Homeschool Help for Families
Welcome to what can only be described as your crash course in homeschooling. I'm calling this #CoronaSchooling. While a majority of you landing on this page may have never expected to find yourself schooling your children at home, that's exactly what this current pandemic has brought on. First, thank you for your sacrifice. I know this is really hard for a lot of families…both financially and mentally. Homeschooling probably isn't what you thought it would be. I'm going to do my best to help you navigate this season of schooling your kids at home and try to make it as simple as possible. Don't do what most of us do when we all first start and overcomplicate things. Some of you may have school assignments from your children's teachers and some may have no direction at all. So, I'm going to give you a bunch of advice and direct you to some great resources, both my own and my favorites elsewhere. For those trying to figure out how to get school work done with your kids AND work from home. Welcome to my world! That's exactly what I do. I'm an accidental entrepreneur but have still managed to build a business and accomplish some major life goals (like recently having my dream book, M.O.M.=Master Organizer of Mayhem, published) all while homeschooling my kids. So, know managing–or should I say, “juggling”–homeschooling and working at home is possible. First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kristi Clover and I'm a homeschool mom of five kids. We've been homeschooling for over ten years now and I've been speaking at homeschool conventions for almost six years now. I co-authored a book called Homeschool Basics that is filled with tons of great advice and help for anyone trying to figure out schooling at home. My oldest is graduating this year and my youngest is in kindergarten. My passion in all I do is to help families find simpler ways of doing things so they can experience more joy in their lives. Yes, you can read into that that I love helping people get organized and be more efficient! So, let's dive into the world of homeschooling.
#1 ORGANIZE YOUR DAY!
Don't try to use the same school schedule that your kids used in school. This is a sure-fire way to drive everyone crazy in your house. Structure and routine are important, but using an outline with time slots will not work. Break your day into sections (or “chunks” as I like to call them) and assign certain tasks to be accomplished during those times. You can get my free, easy to follow School at Home Routine HERE. I have an IGTV video that walks you through some basics on how to organize your day using this printable. Still want more help? My Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course may be the perfect solution for you!! I actually developed a wildly popular homeschool organization course. Even veteran homeschool families use it and feel like for the first time they are feeling sane. You can check it out HERE. (It's on sale right now!) This is my secret sauce to how I get so much done with so much sanity. I created this course to teach families exactly how to organize their entire year and literally put it on cruise control. It’s been life-changing for over 1,000 families who have gone through the course. This course is a must-have for families who homeschool, especially for those just starting out. It will save you from the hours wasted trying to figure out morning-after-morning what to teach first and what needs to get done that week. Learn more here!
#2 STICK TO THE BASICS
Like I already said, and will probably say again, don't make this time more complicated than it has to be. Stick to the basics: reading, writing, and math. The key is to keep things simple. You have enough change going on that you don't need to overthink it right now. Here's a workshop I gave that highlights how to use what you already have to teach different subjects: Simply Joyful Homeschool: How to Start Off Simply
— Read Alouds: Reading with and to your kids is one of my number one tips for families trying to navigate teaching their kids at home. For your younger kids, seriously, this may be all the formal schooling that you need to do for this crazy season. We use a reading-based curriculum called Sonlight right now with our three youngest kids. I have several of our family's favorite read-aloud books listed on my Amazon store. I also highly recommend listening to audiobooks.
— Writing: IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) has created some free language arts lessons for folks who need some help schooling kids at home during this time. You can get those free lessons HERE. Their new Structure & Style for Students has been a real lifesaver for us! (Side note: IEW has great spelling and grammar products, too! This year we're trying out Spelling U See.)
— Math: We have used Math U See since the beginning of our homeschool years and have started using Teaching Textbooks for one of our kids. Both are great. Here's my homeschool hack for this season of school at home for math: Focus on math facts drills!! One of my favorite things to use for this is our Flash Master digital flashcards. You can set it up for additions, subtraction, multiplication, and division. (Great for all year round for math drills) I found this one online, too. I have a YouTube video about how to homeschool math, too.
— History: One of my favorite ways to study history and geography is to read a missionary story. Our favorite one is George Mueller. My other favorite Bible-history combo is SO fun and the perfect option for supplementing for any season of schooling: Drive Through History! Got high school students? We have loved using Notgrass for our high school kids. I believe they now have junior high history curriculum.
— Science: We love Apologia for our main science curriculum. However, for this moment, keep it simple. I wrote a blog post about some simple ways to teach science. I linked some of my very favorite books to use for this and some easy tips and projects.
Need Homeschool Help Now?
I've got you covered! I know so many people are looking for homeschooling and school-at-home advice these days. Due to this, I put together a How to Homeschool live webinar. It's all my best getting started advice plus some time for Q & A. Be sure to check it out to see the new dates available (and how to get instant access!).
#3 DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!
One of the best things about homeschooling is the fact that you can slow down and make learning fun. If you are reading a book about a section of history, grab a map or google it. Make a meal from that area or something that was mentioned in the book. Have your kids draw pictures or do an art project based on whatever you are learning. Having fun will create memories…and make lessons stick.
HOMESCHOOL HACKS TO HELP MAKE LEARNING FUN VIDEO:
#4 READ TO YOUR KIDS!
I can't stress how important this is, especially for young kids. Reading aloud is a bonding activity. If you have older kids and feel awkward reading to them, then listen to an audiobook together. You will create memories that will last forever. Some of our favorite books are linked here. Check out our family's favorite books…and our favorite family games.
#CORONASCHOOLING WITH YOUNG KIDS?
I have a technique that I call “sneaky school” that I always encourage people to use. Have fun and don't let them realize they are actually learning. Chart the weather (science), learn about their favorite animal (science), play games (often math), bake together (math), find places on the map (geography), read a story from a different time period (history), write letters to family and friends (write), and create your own family Corona Chronicles and write down your fun memories and moments from this time together as a family. If you are trying to get school work done with older kids with little kids in the mix, this might be a good workshop to listen to Homeschooling Your Bigs with Littles at Home.
MORE SCHOOL AT HOME RESOURCES & HACKS:
I hope you found this information helpful. I love helping families figure out this homeschool thing…even if it's just for a time being. If you'd like more information and homeschooling tips, I've got them. Try checking out these links:
— My brand new webinar: How to Homeschool (now you can get instant access!)
HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM THAT WE USE:
In case you are wondering what curriculum we use in our homeschool, you can find all our favorites on my resource page.
I'm excited that you are giving homeschooling a try! Homeschooling has been such a blessing to our family and I pray it will be a blessing to your family as well.
Blessings and joy,
If you found this helpful, please share it…
If you found this information helpful, please share it with friends (and online strangers). My passion is always to help families find simpler ways to do things so that they can enjoy more joy in their lives. Thanks!