Some ideas on how to keep your children learning when schools are closed.

This is a very unique time in ours and our children’s lives. Whether you are still working, working from home or home without work, many families have been flung into home educating their children. If you are not a homeschool family you may have found yourself in some uncharted water.

Kids and families across your state and across the nation are in the same boat. Schools will adjust and your children will be brought up to speed once school is back in session. Try not to add educating your child to the growing stresses in your life at this time.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle that many Iowans choose and enjoy. It does not mean that it is a good choice for every family. You do not have to homeschool your children at this time. You can look at this time as a sabbatical for your children and yourself.

There are things you can do to assure your child is retaining what they have learned over the first half of the school year.

Try to look at this time as enriching your child’s learning. Your child will be back in school soon and things will work out. Your children may be feeling the stress of school being out. They may be worried about their friends and family members and about getting sick. Your home is their sanctuary, not a classroom. It is where your children recharge and rest. It is their haven.

Although, you might be tempted to recreate a classroom environment try not to schedule your children’s day mimicking a classroom schedule. Allow time to relax and play. Use this unique time to connect with your child and enrich their learning.

I have included some ideas to keep you child’s knowledge sharp during school closures. These are also great ideas for Summer Vacations.

Mom describes the setting and at least one character. Each child takes turns adding to the story. If you have only one child at home there will be more need for Mom and Dad to write alternately with your child. Before writing, the story is read (or at least as much as to understand what is going on). No direction is given. Mom and Dad can add to the story as well!

Don’t spend too much time correcting. Point out grammar corrections and add misspelled words to your spelling list.

Practice Math facts. There is not time lost in making sure your child knows their math facts. Make flashcards and go over them each night. Start with addition, then subtraction. Once these are mastered move on to multiplication and division. I believe the standard for mastery is answering within 3 seconds. No matter what grade level or math ability, when your child has mastered these facts it will only strengthen all future lessons.

There are many many grade level spelling list on- line. Find one and get started. Pick 10 words a day. Have a mini spelling bee in your living room daily. Any words missed are written three times and added to the next days 10 words. If your child misses 10 have them write all 10 and redo the spelling bee the next day. If they miss more than 5 add only 5 new ones the next day and retest the missed words. If the words are too hard you might consider dropping down a grade level. If the words are too easy, run through more of them at a time until you get to a spot where your child is missing a few then bump back down to 10 daily.

Living room Spelling Bee. Mom says the word, uses it in a sentence and repeats the words. The child repeats the word, spells it and says the word.

This Spring we started a fun geography study. If in public school your children may have participated in the Flat Stanley Project. I imagine they really enjoyed it. We are working on our own version this spring.

See our “Jammin JV” Project.

Put together a book list for your child that is at their ability, not necessarily their grade level. Have your child read each day. If it is an interesting book at their ability level you shouldn’t have a problem getting them to read. Let them decided how long they read. Reading is all about practice.

See our 5th Grade reading list.

If you have a struggling reader remind your child that it takes practice. I always tell my son that if we naturally gave up on things that we didn’t know how to do we would never have learned to walk or talk. Reading takes practice.

If you and your children are more comfortable with the Accelerated Reading program that your school offers. . .

You might look into Book Adventure.

Put together a biblical art challenge for your child. Give your child a verse each day to paint, draw or color. Discuss their picture and scripture with them.

You can also take a look at our Easter Art Challenge

Have your children pick a topic to learn about. It could be motorcycles, Monarch Butterflies, or Africa…anything they can come up with. It is important to have them pick the topic, one that interests them.

Next it is time to research and learn. Although, libraries are closed right now some are offering curbside service and also have ebooks and audio books on line. Lots of good information on the internet and Youtube as well.

Have them learn as much as they can about the subject.

Next your child will need to figure out what they are going to do with this new knowledge. They can make a picture book with facts, they can write and present a speech, they can make a story board, an animation or poster board, anything they can come up with. More should be expected from older students and you may have to give them a few ideas and encouragement.

Pick a date that your child will present the finished project to your family. Then have them present it. If it takes longer than two weeks, that is okay. Just keep plugging along. Give yourself and your children grace.

If you are interested in what a homeschool looks like at our house. You can see some of our day in the video below.

If you are interested in what curriculum we are using this school year you can take a look at our article

Fifth Grade Curriculum.

Snuggle more, read together and enjoy this time. This is an opportunity to connect with your child. Take this opportunity and enjoy the unique time.

Stay safe, stay healthy ~ Happily Homeschooling ~ Bridget

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