Sometime ago I read an article about Afterschooling. The article was written by a mom-teacher and was basically for parents whose children were in the public school system. The premise was that if your school district was high performing then you could Afterschool in the summer to keep kids sharp. If your school district was poorly performing then you would use it to make sure your children were getting an education and maintaining grade level standards. If your child was gifted then Afterschooling would be helpful because their needs would be met which often doesn’t happen in the regular classroom.
What interested me was what constituted Afterschooling and I think it has great application for home schooling parents. This teacher-mom had some great ideas for extending learning all through the day.
Lets face it, many of you worry about your efforts and just want to feel confident that you are doing a good job but aren’t sure what to do when you aren’t having formal “school time”. Seasoned home schoolers know that just living life as a family every day is the curriculum but for those who are newer and still trying to sort it out here are some ideas to get you going. These wonderful ideas are from the article that I read. I think you’ll find them helpful.
Afterschooling Activities Ideas for Homeschoolers
Carschooling Ideas– Listen to books on tape in the car as you run errands or take trips. You will be amazed at how many books you can “read” in a year by taking advantage of car time. Don’t worry too much about “age appropriate” if you have multiple ages. Three year olds like listening to Ramona the Brave as well as eight year olds and twelve year olds don’t really mind listening to The Indian in the Cupboard. You will also find that your whole family will listen to classics t hat are above “grade level” whether they understand or not. It just becomes a “way of being” for your family and you will be amazed at what younger children will pick up from books their older siblings are listening to and what all your children will pick up from books you are listening to.
Don’t just stick with fiction. Try some history, math, spelling, music and so forth.
There are so many options available at your public library.
Carschooling CD Suggestions -
• The Story of the World Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer – There are some critics of this series but if listened to as a work of historical fiction it works well.
• The Story of the World volume 2 by Susan Wise Bauer
• The Story of the World Volume 3 by Susan Wise Bauer
• Beethoven Lives Upstairs by Barbara Nichol – The CD features many of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most popular compositions interspersed with the fictional story of a little boy who lives downstairs from the composer.
• Mr. Bach Comes to Call by Martin Lavut Karen/Lavut – This CD expresses very clearly the image of Johann Sebastian Bach coming from a large musical family, being a hard worker and a prolific composer. It also highlights how so many things were different in the olden days; clothing, parenting, women’s rights, large families etc. Did you know that Bach had twenty children, but only ten lived?
• Greek Myths as Told by Jim Weiss – It tells about some of the labors of Hercules but in a kid friendly way. Instead of Hercules doing penance for killing his six sons, he “did something bad to another man”.
• Sherlock Holmes for Children as told by Jim Weiss – Greathall Productions Nothing is too scary, too long, or inappropriate for children.
• Abraham Lincoln and the Heart of America by Jim Weiss
• Speak Spanish with Dora & Diego! Vamanos! Let’s Go! by Pimsleur
• You can also find cds on math, history, grammar, etc. Lots of great stuff out there.
Read Alouds – Imagine that! You have all heard this many times. Read as a family. Some families read for 30 minutes after dinner, while still sitting at the table. Then they all do the dishes. Other families read for 30 minutes or more first thing in the morning and others read at bedtime. They read scriptures and classics. It doesn’t matter when you read just pick a time and then be consistent! Use classics and read as a family. Make it a tradition and not a haphazard occurrence.
The Closet – Many families use the Closet as part of their Family Learning Time (school). However, this is an amazing tool that can be used on its own, later in the day. (But not for both!) You could use it as a family learning/gathering tool in the evening. Imagine doing science, history or math, art, genealogy as a family for fun in the evening!!
Morning Message – Write a daily Morning Message on a little white board while your kids eat breakfast. It is a great way to teach phonics, reading, writing and punctuation.
Homemade books– This can be a Closet activity or not. You can use it once or twice a week at a non
school time just for the fun of it. Go to the store and buy a whole bunch of paper and special art supplies. Put them in a big box or bag, or your Closet. Staple together a whole bunch of homemade blank books. Let your kids know they can now make their own books!!
Give your child all the help they need. The child is the author and illustrator, but you are the secretary.
Help them construct sentences that they will be able to read 95% themselves. Keep these special books in a special place to be read to grandparents, younger siblings, and at any quiet time.
Computer Time – Some parents root for the computer and other don’t want their kids anywhere near it. You decide what works for you but there are many programs FREE on the internet that just plain make learning FUN!! You can buy tons of other software programs that kids like. Look for quality, where the child does the learning and the computer designer isn’t having all the fun. Set strict parameters that you are comfortable with and then be consistent.
Two Learning Options on the Internet to get you started:
• Reader Rabbit Software Series
• There’s also Houghton Mifflin’s free online Eduplace math games. http://www.eduplace.com/
TV Time – When used wisely the TV can be a great educational tool. Just like the computer you decide what is right for your family and you set the parameters and then be consistent. You can purchase DVD’s or find free content in your TV listing. When used sparingly and well this can be a good friend. Here is one suggestion to start with:
“Leap Frog Talking Words Factory #2″
DEAR Time (Drop Everything And Read)
I loved this idea I found on a mom-teacher blog.
Studies have shown that the more words on a page your child is exposed to and tries to read himself, the better his reading level abilities will be. So give your children an opportunity to look at books and read what they can themselves. If your home gets out of sorts, if someone is bored or can’t figure out what to do send them to DEAR Time.
Set up a cozy reading corner somewhere in your house, and stock it with a box or basket of books you know are at an easy reading level for your child. You could even let your child munch on crackers or other snacks, while they read. Set the timer at 10 minutes and slowly build up to 30 minutes.
There are many ways to help your children use time wisely and still be kids, without nagging or cajoling. Be creative in your Afterschooling efforts.
What are some fun and simple things that you do in your home to help your kids learn all day long, even when they are not in a structured school setting or having structured family learning time?
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