8 Homeschooling Ideas
Whether you are a seasoned homeschooler or this is your first and very forced entry into that world, if you’re a parent, you’re homeschooling.
By the way, my wife and I homeschooled all four of our children and it was one of the richest and most rewarding experiences we had as parents. We would do it again and so would our kids (I can say that because all four are now homeschooling their children.).
But whether you’re new to this, every homeschool parent looks for homeschooling ideas. Here are eight to think about during our nationally shared homeschooling adventure:
1. Invest in your Sponsor a Child
Many of you sponsor a child through Compassion International, World Vision or some other organization. Consider having your children research the country where your sponsored child lives. They could look at things like that country’s economy, weather, government and more. Take time to have a family prayer for your sponsored child, and then have your children write an encouraging note to send their way.
2. Go on a Real Bear Hunt
Right now, hunting bears are all the rage. In cities across America, people are hanging up stuffed bears in windows, on mailboxes, in trees so that children can get in the car with Mom and/or Dad and go on a bear hunt and see how many bears they can find. Definitely teach them the “Going on a Bear Hunt” song and sing it, with all of its hand motions and sounds. And go on a neighborhood hunt in your car. But why not throw in a study of bears? They are coming out of hibernation now, so ask your kids: What is hibernation? Do we have any real bears where we live? What kinds of bears are there? On and on it goes.
3. Talk about the Elephant in the Room
If you have older children, what a wonderful time to educate them about exactly what a virus is. Help them learn about COVID-19, how it is different than something like the flu, whether it is truly a new virus, why social distancing matters with viruses, the role of face masks and more.
4. Introduce Them to Reading as Pleasure
Give them at least 30 minutes per day to read nothing but books that are fun (don’t worry about whether they’re educational). You pick the books – ideally several – and then they get to pick from that stack. Think authors like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, E.B. White, J.K. Rowling and Dr. Seuss. But the key is that they read for pleasure which, if they learn to do this, is one of the great gifts you can give to a child.
5. Teach Them to Cook
Kids love hands-on learning, so teach them how to cook! Teach them what a recipe is and the meaning of measurements like a tablespoon or an ounce. You can even throw in why something like heat in an oven bakes things. An entire day can be spent leading up to the preparation of the family dinner.
6. Plant a Small Garden
Spring is the perfect time to plant a garden. Don’t miss this window of opportunity! It doesn’t have to be a large garden—it can even be little more than a plant or two. But think about all you can learn together: what makes things grow, the importance of water and sunlight, why soil matters, the difference between a vegetable and a fruit (and teaching them how some things they thought were vegetables are actually fruits and vice versa), the role bugs and moles play (good and bad). They also learn the discipline and responsibility of caring for their garden and the later joy of harvesting.
7. Learn About Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is scarce. One of the reasons is how it is made from ingredients that come from other countries that have also been hit by the coronavirus. So learn how toilet paper is made, when it began to be used by people, what they did before they had toilet paper, etc. This is the kind of thing (between giggles that they’re even talking about it) kids love to explore.
8. Teach Them the Theology of the Church
Don’t forget to throw in some good theology lessons during this time. You are probably experiencing church online, so talk about that: What is the church? What does it mean to be a community of faith? Why will it be important, once this is over, to once again join together? How can you pray for your church, its leaders and those experiencing pain and hardship?
All to say, this is a time full of homeschooling opportunities.
And right now,
… we’re all homeschoolers.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.