I know the decision of returning to school/daycare or not in the fall is a difficult one. For some families, there isn’t even a choice. For other families, this decision seems like a lose-lose scenario. You’re concerned about your work productivity. You’re concerned your kids might even fall behind academically. You’re concerned your kids will miss out on social development. Speaking from my own experience, my focus for this fall is to keep my boys safe and nurtured. I am fortunate that they get social interactions with each other and with our neighborhood friends. I am less concerned about having a strict preschool curriculum. While it’s true I aim to teach Khai to read this year, I am not going to stress myself out if we can’t work on that goal everyday.
It’s funny how I used to dread it when my husband has the weekend shift. That meant I would solo parent the whole weekend, and it always felt so draining. Now, I’m solo parenting 40+ hours a week while trying to fit in a full-time job. Yet somehow, we make do. Don’t mothers always do? So if you decide to homeschool your kids, know that it’ll be a learning curve, know that it’ll be exhausting, but also know that you can do it. 🙂
I have been home with Khai (4 years-old) and Khang (1 year-old) since our Spring Break in March. Below are some of our favorite activities during this quarantine period that I know will be key to our homeschooling during the fall semester. I hope they are helpful to you should you have the opportunity to homeshcool your little ones as well.
Audiobooks + Podcasts for Kids
Books are huge in our home. In fact, when I asked Khai how does he know that I love him. He responded, “Because you read to me everyday.” Reading is our love language. ? Khai would literally have me read to him for hours if I let him. Fortunately, we soon found that audiobooks are just as good. 🙂 In fact, between audiobooks and Legos, Khai can keep himself entertained for the whole day. (When baby Khang naps, I sit Khai down to an audiobook and set of Legos. And voila, I get two hours of work done.) Below are some of our favorite audiobooks and podcasts – all of which can be found on Spotify.
Earth Rangers – This podcast from Canada is hosted by a real-life wildlife biologist known as Earth Ranger Emma. I’m a huge fan. I always learn new animal facts along with Khai. Khai has also picked up a lot of witty animal jokes.
The Magic School Bus – Oh, the adventures! It is from these audiobooks that Khai learned our body makes white blood cells to fight off germs. I love that there is a wide range of topics, all serious, but with kid-appropriate humor.
Story Nory – There are a lot of classics and fairytales. This was the first audio stories we found and Khai soon developed the habit of listening to stories with every meal.
By Kids For Kids – We love that every story is performed by kids. Their latest grand production is The Wizard of Oz, which took months to complete. It was fun and exciting for Khai to anticipate each new episode release.
We are so blessed to have such an excellent local library. Schlow has made every effort to have a strong online presence. Khai loves his weekly storytime, especially when Miss Paula is hosting. Beyond storytime, Schlow also presents puppet shows, animal shows, and many others. You can check out their upcoming events here.
I try to carve out two blocks during the day when we have a more structured approach to our play. Once in the morning where we work through our Kindergarten workbook (this version here). And once in the afternoon where we work on reading and a STEM activity. For ideas, you can see WPSU’s list of daily learning activities. I am also very excited to start our Kiwi Co subscription this fall. I’ve been waiting for years! I have also put together 8 themed Scavenger Hunts that cover science, math, nature, indoor, the five senses, colors, etc. You can download the Scavenger Hunts here. Lastly, I’ve put together my recommendations for STEM toys that you can purchase on Amazon. See the list of toys here.
Pro Tip #1: I always limit and rotate toys. When Khai sees an old toy after months of absence, he gets really excited and treats it like a brand new toy. It’s a great way to keep kids entertained while being economical. 🙂
Pro Tip #2: We often find many great toy options in the clearance aisle (looking at you, Target). We’d purchase these and hide them until a special occasion warrants gifts. This saves us so much money in the toys department.
Pro Tip #3: For the workbook pages, I separate them into individual pages and insert them into dry erase pockets. That way, Khai can re-do a workbook page as many times as needed. This method also allows us to save the workbook for Khang when he’s of age. 🙂
Enjoy the Outdoors!
It goes without saying – nature is good for everyone! We go on walks as often as we can. When it’s hot out, we cool off in the kiddie pool (I recommend this one from Intex – wait for it to go on sale for $40) or play with the sand table in the shade. Khai also loves helping Daddy with gardening, watering the flowers, and mowing the grass. With colder weather on the horizon, we won’t be able to partake in these activities for much longer. Our solution? We bought a trampoline. Now, now, I understand the opposition. I know trampoline is one of the leading causes for emergency visits. However, my sister swears by Springfree Trampoline. She owns one for 13 years now and her kids (now teens) are still using their trampoline. Zero accident. They use it year-round because the trampoline is weather-proof. It is a big investment, but if I can get more than a decade use out of it, it feels very worth it. I am glad we’ll have an option to get out our energy and exercise during the colder months.
When Screen is Allowed
I prohibit screen time unless it’s the weekend. When screen time is allowed, our favorites include:
Wild Kratts (and PBS shows in general, but Khai really only watches Wild Kratts)
You can also find many great kid-friendly original shows on Amazon Prime
You Can Do It!
I hope this post is helpful to you. Let me know what you’re trying and what you/your kids enjoy. I’d love to hear any tips you have!