New to Homeschooling? We can get through this together…
With the new reality of sheltering-in-place, comes a new reality of needing to “school” our children. In many situations, schools have quickly migrated their curriculums online. Depending on the age of the child, however, and the school, the parent is left figuring out what to do with the extra time on hand. Television, computers, and screens have become childcare substitutes for some.
I am a homeschooling mom of three kids, ages ranging in 4.5 to 13.5, and began this adventure 9 years ago. As a working mom who spends 50% of my time or more working from home, I have been balancing kids in the home and work for a while now and have found it to be quite gratifying (albeit a bit challenging at times)!
A few takeaways
- Don’t try to be perfect : There will be days where you will resort to the computer, and that’s perfectly fine!
- Enjoy the experience : See this as an opportunity to truly connect with your children. This will not be the norm forever. You may decide you want to stick with it after the stay-at-home orders are lifted. You may decide you’re never doing it again. Either way, it’s an experience that you can all view as an opportunity.
- Use the resources that are available to you : There are hundreds of excellent sites out there that you can go to. You don’t need to create everything on your own. I studied education and became a certified elementary teacher back in 1997. I figured since I made curriculum at one point, I could do it again. I quickly realized that it’s not the same thing when planning for your own kids and decided to draw on all that is out there.
- Kids learn more when they enjoy what they are doing. Take for example, my son. He loves Tae Kwon Do. He was struggling with writing and math, so I built a curriculum around TKD for him. His math/science involved taking videos of different kicks, measuring forces, determining angles, and speed. His writing was focused on writing about his project and his interest in TKD. In this way, his learning became fun and wasn’t as much a struggle for me.
General Homeschooling Resources
My kids really like the online G3 history and writing courses. The teachers do an excellent job presenting materials that emphasize critical thinking.
LIVE Online Math
My daughter really enjoys this math class which has quite a bit of homework and teacher-student interactions online.
Druidawn Creative Writing Solutions
This is the program that got my kids writing. A highly creative way of writing for kids who enjoy fantasy, gaming, role-playing games.
Design Squad Global
Design Squad, a video series and website from PBS KIDS, empowers middle school kids to solve real-world problems and understand the impact of engineering in a global context.
Bill Nye Science Guy
This is the Official Bill Nye the Science Guy Youtube Page! Check out full length clips from each of the 100 shows on some very interesting topics.
ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy is the leading and most comprehensive online learning program for children, encompassing more than 8,500 learning activities and 850+ complete lessons for pre-school, pre-k, kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade.
A show on CuriosityStream.com about how tiny events in world history influenced giant changes.
Videos every week that answer real student questions and inspire them to ask more.
DreamBox is a K-8 online math program that supplements core instruction in the classroom or at home and is proven to increase math growth.
Athena’s Advanced Academy
Athena’s offers stimulating, interactive online classes.
Rosetta Stone (3 Month Free Trial for Students)
Rosetta Stone, potentially the most recognizable language learning software available, is providing a free three month trial for students during COVID-19.
Teachers Pay Teachers
TpT is the go-to place for educators to find the resources, knowledge, and inspiration they need to teach at their best, offering more than 3 million free and paid resources, created by educators who understand what works in the classroom.
Animated educational site for kids – Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Arts & Music, Health, and Technology.
Gently encourages young learners to ask questions and form their own ideas.
Lunch with Mo Willems
Mo invites you into his studio every weekday to doodle during lunch to encourage creativity and learning.
Newsela provides educational content that comes from the real world, about people and topics students relate to. Free access to all products during COVID-19.
Giant library of high quality audiobooks, free trial available with Prime account
An online teaching program that aims to distill down to the needs of the individual student instead of painting broad strokes for many.
8000+ video chat classes for K-12 science, art, mindfulness, english, social studies, life skills, and more.
Expert-created content and resources for every course and level. Always free.
Little Bins for Little Hands
Tutorials and tips for making sensory bins to promote emotional and social communication.
What Do We Do All Day
Gives ideas for daily unplugged learning activities.
Growing Book by Book
Tips and ideas to help turn your toddlers into readers.
Teach Beside Me
Tips and activities from a former teacher turned homeschool mom of four.
Inner Compass Coaching
Distance learning tips and resources from a six year homeschooling veteran.
SF Bay Area Homeschooling Resources
IEM Ocean Grove Charter School
We belong to a charter school. This is an excellent way to venture into homeschooling if you’re uncertain about it. Every month, we have a check-in with our Education Specialist who reviews what the kids are learning. They take state standardized tests and if I am having trouble with curriculum, they offer resources and advice. They have a long list of vendors with whom they work so state funds that we receive can be spent on these classes or materials.
A Yahoo Groups page for SF Homeschoolers
This is a specific page for San Francisco Homeschoolers. I am not part of this group but have been asked by friends in SF for resources so am putting this here.
San Francisco Bay Area Gifted Homeschoolers
This group was co-formed by a friend of ours who first got us interested in homeschooling. This group provides support, resources, ideas to each other and also hosts park days, outings, classes, and other things.
California Field Trips with Kids
This list has trips and outings to do with kids. There is a separate list-serve for each region also for these types of activities.
Riekes Nature Center
This is the outdoor nature program that my children love. There are others out there, but this one is specific to the SF Bay Area.
This is an example of a microschool. Some people opt to go this route since it gives them peace-of-mind that their child is hitting all the major subject areas.
This is the group that we use for science and math classes. It is class-based.
Make sense of timely topics and find general science support for your virtual classroom or learning together at home.
California State Parks PORTS
Students learning from home will be able to access precious natural resources and cultural heritage from the comfort of their own home.
CuriOdyssey Homeschooling Program
Educators collaborating with students, providing content expertise, teaching how to use scientific materials, and creating a safe place for students to follow their own interests to do amazing things.
Virtual naturalist mentoring program.
Marine Science Institute Homeschooling Camp
An afterschool educational program designed to foster the natural curiosity of young minds. Students learn about local habitats around the San Francisco Bay, currently virtual.
Now offering virtual classes and a “flipped” classrooms style to help encourage discussion and problem solving.
Wild Child Freeschool
All-outdoor nature program for homeschool kids ages 5-17.