Home Education is back!
Home education has been making a comeback since the 70s in the U.S., at which point it was almost extinct. Today it has grown to over 2 million students being homeschooled.
eacWith the present global pandemic, most parents are now quarantined with their kids and even after the quarantine, it is common for children to become “idle” during summer, spring breaks, etc… This is not an alien concept for me since I homeschool and am with three little ones every day. This is why I have prepared this post with LOTS of fun and nurturing activities for you and your kids at home:
Suggestion 1: Mindfulness
The first suggestion for making the most of your time with kids at home is mindfulness. I believe mindfulness is needed at schools, at houses, at prisons, etc. It is an important aid in building our resilience to others and to other situations, living in the present moment, etc. For this topic we use a book by the Goldie Hawn Foundation called MindUP. Alternatively, you can also check out the Big Life Journal that has a very extensive curriculum going from free to paid.
If you’ve been following me you know that I’m a sucker for meditation. And NOW is the perfect time because you probably don’t need to be anywhere and can therefore live in the present moment for a few mins a day. The payoff is exponential in my opinion. Doing it alone is so powerful, but doing it with kids is going to be even better. One thing we used when we started is Tingsha Bells. They are very inexpensive and are great because they have a long ringing steady sound. What we do is focus on the sound of the bell and pay attention for as long as we can. Once we can no longer hear it we take deep breaths while focusing on the breaths. We do this a couple of times and this was the girls’ introduction to meditation. You can use any sound you’d like but some sounds are longer and more steady so look for those among your instruments or simply find one from the internet.
We also have a device called the emwave2 by the HeartMath Institute. The HeartMath Institute has been at the forefront of researching the true power of the heart. Their devices are very expensive so I would only consider purchasing them if I was already meditating myself and looking to “upgrade” the experience. The girls use that device which provides them with a visual and music background on the computer. This is one of the first things they do every morning so it was totally worth it for me. We call it the “breathing game”.
We also play a game called the “spaghetti game”. Not sure where I got it from but you basically pretend that you’re a raw spaghetti so you’re not cooked and thus have “hard” parts on your body. You then, lying down breathe deeply in while focusing on a part of the body, you then tense and as you breathe out you relax that part of the body, which is clearly now “cooked”. You simply go through all parts of the body so your whole body is now relaxed or “cooked”
Another thing that we do that is related to mindfulness is affirmations. We each have our affirmation book but you can get creative and figure out a way to include positive affirmations in your every day.
I believe these are all things that adults should do and now that you have time in your hands it makes sense to try them. I’m sure you’ll love the powerful experience.
Suggestion 2: Sleep Routine
Kids love knowing the day is coming to an end tend to have better outcomes altogether. We use many books on different subjects, but lately we’ve liked the Buddha Before Bedtime and Mindfulness Stories. But you should look for ones that work for you! Any topic that interests you will do.
A very powerful and quick way to end your day can be with a gratitude. Each one expresses why they are grateful for the day. Simple things to be grateful are just as good as big ones :).
Suggestion 3: Finances
I like trying to help my girls understand about the world of finance. Most commonly used is monopoly. We don’t do monopoly as much, but the concepts of real estate, wealth building, etc. are written all over the game. We like to bring out Robert Kiyosaki’s game “Cash Flow”. The reason I like it is because it exposes the children to concepts like income, expenses, passive income, stocks, real estate, self employment, etc. You can also create your own money game. We play our own games. For example if we play restaurant, we play with giving change with our pretend money, we take turns and we always try to make it customizable to each age.
Suggestion 4: Home Economics
I’d like my girls to have knowledge when it comes to budgets and living within their means without owing anything to the bank. We use Rachael Cruze’s (Dave Ramsey’s daughter) method. First off, I actually make them work to earn money. I don’t remember the last time I cleaned my studio, for example, because they do it on their own and get paid for it. The money gets put into 3 folders: spend, save and give. Spend is for any immediate thing they want to spend it on, save is for a bigger project, experience or toy. Give is a money that is not theirs. They are simply being good stewards of it and one day they’ll donate it to a cause of their choice. Of course you never want to pay children for tasks they should already be doing, like cleaning their own rooms, washing dishes, etc.
Suggestion 5: Help Around The House
Each one has responsibilities around the house from picking up dishes, doing laundry, etc. I never actually learned any of these. Coming from Mexico, there was always help from a maid around the house and it took me a while and is still taking me a while to learn all this tasks, so I decided to teach these skills early on to children.
Suggestion 6: Cooking
I used to really suck at cooking, but I’ve gotten better and better at it. Even though I don’t like to cook, it is a fun and educational activity. You can learn a bit about math and fractions, ingredients, how to classify foods, etc. Cooking at home is not only healthier than eating outside, but also helps you bond in different ways with your loved ones.
Now, at this point I now you’re probably wondering, what about the “real” subjects? This has always been funny being a musician. Of course that implies music is not a “real” subject to most people. Well here it goes:
Suggestion 7: Science!
Science is usually fun for everyone. We went by a book called Earth Science, but more recently we transitioned into a Science curriculum that incorporates a little bit of history combined with science. It’s by Jay Wile.
Suggestion 8: Computer Resources
Even at present and with the global pandemic going on, we are blessed, as we have access to computers! But instead of spending mindless hours on social media or some war game, you can look for educational activities like typing, abcmouse, education.com, freereadingprogram.com, rosetta stone, etc…
Are My Kids Missing Out? The Reality of Homeschooling
The short answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Like Sir Ken Robinson says, there’s a lot of teaching going on at schools but not a lot of learning. This is one of the main reasons why more parents than ever are choosing home schooling over traditional schools.
Home education makes a lot of sense financially as the average home schooled student spends about $600 per year in the U.S. Compare that to the average $11,000 per student at public schools, plus capital expenditure and research.
Here’s a revealing statistic, 78% of 45 peer-reviewed studies found that homeschooled students or graduates performed significantly better than their conventional or institutional peers in terms of academic achievement, social and emotional development, and success in adulthood (including college).
Homeschoolers also do just as good or even better in terms of:
– self concept / self esteem
– family cohesion
– actual observed behaviors with other children
– activities with others and outside of home
– activities that predict leadership
Soooooo, those are some statistics for you and I hope that these activities will help you on your journey having kids at home. I would love to know which one are you thinking about implementing for you and your kids, or if you have any other activities you do with them that would contribute to the discussion please share them!
May you have the best funday ever!!
Join the community:
Big Life Journal
Emwave2 by HeartMath Institute
Books for bedtime
Rachel Cruze’s Smart Money Smart Kids
Jay Wile’s Science