  12. Prepare a television commercial about your book. have your child act out the commercial for you.
  13. Explain why you think this book will or will not be read 100 years from now. Support your opinion by stating specific events in the story.
  14. Discuss one particular episode in the story that you remember most. Describe why you think it remains so clear to you.
  15. Write a letter/email to the author of your book. Address it to the publisher and mail it. Or, see if the author has a website and email it.
  16. Write a ballad or song about the characters and events in your story. Set the words to the music of a popular song and your child sing it
  17. Describe in detail three characters from the story. List reasons why you would or wouldn't want to get to know these people.
  18. Design a poster or new book cover depicting the climax of the story.
  19. Write an acrostic poem about the book using the letters in the title of the book or the name of a character or author.
  20. After reading an informational book, make a scrapbook about the topics.


A) Journal Writing-use a "journal" to just free write based on a topic. Don't worry much about spelling/editing/grammar here just to get the ideas flowing.

B) Story Writing
Write a story or fairytale or essay. Free write first then edit together looking for spelling, grammar errors and adding in "juicy words" (adjectives), transitional words (firstly, secondly, lastly etc.) to make it more interesting. Type out a final draft and create illustrations to go with it.

C) Write a basic essay!
*Choose a non-fiction topic that is easy to research ie) animal, famous celebrity, country and choose 5 sub topics to write about.
ie) Animal (habitat, diet, mating, predators etc.) vs. Country (culture/art, food, location, flora/fauna) etc...
- Sofia did animal and a celebrity last year so I think we will focus on a Country this time.
Once they are done with their project have them present it! Have your child write onto cue cards, partially memorize and present to the family to hit the public speaking component OR make a powerpoint with images and share it that way.


The following websites are good for printable resources:

Dad's Worksheets (all free-basic operations including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions etc.)
Word Problems (good for practicing word problems-1, 2 and 3 step word problems)
IXL Games (by skill/concept) 

Another read source is Math Prodigy, sign up for a free account. 
If your child is confused with any Math concepts, has great videos

Lastly, I would suggest games with cards/dice/strategy games etc. too such as 

Other great resources are:

-  The Good And The Beautiful (not free but has great ideas, work sheets/packets etc)
 - Teachers Pay Teachers is a market place with over 3 million free and paid resources developed by educators. 

As far as what our actual schedule will look like here is what I am visioning. May change, after all this is all very new to us. 

7:30 - wake Sofia (by alarm! she wakes much better on her own)
7:45 - breakfast + open play to music (no TV in the am)
8:30 - dressed and ready for the day
9:00 - proper tidy of her room, proper make if her bed, an any help I may need around the house
9:30 - Math - worksheets, games, problem solving
10:00 - art or creative time
10:30 - silent reading + snack
11:30 - help (make them actually help!) prep lunch, eat outside (if weather allows)
12:45 - FaceTime with friends (if available) this is when they would be on such recess so trying to introduce some social interaction would be great, text or screen time.
1:00 - lets get outside! a little PE, jump rope, bike ride, nature hunt, side walk drawing, etc
1:30 - gardening or some other outdoor activity 
2:00 - inside + clean up
2:15 - writing exercises 
3:00 - clean up all school work and prep for next day
3:30 - open play with music, more outdoor time if wanted, maybe a walk? I am not allowing screen time just yet. This could also be a time for them to do some chores if they want their weekend completely "free"
4:45 - prep dinner, have your child help! Really they would love too. And since we aren't in a rush anymore there is no reason to not take it slow. 
5:45 - eat ( we eat early because Lyla goes to bed at 6:30)
6:30 - shower/bath get ready for bed
7:15 - screen time  - Sofia plays Adventure Academy its educational and fun!
8:00 - lights out!

That is all I have for now. Once we start giving it a shot I'll know what works better or what is not working at all. There are so many opinions on how to homeschool or even NOT homeschooling during this time that I really think it depends on what works for YOU and your child! Good luck everyone! We got this!


Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I am glad I do not have school aged children as I would suck at home schooling

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