Homeschool Family Quick Guide

Colored pencils in a ring

Homeschool Mom was never going to be on Gianna’s resume.  But that all changed a few years ago.  If you are interested in learning how to Homeschool, she would love to help you out!

The three families that make up the FFTC team have players scattered all over the board. We include homeschoolers, kindergartners, middle schoolers and high schoolers. We are made up of parents who work from home, parents who work full time, parents who educate, and parents who have been able to stay home with the children.

FFTC is a Judgement-Free-Schooling-Is-Your-Choice Zone.

Tips for Homeschool Families

Whether you are already a homeschool family or school at home is a brand new to you, these tips can help make the learning go more smoothly. For those of you inclined to feel overwhelmed, keep in mind that this situation is temporary. We need to stay positive for the sake of our families.

Looking for some Homeschool Help?  Click Here to contact Gianna.

Keep a regular routine

The experts say our kids need a routine. Gianna, our resident homeschool mom, agrees. She points out that some people do well with a rigid schedule to follow, while others perform better more relaxed. You have to pick what works for your family – and that might take some trial and error. At a very basic level, try having the kids stick to the “normal” wake-up, bedtimes and mealtimes. Depending on the ages of your kids and the level of schoolwork expected of them, you can decide where to fit learning time in. Here’s an example of a schedule you could try for younger kids:

Daily Schedules and Activities for The Unexpected Homeschooler

Set expectations

Start by communicating to your little scholars that EVERYONE is learning. During the pandemic’s distance-learning, Anne, our team member whose family attends a classical charter school and is used to lots of structure, began by reminding her kids that this is not a vacation. The amount of daily “screen time” – not counting what will be required for schoolwork, will not change. Lay out your own expectations for your kids no matter the age or grade level so everyone is informed and on the same page. Here’s an example of a simple list we’ve been known to tack on our kids’ bedroom doors on the first day of summer break:

Rules for the The Unexpected Homeschooler

Designate a time and place for academic work

Before you begin homeschooling, decide where and when most of the learning will take place. This may mean setting up a classroom space. It may mean older kids stick to their desks. If possible, try to designate a learning environment away from toys or TV screens to limit distractions. Make sure you are organized and stocked with all materials ahead of time.

And remember to be flexible.  What you set up in September may not be working by the time October is here.  Everything has a learning curve.

Inject some fun

If you’ve got the freedom, take advantage of it! Gianna suggests picking an enrichment activity to learn about together and really go for it.  Are you interested in learning about the War of the Roses in Britain?  Are you curious about global warming?   Make a list of your top 3-5 things and discuss the options with your child. And, she reminds us, give yourself and the kids space and grace. Even a homeschooling mom who has chosen this education path for her children gets hard on herself.

Looking for some Homeschool Help?  Click Here to contact Gianna.

Virtual Events

Virtual Field Trips

12 world-famous museums, including the British Museum in London, offer virtual tours of their amazing galleries.

Fun At Home

Outdoor & Indoor Games

Remember to take frequent breaks from the schoolwork to hang out and enjoy time together. Inevitably, at some point (reality: many points) you’re going to hear the dreaded words, “I’M BORED!” Arm yourself with these lists of family outdoor and indoor games to button up boredom.

Outdoor Games – Kickball, Four Square, hopscotch and jump roping are just the beginning. We have 60 games or activities on this list that will keep them entertained outdoors for hours. Or, ’tis the season for spring yard cleanup and gardening prep!

Try also our list of 45 Fun Physical Activities For All Ages! It’s got tons more ideas on getting the heart pumping and bodies young and old moving.

45 Fun Physical Activities For Kids of All Ages

Indoor Games – Balloon games, tape games, indoor scavenger hunts, charades and dozens more. This massive list of 75 indoor games and activities will keep little scholars busy for hours.

Homeschool Curriculum Resources

Gianna, our homeschooling mom, has collected her top homeschool resources if you’re interested in diving into this method of education. We are also adding other resources as we find them. Whether you have had to take on homeschooling or you just want to supplement your kids education.


Arts & Creativity Resources:

  1. Children’s Theater Company has these Three Indoor Imaginative Activities to try with your kids.
  2. The Jim Henson Foundation has a list of streaming Puppet Events.

Math Resources:

  1. YouCubed Tasks Archive.
  2. Lakeshore Learning Lesson Plans

Science Resources:

  1. Snapology – Homeschool STEM Classes
  2. Lakeshore Learning Lesson Plans
  3. Kitchen Pantry Scientist YouTube— Local Author and Scientist!
  4. Nature Cams Suggested by Carpenter Nature Center:
    1.  MN DNR EagleCam – Minnesota
    2. Mississippi River Flyway Cam – Brice Prairie, Wisconsin
    3. Great Blue Heron Nest – Maryland’s Eastern Shore
    4. Orcalab Base Lookout – Hanson Island, British Columbia, Canada
    5. Cornell Lab Bird Cams – Multiple Locations

Social Studies / History Resources:

  1. Lakeshore Learning Lesson Plans
  2. Saint Paul Port Authority – Grade 3 Curriculum
  3. Doing Good Together has created a Digital Kindness Kit. They are asking $5.95 per family to cover their costs. However, if the cost is a problem, use the coupon code KINDNESS to download it for free.

Writing Resources:

  1. Lakeshore Learning Lesson Plans

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Reading and Literature Resources:

  1. I’ve been wondering for the last year whether the dust-gathering Magic Tree House collection still deserved shelf space. It’s getting used now.  Print out these activities to go with the books.
  2. All of our local libraries offer a variety of online resources for all ages (all the time). Or visit your own library’s website for a full list of what they offer.
  3. One of our favorite nearly-local authors, Miranda Paul has shared educational resources (which we share here) to go with her books. Many of these could call under science or social studies resources as well as literature.

Looking for some Homeschool Help?  Click Here to contact Gianna.


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