School is closed. My 8 year old is at home. I’m not teaching either and am home. After a week of sleep-ins, lots of hiking and cleaning the house – we’re ready to get into some homeschooling for us “non-homeschoolers.”
I’m so thankful that I’m a teacher and have the background and resources to create a home-schooling program for my third-grader without too much trouble. Even though I’m a “noob” at this homeschooling thing (as my Minecrafting son would say!)
But maybe you’re not in as comfortable a position? You may have several kids at home, and limited teaching resources. Today – I wanted to reach out and help by sharing a copy of our daily plan as well as some fantastic ideas and resources for learning that you can use at home regardless of your teaching experience or resources.
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Starting a Homeschool Routine
Establishing some kind of routine is a good starting point, as most kids (and adults) feel calmer when there is predictability to their day. Keep in mind that both you and your child, or children will want to have a say in how the “new” day goes. Lots of choice and some free-time will help meet everyone’s need for learning, independence, and rest.
We figured out our routine by first listing all the topics we would want to study each day. My non-negotiable list included:
- Science or Social Studies
- Music or Art
Yours might be different from ours if you’re also working from home, or having to juggle other commitments during the day. My recommendation regardless, would be to keep some reading, writing and math in each day.
We also decided to have a daily morning walk together to signal the start of the day, a Jiu Jitsu lesson, media and nature study activities, and a short daily mindfulness practice.
Sitting down together, we sketched out a schedule with 6, 45 minute blocks of learning with two breaks. Your day may look different from ours. You may want shorter or longer “periods.” Or different lengths for breaks. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of different schedule options with your child.
In order to build in some flexibility, our last few periods of science, social studies, media, and/or nature studies can be done outside as part of an afternoon outdoor time adventure.
This is what our finished schedule looks like:
Content Ideas for Learning
Within each of our content areas, I wanted to start a routine right away that would be simple, and which would allow for a mix of “lesson time” as well as lots of independent practice of skills, and some choice of course!
Today I’m going to share with you some Math, Reading, and Writing resources to get you started. In a few days, I’ll send some more ideas for the other parts of our schedule.
To download a printable copy of the lesson ideas shown below – click HERE.
Math Time Ideas
Each math block is broken down into a short time to practise basic facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division. Then we spend the rest of the time on a word problem or activity.
A typical math block could look like this:
Facts Practise Resources
Fun Dice Games for Kids and Families from What We Do All Day
7 Games for Practising Math Facts from Scholastic
Math Choice Board For School Agers (Ages 7-10):
- Baking: Get in the kitchen and follow a recipe to bake something simple like cookies or muffins that requires measuring out ingredients. Read my tips for baking with kids for more ideas and a great recipe!
- Board Games: Play a board game together that requires some calculating. Dice games and board games that use money are perfect (Think: Monopoly, Pay Day, and Game Of Life.) Even card games that require tracking a score can be an opportunity to teach calculation skills.
- Pattern Hunt: Have your child go on a pattern hunt or shape/3D solid hunt around the house. Challenge them to find and record/draw as many patterns or examples of a target shape/solid as they can find on a piece of paper folded up into eighths.
- Surveys: Prompt your child to create a survey question to ask family members and friends. Help them create 4 or 5 possible answers. They can then call or e-mail the question to respondents, gather the results, and create a graph to show results.
- Nature Patterns: Print off this nature’s patterns printable, go outside, and see if the kids can complete and extend the patterns.
- 3D Solids: Search the house for different 3D solids. If you can find boxes for the different solids, try taking them apart and looking at their pattern or “net.” Have the kids try to create a net for a cube or other solid.
- Calculator Games: Try out a new game using calculators.
To download a kid-friendly copy of the list above – click HERE.
Math Activity Ideas For Younger Students (Ages 2-6)
Check out my Playful Math Curriculum for loads of ideas.
You can also check out these DIY Math Games to work on basic counting skills with younger learners.
Reading Time Ideas
A typical reading block could look like this:
We were lucky enough to be provided online resources for levelled books from my son’s teacher. Hopefully, you have some idea of where your child’s reading level is so that you can choose books that are not too challenging, or too easy for shared reading time.
A good way to check if a book is a “just right” level for your child is to use the 5 Finger Rule.
Invite your child read the first page of a book aloud and ask them to hold up a finger for each word they don’t know, or can’t figure out. If they get to 5 fingers on the first page, it’s probably a little too challenging right now. If there are 4 fingers up, the book may be a bit challenging, but it’s okay to try and is probably a good choice for shared reading where you can help your child figure out words. If your child holds up 1, 2 or 3 fingers, it’s likely a good choice for independent reading.
That being said, for independent reading time, I always let kids choose what they want to read, as long as they can sustain their interest for the time period.
Writing Time Ideas
A typical writing block could look like this:
Word Study and Spelling Resources
Spelling Games for Kids from Education.com (Grades 1-2)
Interactive Spelling Games for Kids from Home Spelling (Grade KG – 9)
Writing Activity Resources
Authentic Writing Task Ideas from Fantastic Fun and Learning
300 Writing Prompts for Kids from Think Written
Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal – We are using this lovely daily prompt journal every day. It has enough room to write 3 to 4 sentences.
I’m hoping to share some ideas soon for Science, Social Studies, Media, mindfulness, the arts and nature studies. Tell me what you’d most like resources for next in the comment section below. Wishing you all the best in your new homeschooling journey!