Are you stuck at home with the kids? For most people, the recommendation of social distancing means no school, no extra curricular activities, and possibly working from home.
If your children aren’t use to being at home all day, this is a HUGE adjustment. For those of us who have homeschooled for years, life still seems fairly normal. However if you are used to watching your kids catch the bus every day at 8am and arrive back at 4pm things are about to real.
If you find yourself at home with the kids for the next few weeks, here are my recommendations as a homeschool mama of seven (some of them are grown) on how to stay busy. I can promise you, the more you have planned, the better your days will be. (I talked more about this on my Facebook Live yesterday)
Side note: If you are certified teaching English as a foreign language (or would like to get you certification) there is a desperate need for online teachers. Teach in your own home and make $20 an hour. Click here to find out more.
Guide to Survive Being Stuck at Home with the Kids
First, stay calm. These are your children. You love them. Really you do. Even when they use too much toilet paper and leave cups of milk half drunk on the kitchen counter.
One day they will grow up, move out and you will miss them. I promise.
Alright, now on to the tips!
Create a Chore List for the Kids
With your children home your house will get messy. It will be messy in ways you can’t imagine. One thing I noticed the year all my kids went to school was that my house stayed spotless all day. It was miraculous!
If your children aren’t use to doing daily chores, this may be an adjustment, but attach chores to the amount of screen time your child has and problem solved.
I use the chore list in coordination with a daily checklist. That way I make sure things are cleaned and organized on a regular basis and certain things don’t get forgotten (like ceiling fans).
I use the Home Planner from Passionate Penny Pincher (currently 50% off with the code JOY so under $9!). You could definitely make your own checklist, but who has time when you are trying to get everything else in order!
Check out the home planner here.
Make an I’m Bored Jar
Chances are, your children are going to be bored at some point. Just like summer and Christmas break, there will be times when your children think they have nothing to do.
Years ago I created an “I’m Bored” jar to help keep my kids busy. It’s very simple to create, you don’t need ANY SUPPLIES. All you need is a container and either 3×5 cards or paper.
To help you come up with activities for your kids we have a printable template with 85 ideas to keep your kids busy. We also included blank cards so you can add your own. Remember if you hate play-dough or finger painting you can always remove those cards from the jar.
If the weather is nice, get outside and play in the yard. The kids can draw with sidewalk chalk, build forts with sticks, roller skate in the driveway, and make mud pies. (You know, all the things we did growing up before the internet)
Most importantly don’t forget to get in a little exercise yourself. Click here to find a list of exercises you can do without any equipment.
Reading aloud was one of my favorite parts of homeschooling my kids. I’m not even a great reader! (Meaning I don’t use different voices for the characters, etc)
Over the years I’ve compiled some of our favorite books for kids. Many of them are available on Kindle (if your local library is closed) or you may already have them on your shelf.
Years ago my kids and I went through 31 days of reading aloud. We had a different book each day and had crafts, activities, recipes, or printables for each book. It was so much fun. You can see the entire 31 days by clicking on the link below.
- 31 Days of Read Alouds (this includes activities for every book!)
- Great Books for Girls
- Best Books for Boys
- Favorite Books Series for Kids
- Free Elementary Worksheets (Did you know what have TONS of free educational worksheets available on TheHappyHousewife.com? You can check out everything we have to offer here.)
- Scholastic Learn at Home (Free educational resources for grades K-6th)
- National Geographic Kids (Amazing website with loads of free educational content)
- ABCMouse.com $5 for two months of access to the website. (Online curriculum for 2-8 year olds)
- Kahn Academy (Amazing resource in the math, reading, science & social studies. Your child probably already has an account, since most schools use it)
- Highlights Kids (Jokes, science experiments, recipes and more on this free site.)
- Into the Book (Awesome reading comprehension site for kids. Available in English and in Spanish)
- SwitchZoo (Learn all about animals on this free website)
- Reading Eggs (Phonics program that teaches kids to read. Not free, but does have a free two week trial)
- Hooked on Phonics (First month for only $1)
- Remedia Digital (Great resource for books and worksheets for kids with reading disabilities- get 50% off their entire store with the code 50OFF)
Online Field Trips & Experiences
- Metropolitan Opera offer free streams from live in HD Catalog
- Virtual Tour of 12 Famous Museums
- Free Cooking Lessons for Kids (streaming on FB)
- Free Virtual Writing Camp for Kids
- Free Drawing Lessons for Kids
- Seattle Symphony Streaming Concerts
- Visit National Parks via Google Earth (This is SO COOL!)
Did you know some of your favorite games can be educational. Even if you don’t play an educational game, games are a great way to pass the time, and lessen screen time. Here are some of our favorites.
Scrabble: You probably have a scrabble game sitting in the closet somewhere. This game is great for helping kids learn how to spell! We played this game all the time when my kids where younger.
Another version of Scrabble that’s great for early readers is Upwords. Think of it as Scrabble without limits. You can stack tiles to make words and is great for kids between the ages of 8-10.
Rummikub: One of our favorite family games. Try to match up tiles get rid of all the tiles on your rack. First one to empty their rack wins! This game is easy to play and quick to learn. Great for younger kids to solidify number recognition.
Zingo: This is such a fun game for preschoolers! Players have a bingo style board and have to quickly match the next tile that comes up to a word on their board. Helps with word recognition, reading, and spelling.
I’m not a huge fan of letting my kids sit in front of the television or computer all day. In fact we lived without a television for almost 15 years. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.
I do recommended setting limits on screen time and connecting screen time to chores completed, minutes read, etc.
I realize many of you still have responsibilities to your jobs and Disney+ is a great babysitter. Remember to monitor what the kids are watching and limit news consumption. There are lots of scary news reports out there right now and it’s better if kids hear information from us, in a loving way, instead of on television.
I tried to pick out channels that would encourage learning and let the kids have some fun. This educational youtube channel list contains some of our favorites.