I love lists. I love resources. I love sharing my lists of activities and resources. So, it only made sense that I do a round-up of my tried and true homeschooling activities and resources. This list is loosely organized from elementary age up to things for teens.
I can't wait to dive in, and I hope you'll find this list helpful too.
- Five In A Row. My all-time favorite curriculum for preschool and elementary years has always been this one. The books, the activities, the gentle learning, and the fun projects made for wonderful homeschool memories. My kids still remember many of the books we "rowed" and that's a win in my book. Pun intended.
- Fresh air. Kids don't want to do the "homeschool-y" things? Fresh air. Kids are cranky? Fresh air. YOU'RE cranky? Fresh air. Taking homeschooling outside—even to your own yard or front stoop—can be mood-shifting.
- Snacks. Do I really need to explain this one?
- Library Programs. Use your library programs for enrichment, connection, and fun. Make friends with your librarians. Suggest programs and books. Get involved. Get your children involved (my oldest ended up volunteering for two years at our library). Libraries are magical.
- Sensory Bins. I know these can be messy but also (most) kids love them. There are a million ways you can make a sensory bin, and depending on your children's ages and stages, and preferences, you can do what works for your family. Our favorite was one we made when we read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I filled a huge shallow bin with dried beans and lots of small toy trucks, wooden blocks, pompoms, and more. The kids had fun "shoveling" and "driving" through the beans while I read the book or read from our Five In A Row lesson.
- Posters and Visuals. For years, our home was decorated in what I call homeschool chic. And part of this "style" included hanging posters and visual items in all of the key areas. We had daily calendars, a weather station, posters of all sorts (even ones hung up in the powder room, true story!) and I'd change them out a few times a year.
- Music and Songs. Kids love repetition. We used music and songs to learn so many things. In fact, I still randomly sing songs we used forever ago and it makes me smile.
- Books, Books, and more Books. Reading and listening to all kinds of books was and still is one of the best things you and your children can do--together or alone. Mix it up! Lean into audiobooks and graphic novels. Everything counts.
- Building Blocks and Bricks. Building with blocks is great for imaginative play, creativity, following instructions (if needed), and fine motor skills. My children often built with blocks while I read to them. My oldest, 17, still enjoys putting together complicated LEGO creations. Check local consignment shops, online marketplaces, and holiday sales to help build your building blocks collection.
- Games. Learning through games (often called gameschooling) is popular in the homeschool community and for good reason. With games that cover nearly every topic under the sun, you're bound to find something to enrich your learning time. Check out this list of games I put together to get you started.
- Lapbooks. I never knew about lapbooks until we started homeschooling. These became an integral part of elementary school projects. My kids loved creating them and I assisted with cutting and arranging pieces when needed. Lapbooks are a great way to document your child's learning on any topic and make for a sweet keepsake as well.
- Notebooking Pages. This deceptively simple concept served us well for years---well into high school. My kids personally loved different themed notebooking pages that they could color, design, and write down their facts and information on and I loved the results. Homeschooling doesn't have to be complicated and I recommend giving notebooking a try. The pages can also be incorporated into a lapbook.
- Field trips: Taking field trips to all kinds of places is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. Because you're generally on your own schedule, you can visit places during off hours and really have time to enjoy things. My kids still joke that I would try to make even the most random things into homeschool field trips. They're not wrong. We showed up one December at our local firehouse to drop off cookies only to accidentally stumble into a ribbon-cutting ceremony where my three children promptly inserted themselves into the crowd, asked if they could have some cake, and then spent two hours asking all of the firefighters, the fire chief, and the head of the bomb squad 18754 questions. It was a good day.
- Typing and Keyboarding. Being Gen X, I still remember learning to type on an actual typewriter. Yup! My dad had a typewriter he and my mom used for his business and I used it in my early elementary years (hello, 1982!) to occasionally type up book reports or whatever story I was working on a the moment. Fast forward years later and my oldest kid is navigating a laptop at four and by age seven is teaching himself to type. We used some free programs but mostly my children learned to type out of a desire to get around the computer, write their own stories, etc.
- Cursive Handwriting. That said, I also spent several years having my kids learn cursive, and I'm glad we did this. Even though they don't use it much, they can sign their names, they can read cursive, and I think it's a useful skill. We loved Handwriting Without Tears and I still recommend it to this day.
- Documentaries. To say we leaned heavily on documentaries and other educational programs in our homeschool is an understatement. All of my kids love learning this way!
- YouTube. Yes, we use YouTube for homeschooling and have for years. You can filter things out and set up what you need to regarding what works for your family too. There are so many great channels out there and I compiled a list here. Watch out for the exploding whale video. You've been warned.
- Book Clubs. Here's a fact: older kids and teens like to be with their peers and they love snacks. Sometimes, they like these things more than actually reading books. So, why not host a homeschool book club and get kids reading and talking and eating together? Be sure to include your teen in the book selection process. Check out this fantastic banned books literature program for high school.
- Art supplies. I love a good stash of art supplies! Bored? Pull out the art supplies. Creating a cool project? Art supplies to the rescue. Need a last-minute gift? Yeah, you know what I'm going to say. Make something with your art supplies. Check out our favorite art supplies.
- Podcasts. We've used podcasts through our middle and high school years—especially with all the driving around we do. Be sure to check out this list of 36 educational podcasts for teens.
- Jobs and Volunteering. Some of the deepest and most meaningful learning and life experiences happen away from the house and not in a book. Working and volunteering have been an integral part of my oldest son's homeschooling experience and I'm so thankful he had the time and space to pursue his interests in these hands-on ways. It's made all the difference in the world to my non-traditional learner.
Don't forget to check out these six topics to round out your homeschool too! What are some of your favorite homeschooling activities and resources? Let us know in the comments below!