Today parents all over the world find themselves crisis schooling their children- This is much different than homeschooling. Even homeschooling families that always homeschooled are crisis schooling, because homeschooling like normal has been brought to a halt. There are no field trips, group hikes, zoo trips, play dates, nature walks with friends, or in person homeschool co-op classes happening.
Most of the schooling new families find themselves doing is indoors, or on the back porch, with cramped spaces, with what they perceive as not enough supplies. But I promise, you can do it, and with limited resources.
Attempting to educate multiple kids at once isn’t always easy. It’s hard to maintain one child’s focus, let alone several who aren’t used to being taught at home by their parents, or virtually by teachers.
Here are five useful hacks that will take your homeschool to the next level:
Turn The Garage Into An Open-Air Classroom
Even as a homeschool family that homesteads and spends a lot of hours at home, we all get stir crazy if we are stuck inside. Thankfully, a homeschool classroom is flexible because it doesn’t need to be in a specified place. As you know, the kitchen or living room are fantastic alternatives. We do our “table work” at the kitchen table because it tends to be windy in Kansas for outside paper work, but we do a LOT of other learning out of doors- nature study, reading aloud, reading independently, playing, and just moving our bodies are all done outside.
Even better, you can add a summery element by turning the garage into an open-air classroom. All you have to do is set up the lessons as usual and open the garage door. With the sunshine and cool breeze flowing through, you’ll find that the kids are far more responsive. Homeschooling homeowners love this idea so much that lots of them invest in barndominiums and make the switch permanent.
We have a friend that has an entire separate “rec” building on their property that is a pole barn style. The open space, full kitchen, and lovely porch make for the perfect school house. I would *love* to do this one day! Making a school shack out of the shed, building a new small multi-purpose building, or just schooling on the garage floor all make for great switch-ups.
Anybody who doesn’t have a garage can use the backyard, trampoline, or play house out back. Laying a rug or quilt on the floor adds an extra element to the learning environment. Rather than centering the lessons around the dinner table, you can sit on the floor and mix up the activities. Get creative!
Make Individual Schedules
Each of my school aged children have a weekly schedule hanging on the school cabinet- this has a list of daily work, plus work to be done independently (or with me) on certain days. It keeps us on task, helps us clearly see what needs to be done, and simplifies life for everyone!
Use a simple piece of lined paper to make out the daily work list and hang where ever your family does the most learning.
Utilize Wall Space
Lots of studies show that many young children are visual and tactile learners. Of course, most of us don’t have an electronic whiteboard or smart board, so it’s not as if we can create PowerPoints to teach from (not to mention, this is NOT necessary for learning). More to the point, a boost in screen time isn’t healthy.
So, what’s the alternative? Well, there’s always wall space! Throwing paint on the walls isn’t always ideal, but using chalkboard paint isn’t a bad idea. We have a small chalk board wall in the kitchen.
However, there is a way to let them learn visually without changing the walls- create a writing wall. A sheet of MDF wood works perfectly, and it’s thin enough to hide behind a cabinet. Another option is to use IdealPaint and Krylon products for dry erase surfaces- you can easily paint a sheet of wood from a hardware store. Again, this sheet can be used and then slid behind a cabinet or couch against the wall, when not in use.
I enjoy using a dry erase board for writing out Bible verses we are memorizing, spelling rules we are learning, and other things we need handy and in our face (vocabulary words, phonics rules, and grammar rules are some other ideas).
Spruce It Up
I *love* decorating my house, organizing, and making small changes. Simply adding an art piece (think an original from Etsy), a family photo collage, or new curtains always make me feel fresh and renewed in my home.
When it comes to home or crisis schooling, organizing and creating an inviting space is important. The easier it is to do the work, and the more inviting it is, the more likely we are to stick with it. Adding old maps, wooden frames, or vintage light switch plates to a space can make it fun and enchanting.Check out Etsy for inspiration!
Making homeschooling less complicated for everybody shouldn’t be a grind. Hopefully, these tips will make the process a lot smoother!