One thing I’ve learned about homeschool parents or virtual teachers is that they have the standards they need to follow and they may have lesson plans, but they struggle to find homeschool activities for homeschoolers that meet exactly what they need.
Homeschooling has many great advantages. More control over your schedule, fewer discipline issues, and more opportunities for personalized learning. But other times, you may find that getting the right resources to accompany your lessons, organizing them all, and the process of keeping up with the materials required can prove difficult.
While you may not have to follow along with the learning patterns for your local public school, you’ll still want to ensure you have activities that align with the standards you need to hit but also, keep your little learner engaged when they may have less interaction with others. And of course, you want homeschool activities that make it easier for you to keep track of their progress.
If you’ll be homeschooling or in the process of homeschooling, you should make good use of companion activities that offer specific skill practice, review, and assessment that easily integrate into your plans. Here are five ideas.
Reading Response or Book Question Activities
When you decide to take on homeschooling, one thing you may not realize is the number of books you’ll need. And if you’re like many of us teachers, you may not have a huge budget to keep a large library so you’ll want to stick with the books you already have.
In that case, you may find it difficult to find book response activities that directly correlate with the books you have. Instead, you can use reading response activities that are generic and can be used for any fiction text.
For example, in our Thinking about Reading book questions resource, we include 50 question cards that allow students to connect with the story and showcase their comprehension.
You can use these question cards to observe students’ understanding of character emotions, identifying character traits, asking questions, making predictions, making connections, and much more!
Reading response cards are perfect for those homeschooling teachers or parents who need something to help guide or prompt their students’ understanding after reading.
Bonus: having response cards that are editable and can be adjusted to fit the needs fo your classroom.
(You can learn more about our Thinking About Reading book questions right HERE.)
Reading Activities for Specific Comprehension Skills
Let’s say you have a lesson plan to follow, you know what your student should be learning, but you have no idea what to use to get them there. That’s where a good reading toolkit could come in handy.
I like to use the term “toolkit” because it allows you to pick and choose from a variety of activities based on whatever you need to get the job done. AKA – help your students learn, practice, and review a specific reading skill.
The sign of a good reading toolkit is one that has:
- Engaging comprehension activities for a specific skill
- Activities that vary in style (like print and digital options, plus interactive)
- Anchor charts
- Reading passages
- Drawings and Crafts
- Exit Tickets
Each of these elements serves a different purpose but ensures that you have a well-rounded set of reading activities that can accompany the learning plans you already have.
(You can learn more about our Making Predictions toolkit pictured above and others right HERE.)
Learning math skills requires daily practice. It also requires students to learn how to solve problems in various ways. Using the same worksheets over and over again may get you answers, but it certainly won’t do anything for student morale or engagement.
Uninterested students will not do their best if they aren’t given variety and fun ways to learn. And when it comes to homeschooling, it’s clear that they need even more motivation.
One way we make this happen is through math stations or centers. In this case, students will have different stations to complete various math tasks.
For example, in our winter No Prep Math Stations, students will practice:
- Solving 3-digit addition equations
- Counting money
- Place value
- Solving word problems
At home, these stations can be spread out across the room to get students up and moving as they go through each station. These math stations are the perfect homeschool activities because they are a quick and easy way to give students extra practice with their math concepts while avoiding being repetitive.
You can find many math stations or centers that correlate directly with the needs of your homeschool program.
(Find out more about our No Prep Math Stations right HERE.)
Quick Math Assessments
All that math practice wouldn’t be complete without an assessment to ensure students get it! And since homeschoolers are still required to be assessed, quick assessments prove to be a useful way to observe and record comprehension.
I am a big supporter of not using too many questions to gauge comprehension, instead, I truly believe that you only need a few problems to see what they know. When you’re teaching from home, time can become obscured between home and school. So, having only a small amount of questions can help cut back on time spent in the “classroom”.
To make it easier, you can create a quick assessments binder to hold all of the assessments taken from your student throughout the year. This is something I’ve done in the past with my Math Quick Assessments and Grammar Quick Assessment resources. That way, you’ll have all your records in one place.
(You can learn more about those HERE.)
It can’t be work, work, work all the time. Especially, when you are homeschooling kids. They need more fun! I love to use directed drawings for this purpose.
It gives students a break from the rigor of their other standards-based learning and a chance to be creative.
But directed drawings aren’t all fluff. There are many useful ways to use directed drawings to help drive other comprehension concepts. I have a full blog post with many ideas on how you can incorporate directed drawings into your lesson plans. You can find that HERE.
The best thing you can do is to keep a stash of directed drawings for the year and it’s always a wonderful time to use them when your students are completing writing prompts!
Teaching writing is just plain ol’ hard, I know, so you can use directed drawings as incentive and motivation for students to start drafting their ideas!
(We include all of that and more in our Seasonal Directed Drawing packs. You can find those HERE.)
If you’re homeschooling this year or thinking about it for later, consider the various homeschool activities you’ll need to accompany your plans and standards. You can make things a whole lot easier when you have everything you need at your fingertips to pull out as you go.