Homeschooling. It’s not something many of us parents ever dreamed we would be doing, but here we are trying to map out your child’s education on the fly. It can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few supplies, you can help keep your child learning and entertained.
The good news is this situation is only temporary. There is no need to try and become a professional educator overnight. Your first, and most important, job is to be a parent. Provide structure and make children feel secure and loved in this ever-changing world is the top priority. And you’ve got Brooksfield’s weekly updates and YouTube feed to help.
Don’t try to create rigid lesson plans. Even small children know that mom and dad teaching from home isn’t the same as school, so don’t try to make it the same. Have fun. Teach practical life lessons that are age-appropriate. To get started, here are a few things that will be good to have on hand. Don’t stress if you don’t have all of the items listed. This list is simply a starting point. You can add or substitute as you see fit.
Children’s headphones – If you are going to do any kind of online learning, quality children’s headphones are a good investment. They will help keep your child focused while providing you with some extra quiet time.
Crafting supplies – Oh, the wonderful things you can do with some construction paper, tissue paper, glue, pom-poms, and pipe cleaners. Add in clothespins, googly eyes, and beads, and you’re all set for an afternoon of crafting fun. You have everything you need to make rainbows (while learning about colors and the weather) and clothespin caterpillars (while learning about life cycles).
A printer – There are tons of free resources online where you can print off coloring sheets, lettering pages, and more.
Pens, pencils, fingerpaint, watercolors, markers, and crayons – Every budding artist needs a medium. If you don’t have finger paint or watercolors on hand, you can find DIY recipes online using typical pantry items. Here’s an easy one for fingerpaint and a recipe for watercolors that takes a little bit more time.
Chalk – As the weather starts to get nicer, get your child outside. A cheap bucket of sidewalk chalk is an excellent tool for artistic expression. Teach your young one to make a hopscotch board. Leave inspirational messages for the neighbors. Practice writing names.
Play-Doh – Children love play-doh! It’s soft, squishy, and relaxing to play with. Molding with the dough is also great for enhancing fine motor skills and creativity. Kids will also learn new words like “roll,” “flatten” and “squeeze.” They also will expand their vocabulary as they describe to you what they’re doing and making. Plus, it’s great for building concentration as your child plays quietly for extended periods.
Books – Your children probably already have many books lying around their room. If they’ve read them countless times, try utilizing them in a new way. Read “Three Little Pigs” and then have your child re-enact the story using stuffed animals. Create themed days. For example, gather books about the beach and read them while laying on beach towels and listening to ocean sounds on an app on your phone.
DIY sensory bin – A large plastic tub filled with water, sand, rice, beans or dirt gives you an instant sensory bin. Grab a few small containers, a spoon, funnel, tongs, and measuring cups, and your child is ready to play. Add in some small toys or alphabet fridge magnets and let your child’s imagination run free.
Puzzles – Puzzles are a great way to stretch your child’s brain. If you don’t have any on hand, or have done them countless times, teach your child to create their own puzzle. Have them color or paint a picture on a piece of paper. Glue it to a piece of cardboard or the back of a cereal box. Then cut the picture into several pieces and let them put their picture back together.
Yarn and cardboard – Create your own threading boards with an old box and some yarn or shoelaces. Cut out some simple shapes, like triangles and squares, or more complex ones, like butterflies and teddy bears. Let your child color or paint the cardboard pieces. Once they’re dry, poke holes along the edges and teach your kid to thread yarn or a shoelace through the holes.
Get outside – There’s no substitute for fresh air. That’s why it plays such a big role at Brooksfield School. If you’re looking for new ways to play outside, try creating an obstacle course using items from your home and let the kids go wild running through it. Go for walks and look for different kinds of birds, or see how many squirrels you can find. Count the different flowers in your neighborhood, and even bring a notepad along so your child can draw the ones they like. Go looking for four-leaf clovers. Collects twigs and rocks and create a fairy garden. Dig in the dirt. Catch lightning bugs. Let them get dirty. Let them be kids!
Folders, plastic baggies, and containers – Last of all, you will need something to keep your projects organized. A couple of folders for worksheets and paper and baggies or bins to keep your crafting items neat will make things more organized.