Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Best Homeschooling Materials for Preschool and Elementary Kids for Summer Learning

I'm not new to homeschooling, but sheesh, distance learning (crisis learning, e-schooling) was HARD. I'm glad school is out for the summer, and I'm back in charge of my kiddos' educations.

Over the years, we've tried many different workbooks, flashcards, apps, games, and activities to help educate our kids. We have dedicated an entire room in our house (supposed to be a dining room) for art, books, games, and learning. Now that summer is in session, we're back at it, using resources we love to help our kids keep up on their skills over the summer.

Though I am a fan of the dollar store for some things, they don't have the games and workbooks that have appealed to my kids or have held up. With four children, I want QUALITY materials that withstand the test of time and use.

Here are a few things that help make home-learning in summer possible:

1: We only work about an hour a day, plus have a thirty minute quiet reading time. We don't commit hours upon hours to formal learning. Nope! I believe that free play is learning.

2: We consistently learn, Monday to Friday. Consistency is so important for kids. They know what to expect. We know what to expect.

3: We utilize a mix of apps and physical resources. Because I have four kids, I can't be working with each kid on their level at the same time. Using both electronic and paper resources is helpful. I can have two kids using apps while I work with the other two, then we switch.

4: We take breaks. Our days are mostly physical activity, free play, plus chores and snack/meal times. The formal learning part is spread between two sessions (one morning, one afternoon) and is always after some serious exercise. 

5: We use learning resources that work. These companies and products are tried-and-true for our family. We're organized and we know that our educational materials are quality.

Everyone is talking about #distancelearning — how it works, tips and tricks, frustrations. ✏️ We are in the thick of it. It’s HARD. We give up. We start over. We flow. We fight. It’s constant. ✏️ However, I know a few things to be true. Our teachers and therapists and principals are working hard for our kids. It’s so clearly evident and beautiful. I also know that my kids need some structure and expectations — and #elearning gives us that. Otherwise, I truly think all hell would break loose. ✏️ When the kids are learning, they spread out. Less distractions = better. ✏️ As their mom, I’m now also their teacher, therapist, principal, and psychologist, cheerleader, coach, nurse, and everything else. Plus work, manage my home, and practice some #selfcare to keep my #type1diabetes and #anxiety in check. Whew! ✏️ Talk to me about e-school in your #quarantinelife ! What are your kids’ ages and grades? How much work do they have? How’s it going? πŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΏπŸ‘‡πŸΎπŸ‘‡πŸ½ . #quarantine #school #schoolsout #melaninpoppin #multiracialfamily #bigfamilylife #bigfamily #teacher #specialneedsmom #whitesugarbrownsugar #classroom #tuesdaymotivation #tuesdayvibes #tuesdaythoughts
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Here's some of the companies and products we swear by for home learning:

1: Handwriting Without Tears

These workbooks are the best of the best. Racially diverse illustrations, simple (simple simple), and developed by an occupational therapist. There's books for preschoolers all the way up to kids learning to write in cursive and practice. 

2: eeBoo

Quality, creative products that help kids learn is what eeBoo is all about! They offer so many different products including games, literacy cards, and art supplies. If you can make your kids' learning fun, why wouldn't you?

3: Explode the Code

We've used their phonics workbooks for several years, and I love how they are leveled. When your child finishes one, just move to the next. These books focus on vocabulary and grammar. Like the Handwriting Without Tears books, they are simple. No distracting clip art or hard-to-read fonts. You can purchase each book separately, or there's the option to purchase leveled sets. If you're teaching your child to read, grab the book homeschoolers swear by: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. (Psst: I had each kid reading by lesson #25 or so!) Again, the book is super simple--black and white. No apps, special leveled reader books, etc. needed!

4: Peaceable Kingdom

I absolutely love all of their products--but the cooperative games are our fave. Many are top-rated, colorful, and racially diverse. Most of their products focus on social and emotional development, including empathy--yes, this is important for learning, too!

5: Learning Resources

Learning Resources offers a variety of products that make kids want to learn and keep learning. We own many of their products, including some I'll suggest to you here. I love that they're colorful (visually appealing to our kids) and hands-on.

We have two rolling carts that help us keep our kids' workbooks, flashcards, etc. organized. Each child has their own shelf on the cart.

We also make sure we have plenty of art supplies on hand, including skin-tone art supplies:

Happy summer, and happy learning to you and your family! 

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