Written by Cait Curley of My Little Poppies
When it comes to homeschooling, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
No matter how much time you put into homeschool planning and organization, things will pop up.
- Sick days
- Car trouble
- Leaky ceilings
- Awful weather
- Broken dishwashers
- Orthodontist appointments
- Toddlers underfoot
- Unexpected work deadlines
You get the idea.
I don’t know about you guys, but I always feel better when I have a few go-to resources tucked in my back pocket.
Photo by David Pennington
Today, I am sharing five of my favorite tried-and-true sanity savers. When you are finished reading, I’d love to hear your family’s go-to resources for those harder homeschool seasons.
When I am looking for a back pocket homeschool resource, I consider the following:
- Educational value
- Fun factor
- Ease of use (When you are in a tough season, you want to keep it simple and easy!)
Without further ado, here are my top five go-to homeschool sanity savers…
1. Awesome audiobooks
An amazing audiobook has the power to transport your entire family to another time and place.
Audiobooks can erase cares, distract sick kiddos, assist with bedtime, and make long road trips painless!
This summer, our family devoured The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. The narrator, Katherine Kellgren, is one of the best narrators we have ever heard.
Here are other audiobooks we have enjoyed recently:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (narrated by Scarlett Johansson)
- D’Aulaires‘ Book of Greek Myths
- The Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (narrated by Anne Hathaway)
2. Incredible documentaries
I love a good documentary, you guys!
Documentaries are one of my go-to resources for unit studies, cruddy weather days, sick days, quiet time, and delight-driven learning opportunities.
There are lots of options on the market today, but I am a huge fan of CuriosityStream. Unlike other resources, CuriosityStream only offers documentaries so kids aren’t peeking over your shoulder asking to watch Tinkerbell and the Neverbeast.
(Not that there is anything wrong with a movie night- there isn’t! It’s just that when I am muddling through a difficult homeschool season, I like to increase our educational programming!)
Here are some of our family’s favorite documentary resources:
3. Podcasts for the whole family
Podcasts are a wonderful way to sneak in learning during an otherwise chaotic day. I’ll often pop on a podcast while the kids are eating lunch or while we are driving around crossing off errands.
There are some incredible podcasts for children out there!
Here are a few podcasts we have enjoyed over the years:
- Brains On!
- But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
- Stories Podcast
- Story Pirates
- Tumble Science Podcast
- WOW in the World
4. Virtual field trips
We are so lucky to be homeschooling in the digital age!
Virtual Field Trips are a wonderful way to learn about the world around you without leaving your kitchen. They are great for multi-age families, large families, sick days, lousy weather days, and for those in rural areas.
Several years ago, our family stumbled upon a service called FieldTripZoom (there are other options on the market today, too!).
A FTZ membership offered our family unlimited access to virtual field trips across the country. We have visited the Alaska SeaLife Center, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Art, Country Music Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Aquarium, Holocaust Memorial, The National D-Day Memorial, and many, many others. (At the time we signed up, a family membership cost $49.95, which is less than we’d pay for one field trip in the Boston area!)
Here are some of our family’s favorite virtual field trip resources:
- A virtual field trip to Anne’s Prince Edward Island
- A virtual field trip to London, England
- A Little House virtual field trip
5. Educational games
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the power of an educational game. Whenever we are struggling in our homeschool, I pull out a game. Play has the power to transform the homeschool dynamic, spread smiles, and make memories.
Plus, games offer countless stealth learning opportunities! Gameschooling adds a special spark to the homeschool routine.
If you need help getting started with gameschooling, these articles might help:
- Gameschooling 101: How to Homeschool with Fantastic Games
- Gameschooling: How to add more games to your homeschool routine
You can’t plan for everything, but you can keep something in your back pocket to make those unexpected homeschool situations less stressful!
Tell us in the comments- what is your favorite back-to-homeschool resource?
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