Whether the kids are at home full time or part time at the moment, they are at home significantly more than we are used to as parents.
We have less options for taking children out and about to stimulate, entertain and have leisure time together.
And parents are being expected to be a bigger part than ever before of our child’s learning and development journey.
So how do we do this? And not only cope, but thrive and create an enjoyable bank of memories that we know have been key in our children’s mental, intellectual and physical well being.
I believe that like most things in life it comes down to thinking creatively and being open minded, trying things differently and being flexible.
So here are some creative tips for homeschooling success, strategies and ideas for activities to keep you and your children sane, happy and create precious family memories……
Tips to help your home-schooling day run smoothly and be fun:
1/ Have a daily home-school routine for everybody to see.
Try to keep on track. Set alarms to give audio cues for moving on, taking breaks and changing activities. Audio cues are helpful for children to know what to listen out for and to give some structure.
2/ Provide a positive incentive.
Research shows that it is more effective to provide a positive incentive than a threat. So giving milestones that help them to achieve something they want should provide motivation. Make the milestones bite size and something they can see they are achieving bit but bit to keep motivated. Also keep them specific and measurable. A goal like working hard is hard to quantify for both adults and kids. But, reading 5 pages of your book and writing 3 paragraphs is much easier to take satisfaction from achieving.
3/ If weather allows go outside where possible.
Not just for breaks but for learning. Even if the weather is cold; wrap up appropriately! The outside air is good for body and mind and changing up the learning environment helps concentration levels for children.
4/ Take pictures.
Children love to look back and be praised for achievements. If you take pictures of work and projects it allows for reflection together on what you have done and at the end of a week when you might need a boost you can look back at the successes and moments you might have forgotten about!
Creative Home-schooling activity ideas for all subject areas
5/ Literacy and IT – Make a toy video
Get the children to gather their favourite toys, write a narrative for the toys, complete with scenes and interactions and have them make a video using your phone. Simply film one shot of each scene. Children can move the toys, do the voices and play out the scenes. You can even take it to the next level and edit the scenes together and do captions etc. so they have a completed toy video.
Toy videos on youtube seem to be all the rage and children seem to love watching other people play with toys and create toy scenes, so getting them to create their own video like this is great for not only developing storytelling skills, character developing, social and emotional intelligence (creating character interaction) they also have the challenge of learning software to create an end product. Finally there is the satisfaction of watching their end creation!
6/ Physics – Engineer a toothpick bridge.
The idea of this seems quite simple but actually in practice it can be quite a challenge! You can compete with others in the house or virtually to see whose bridge can hold the most weight! This is a fun way to start your child’s study of physics and engineering. You can follow along with this toothpick bridge YouTube video!
7/ Art, Science, Maths, English (depending on what you design in your room!) Create your own breakout room
Complete with clues and puzzles. If you have more than one child you can give them each a room and they can create their own series of games and puzzles in their room and you can all play together visiting each others rooms.
8/ Subject area – Maths Make a Paper Boat
This is a great geometry project as you can work on makin
g the strongest or fastest paper boat. Use origamiway.com to find some good boat designs, create them. Then if you have a stream or pond locally you can go and test them out! Failing that you can test them in the bath or paddling pool!
9/ Chemistry – make slime
What kid doesn’t love slime?! And it’s a safe and basic way to
look at chemistry, plus there are loads of varieties you can do with it and loads of opportunities for theming! Check out Daisy’s favourite slime recipe and instruction video here.
There are also some good, variation recipes here –
10/ Science – Make Home-made ice-cream
There is loads of interesting science involved in making ice cream! How do room-temperature ingredients become cold and fluffy? Why does salt lower the freezing point? Use this recipe to make your own homemade ice-cream. You can then research the chemistry behind it whilst it freezes and share
your findings while you enjoy eating the fruits of your labour!!
Ways to add More Fun to Your Home-school Daily Schedule
11/ Cook lunch together – have a pre-lunchtime cooking class.
Teach them about cooking and food covers so many learning points including science, weighing, measuring, reading ingredients and being creative with preparation! And you get to have a great lunch too!
12/ Have an afternoon picnic; in a local park or the garden.
Snack time can be made more interesting by making an event of it. You can even invite your teddies and toys, create a theme for it
and play out role-plays at your picnic!
13/ Go to a Museum – virtually!
Lots of museums, zoos and attractions have virtual offerings. The great thing is that you can virtually visit one that you wouldn’t normally go to – at the other side of the world for instance!
14/ Play More Games
Board games, card games, role play games are all rich in learning, strategy, maths, word play and all sorts of learning opportunities. Board games are certainly not just for Christmas!! Here are 23 Card Games That Will Turn Your Students Into Math Aces
15/ Incorporate Music –
Putting a favourite song on between subjects, having a mad dance moment, doing PE to a favourite song or playing a music themed game are all super valuable and fun moments to have in every day, Music lifts everyone’s music, increases connection between people and improves focus and concentration.
16/ Get Messy with Art
Messy play is encouraged with babies and little ones but everyone loves messy play (just not the clearing up!) But creating messy art; using food, items from nature, shaving foam
and flour is great for getting creative juices flowing; not worrying about creating something long lasting and just enjoying the process. Just remember it can be cleared up afterward!
17/ Lego stamping
Lego stamping is art with bricks! It is super simple and sure to be a huge hit – see here for ideas and tips for a great Lego stamping session!
18/ Do a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are so great because you can theme them on practically anything, set them up anywhere, made for all ages and abilities and can be created to cover any length of time!
Here is some great interactive themed treasure hunts, each one a 45 minute ready to play activity complete with character videos, riddles and even a song routine. There are dinosaurs, wizards, super-heros and astronaut themed here so a theme for every imagination.
Finally as a lot of us are juggling working from home whilst home schooling, and so if that is you then here are a few practical and creative tips to help keep you sane!
19/ Reframe Your Thinking
Don’t benchmark yourself against parents who aren’t also working. Remember every family is different’ everyone’s works schedules and pressure are different and every child is different. So just because you perceive a neighbours family to be doing things one way doesn’t mean that is right for your family. Do what is right for you and your family and don’t be influenced by what anyone else tells you they are doing or w
hat they think you should be doing.
20 / Take Care of Yourself First
Heard the saying ‘happy parent = happy family”? It’s true
. If you are not looking after yourself – this includes physically, mentally, eating and sleeping properly. Having time for your own moments of peace and joy, chatting to friends and having time to think are all critical to keeping well and thus being able to look after your family well. So don’t see it as luxury, see it as priority.
21/ Teach Self-Sufficiency Skills
It’s never too soon to teach children to be independent, take responsibility and be self-sufficient. And you’ll be doing them a favour as self sufficient kids do better later in life. A great mantra is “Don’t do for a child what he can do for himself.”
22/ Give Your Kids Daily Jobs – it helps them and helps you!
Win-win! Enough said!
24/ Quality not quantity
Having quality time with the children is more important than sitting with them all day. So if you spend a small amount of focused, quality time doing an activity that your both enjoy and create social moments with and your child has your undivided attention during that time then
you can fill their ‘attention bucket’ and that can be sufficient to allow them to do some independent tasks quite happily, allowing you some much needed time too.
25/ Get Help When Needed – we are all in this together
No-one expects you to be superhuman and no-one hands out medals. So it’s not a bad thing to ask for help.
Here’s to your successful home-schooling journey with your child now and beyond. And let’s hope that even when the pandemic eases that the memories and habits we have created during this time are long lasting in our families……
What creative homeschooling activities do you experience with your family? We would love to hear!
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