Updated: Mar 17
I wonder how many millions of dollars made it into swear jars when the closure of schools was announced? As business owners' we don't get the luxury of a safety net. If we don't work, we don't get paid. So I've put together a list of resources to help you survive the next few weeks and make it easier to work while your children are home with you.
If you are new here, welcome. My name is Tammy Christiansen. Along with my partner Tim Lipani, I run a business that exists to help solve problems for business owners. With our team's help (there is no way we could do this alone!) we provide advice, help execute solutions, and try to empower business owners around their finances and their business systems. Often this involves bookkeeping, payroll, or discussing how to make use of some of the amazing technology that is now available. Sometimes it is helping in other areas too. We are really excited to now be offering training and ongoing support to those who wish to maintain their own books instead of having someone else maintain their books for them.
If you are sitting there wondering how you'll survive this, the key is to have your kids using their imagination. Allowing them to find a project they can really get into and then having what they need available so they can dig into it.
Just in case you need a few places to give you a helping hand when you need to find something quickly to get back to work, here are some of the resources I'll be relying on with the increased time at home:
Off the Computer
Get outside and play
There may be some new fort-building materials added to increase interest on the nicer days. If she promises to wear old clothes while she does it, I might even give her some old latex paint to doll up her playhouse.
Make Stuff Box/Table
This has been a really effective tool when I need a little bit of uninterrupted time. She'll pop down to show me her progress or a finished product when she's really proud of it. She's so wrapped up in whatever she's creating, she doesn't feel ignored when I'm in another room on a conference call. Fill it with empty cereal boxes, old socks, different kinds of tape, markers, string, ribbon, buttons, construction paper, etc. We often raid the recycling bin for materials. For older kids that you trust to manage these things add paint, glue gun, etc.
Lego, Lego, and more Lego
A good audiobook in the background and a bin of Lego and my girl is quite happy for a while.
On the Computer/Tablet (Free Options)
If your parents are retired or home in the next few weeks and able to work with this technology, why don't you get your kids chatting with their grandparents while you are working? My parents are a few provinces away, so this helps my daughter maintain a good relationship with my family. It's a win/win/win.
Breakout EDU https://www.breakoutedu.com/funathome This is a company my Mom, a librarian, uses when planning her escape rooms for her library. They've kindly put together a list of free games and split them by age groups.
Disney Imagineering Program via Khan Academy
Disney worked with the Khan Academy to launch a free course in learning what it takes to be an Imagineer. "Have you ever wondered how theme parks come to life? Disney Imagineers from hundreds of career disciplines around the world share how they use a wide range of skills – from story development and conceptual design, to math, physics and engineering – that all come together to create immersive experiences. Imagineering in a Box allows you to explore different aspects of theme park design, from characters to ride development, as you design a theme park of your very own."
While you are there you might want to check out some other free learning content on the Khan Academy's website.
TVO kids https://www.tvokids.com/
Quality television programming I trust, with a great line up of shows for PreK through grades 4 or so. We love Androids, Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, Science Max, and of course Big Top Academy.
I recommend for younger kids using the YouTube Kids app.
Some of our favourite content creators include: Art for Kids Hub https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtforKidsHub,
How It's Made https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCELt4nocnWDEnYJmov4zqyA
SciShow Kids https://www.youtube.com/user/scishowkids,
Scholastic Learn @ Home https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
Scholastic put this together for teachers to send out, but there is no harm in you using it for your kids! 5 days of project ideas to work on for the following grades: PreK to Kindergarten, grades 1 - 2, grades 3 - 5, grade 6+.
Virtual Museum Tours
We might just play around with different code-breaking spy skills and sending notes to friends virtually that we can't see for a few weeks. What better way to tie history in than a virtual tour of the British Museum in London with the Rosetta Stone.
I'm a big believer that everyone can write, sometimes we just need a nudge to get us started. Julie Bogart is a big deal in the homeschooling world and has offered up some great resources for free to help parents through this difficult time (she also has paid resources). The link above has multiple links to resources that are free until April 30, 2020.
On the Computer/Tablet (Paid)
We love this app for the audiobooks! But they have great eBooks, magazines, and even sheet music too. There is both children's content and content geared for adults. I have a paid subscription to Scribd that we all use in my family since it can be shared on up to 6 devices. The link above gives you a 60-day trial (typically they only give 30 days as a trial). I think if you purchase it directly through the App Store with Apple you will only get 30 days. Use the link above on a computer to purchase directly first, then download the app onto your devices and sign in with your username and password).
A Scribd subscription also comes with a few perks that we haven't tried out yet but you might be interested in:
- FarFaria (unlimited read-to-me children's storybooks for ages 1 - 9)
- CuriosityStream (science, technology, nature, and history documentaries)
- ConTV + Comics (everything for your inner geek from cult classics, anime, b-movies to Transformers, Star Trek comics and graphic novels.)
- MUBI (films from around the world)
- PeakPro (games)
- TuneIn Premium (listen to sports and commercial-free news, featuring the NFL, NBA, MSNBC, CNBC, and more)
Teachers Pay Teachers https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/
A great source of worksheets if you need something more like in-class work completed at school. You can filter by grade. All grades are available. There are free options available sometimes, but most of the content is paid a la carte.
If your child could use some virtual classroom time, Outschool has some cool options available. This is a homeschool resource, so some are longer course engagements, but there are many one class options available. They cover multiple grades and you can filter your search to hone in on something specific. The link above gives you $20USD credit towards your first class.
I hope that your family finds their rhythm quickly, and you are able to accomplish what you need to this week without feeling overwhelmed. If you have resources you think would help other parents out, let me know and I'll try to get them added here to share with everyone else. You'll survive this, I believe in you!
This is not a sponsored post and no company has paid me to have their resources listed.
However, in the spirit of disclosure...in a few of the registration links, in order to give you a discount, I get a reciprocal discount back.