This was a question I received in an email recently. Don't worry. If you are new to homeschooling or even if you've been doing it a while, the journey can feel overwhelming at times. I get it. It has been for me in the past too. When I first started, I spent hours trying to find lined paper that I could print out that was spaced wide enough apart so my kiddo wouldn't get overwhelmed by little lines to write on. I created printables that helped my kids and that I help might help yours too.
Keep on reading if:
* you are homeschooling or are interested in homeschooling (but can't work out HOW IN THE ACTUAL HECK it could work ;) )
* you have decided that distance education isn't for you so you are going to have a crack at getting together your own resources
* you like the idea of having some prompts to give you inspiration
Ok, here we go!
If you are discovering (like I did) that most of my kiddos learning becomes easier when they are interested in the stuff they are learning, then you might begin with something they are passionate about. Let's take a couple of examples of interests and then see how the templates could work for you (keeping in mind that in our Resource Library there are almost 600 pages to print out and so I'm just going to use examples here). We'll take a look at a day's worth of activities using the printables if you are centering learning around your child's interests. I'll also show you (in another post) how I sometimes using the printables on a day when I want us to hit a few learning goals too.
INTEREST LED LEARNING & USING PRINTABLES
Say your child's interest is in drones (I've just picked something here but it could be Lego or ponies or anything!)
Using drones as our example, here are some of the printables and some of the activities you could do with your kiddos.
ACTIVITY: DRONES - WHAT ARE THEY?
Read about DRONES HERE in this PDF (a little out dated but still some good definitions and explanations) or HERE and then have a look at how drones are being used in OUTER SPACE HERE (good for teens but you could skip this for younger kiddos).
PRINTABLE TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: Planets printable
Your child could write down something they recalled from the reading you did together on drones in outer space.
ACTIVITY: DRAW A DRONE
Sketch a drone. If you don't have one, you could try and borrow one or look at what one looks like online or in a library book.
After sketching, label parts of the drone. If your child is a reluctant writer, it is totally acceptable for you to be the scribe as they tell you the parts of the picture they've drawn. You can write 'as scribed by Mum or Dad' and the date if you like on the paper. Either way, it's totally fine. Ask yourself: are they engaged? Are they learning?
PRINTABLE TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: 'Taking Apart Tech'
There are two pages in this set. This is the second page which has a space for a drawing (which could be labelled). You could print out both pages or just the one with the drawing if that's what keeps your kiddo yearning to do some learning! You guys decide together! Don't be afraid to ditch what doesn't work. If they like drawing, skip straight to that as an activity!
ACTIVITY: OPERATION LIFT OFF
What weight can a drone lift? Are drones designed to lift things? Heck I don't know the answer to that question but look what I found (I literally googled science + drone + lift + objects + pdf) and came up with THIS PDF HERE FROM NASA. You could read through it online or print it off and highlight the best bits...(I will often say, "highlight some thing that you never knew before"). On page 3 it discusses Newtown's Third Law. You could skip over this or you could make another lesson out of it altogether! PRINTABLE TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: 'Name that Scientist' from our Templates Bundle #1
You could have your child research information about the life and work of Sir Isaac Newton. Older kids could watch THIS Crash Course Kids video while younger kiddos might like a cartoon like THIS Dr Bionics episode. (Again, all I did was google Issac newton + cartoon + kids and selected videos and so many options came up!) Again, if your kiddos don't like writing, they could watch the videos and tell you all about it, recalling what they remembered from their listening. This is called oral narration.
ACTIVITY: BACK TO OPERATION LIFT OFF
What weight can a drone lift? Why not try see if your drone (if you have one) can lift off with a variety of light materials. Suggestions include: a potato chip, a ping pong ball with blu tac, a peg, a Lego mini figure, an egg (eeeek messy fun!!!!)
PRINTABLE TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: 'Scientific Method' printable from our Templates Bundle #1
If you haven't already discussed what a hypothesis is, this is a great chance! VIDEOS LIKE THIS ONE are great and even little ones can get the hang of making a hypothesis when it is broken down in such easy-to-understand ways. Have this template (3 pages) printed off. This could be a whole afternoon activity - I know it would be here - setting up the different materials, walking through the steps and then recalling that procedure and getting them to write that down. It would be impossible to say how many 'scientific method' sheets my kids have filled out over the years! And without too much effort, the scientific method becomes accessible, understandable and easy to use!
Got younger kids who'd find 3 pages too daunting? They can use this one page instead (thanks to our fabulous member Karina for suggesting it!) You'll find this one in the THL Resource Library by itself rather than in a bundle.
ACTIVITY: GOOGLE EARTH DRONE TOUR
Open up the Google Earth web page HERE and have a 360 drone tour! There is screen (bottom right hand corner) that specifies where this is.
PRINTABLE TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: 'Google Earth' printable
If you print this one off, just skip the top instructions and get the kids to write down where they went and what they saw. Older kiddos could learn about coordinates, longitude and latitude as a tangent!
ACTIVITY: PRINCE ALBERT'S CAIRN
After 'visiting' Prince Albert's Cairn in Google Earth in the above activity, you could learn about why rock cairns are created and the controversy around why building cairns is discouraged in some national parks. Your child could write up a 'for' or 'against' style argument as to whether or not they should be allowed or banned. Your child could fill that out in
PRINTABLES TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: 'How to write a report' printables
These 3 printables help your homeschooler to brainstorm ideas about their report. If your kiddo isn't ready for this, they could just skip it. It's just an idea and the printables are always there in the Resource Library for our THL Members to access at any time.
ACTIVITY: (FOR YOUNGER KIDDOS) BUILD A ROCK CAIRN IN YOUR BACKYARD
Again, this activity follows on after seeing the Prince Albert's Cairn in Scotland. You could go out together and make a similar style cairn balancing rocks and talking about how and why we care for nature when we are in it.
PRINTABLES TO USE FROM OUR THL LIBRARY: 'My Nature Observations' printable
This sheet can be used after building your rock cairn. It could be about the cairn or something else that was spotted on your nature walk.
Older kids can enjoy a nature walk and fill out a journal printable like this one:
Some kiddos might also like to research who invented drones. Those kiddos could use this printable to record their findings:
Then there are printables for you to help record what your child has been doing like this record keeping one:
Friends, this is just an example of ONE interest and how my printable templates can be used to compliment whatever interest your kiddo might have or whatever you might like to cover with them.
I really want you to see that:
* learning can be fun
* getting learning samples can be easier than just telling your kids to write out an essay
* there is A LOT of cross-over of activities. Just for that one Google Earth activity above, you could tick off outcomes for science and technology, history, geography, maths and English!
* I've tried to take the hard work, time and effort out of creating these and just made them available to you
* My templates are always located in ONE place so you can go back and print time and time again without download or printing limits
I really hope this kind of explanation can help you feel more comfortable with the idea of printables that you can create yourself, find from others or if you choose to, access in our THL Resource Library. (I've also tried to keep it as affordable as possible. $40 for six months membership or $70 for the year).
If you found this helpful and would like me to do another blog post showing how you could cover another topic using my printables, please let me know in the comments.
More again soon,