Having successfully homeschooled my two kids from kindergarten through high school, I humbly offer some guidance. COVID-19 has created a situation with which no one is comfortable. My kids would have been going crazy right now, just like yours! We would have been missing everything else we had going on: dance, scouts, soccer, fencing, play-dates, church youth groups, etc. We would have continued our homeschooling, but life would have been different for us as well. So, here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the material the schools send to your children and all that free time your kids have on their hands.
- Easier said than done, but I encourage you to relax. You might be worried that your children will fall behind, but in the grand scheme of things, this quarantine is an annoying blip. There is plenty of time for kids to learn what they need to learn. Life is not a race. The best news is: all the kids are in the same situation!
- You don’t have to know everything to work with your kids. I didn’t teach my kids…I learned (or actually, relearned) alongside them. Changing your approach from teacher to co-worker will make both you and your child feel happier and more willing to participate. Granted, you’ll learn faster than they will, but you’ll be doing it together. Hopefully, a power struggle is transformed into a pleasing joint experience.
- The best thing you can help them learn is how to follow their own curiosities, to learn things on their own in their own way, and to explore the world, even if remotely. Encourage them to ask questions and learn to find the answers.
- Routines are important to all people. Empower your children to choose a regular time for “school” hours to get the work done that the school sends to them. Different people work best at different times of day. Honor that if possible. But keep the duration short: 1-4 hours, depending on the child’s age and always allow breaks. Your child will be able to do the school work in far less time than it took in a full classroom. Ever tried to herd cats? Your teachers do that every day…somehow! In our house, anything that resembled “school” work had to be done before play time, but you do you!
- When the school’s work is done, it’s time to have fun! They won’t even know they’re learning! We hope to provide you with ideas to help you and your child explore, have fun, and learn in the process.
Years from now, your children might look back on this time and remember all the fun they had with you. Let’s hope.
Look for more info coming soon to this page. We’ll try to help you in any way we can. While I’m not available for tutoring or finding exactly what resources you should use, I’m certainly available for general questions about homeschooling. Feel free to email me at email@example.com or Kate (who was homeschooled) at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to answer your questions as best we can.
Jacki Dibble, Youth Services, J.V. Fletcher Library
Amazing Educational Resources. A list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings. Constantly updated.
Khan Academy. All school topics from Arithmetic to Science. Free.
Fact Monster. All school topics from Arithmetic to Science. Free.
Math.com. Covers a variety of math topics from Arithmetic to Calculus. Free.
ProdigyMath. Curriculum-aligned math platform. Free.
Supplemental Educational Resources from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Crabtree Ebook database. Free access to the Crabtree complete eLibrary until June 30, 2020. Over 2,000 PreK-9+ curriculum nonfiction and fiction ebooks.
Enrichment Activities from the Westford Schools.
Star Bright Books. Free digital access to 4 picture books (3 English, 1 Spanish) each week. Titles will be rotated on a weekly basis.
Stay Engaged, Have Fun, Relieve Stress. The Massachusetts Library System updates daily with new activities and updates regarding streaming storytimes and other resources.
TedEd. YouTube videos in a multitude of content areas. Free.
WGBH Distance Learning Center. Free, trusted digital resources from PBS LearningMedia and their award-winning educational preschool programming.
Authors Everywhere. Fun YouTube activities such as drawing and writing prompts with authors and illustrators such as Diane Magras and Grace Lin!
Code at Home. Created by Girls Who Code, they will upload an activity — some online, some offline, of varying levels of difficulty — over the course of the next few months.
GoNoodle. Short indoor gym videos for kids, also has meditation and yoga videos.
Harry Potter at Home. Find all the latest magical treats to keep you occupied – including special contributions from Bloomsbury and Scholastic, nifty magical craft videos (teach your friends how to draw a Niffler!), fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more for first-time readers, as well as those already familiar with the wizarding world.
Lunch Doodles With Mo Willems. Join Mo (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) and have some great fun doodling and learning about art!
National Geographic Kids. Games, videos, and readings about geography, biology, zoology, and more.
Reycraft Books. Each day join for author/illustrator read aloud that represent a vast tapestry of cultures, lifestyles, and experiences, and they share their unique voices and visions through their craft.
Virtual Tours. Want to see museums in London, Seoul, Paris or São Paulo from your couch? Look no further!
Kidcasts: Covid-19 Nine Podcasts To help kids & families learn about Covid-19 and the actions we are taking to prevents its spread. Appropriate for ages 5-12.
As always, find further information and ideas for children from birth through 5th grade on our KIDS page and for teens and tweens in 5th through 12th grade on our TEENS page. Also, check out our youth-oriented databases, free with your Westford library card!