Have you thought about your need to plan ahead for challenging homeschool days by preparing your own version of substitute teacher plans?
At the beginning of the school year, every classroom teacher prepares substitute teacher plans. Since she may not know in advance when she’ll need a sub, the teacher has a substitute teacher folder ready to go from the first day. It usually includes a wide variety of easy-to-implement and ready-to-go activities.
Of course as homeschooling parents we don’t have an actual sub come in and work with our children if we’re sick. But we can put together a plan ahead of time by filling a bin so when life or an illness eventually does catch up with us, we have something to save the day.
Assembling a bin like this can mean the difference between stressful chaos and a relatively peaceful out-of-the-ordinary day.
Self-Directed, Highly-Engaging Activities
I think the key to making a successful plan is to select engaging, self-directed activities or else it really defeats the purpose. If your kids have to come ask for your assistance every five minutes, you might as well be doing schoolwork and counting it as a school day!
I suggest avoiding busywork that can be completed in a couple of minutes (like coloring books) unless your child really loves them. If your child will color or do dot-to-dots for hours, then provide all the good stuff – new crayons, new books, etc. Otherwise, think bigger and more exciting.
Be sure that whatever you put in there is complete. If it needs batteries, put them in the bin. If the craft set needs glue or scissors, put them in the bin. The last thing you want to be doing if you are sick is hunting down rogue supplies.
It’s also wise not to give children the entire bin at one time or they will go through everything in an hour and come back saying they are bored with the rest of the day before you. Let them choose a few activities for the morning and save more for the afternoon. If you are really sick, you might need to spread them out even more.
Planning for Challenging Homeschool Days
A medium storage bin works really well for this. The bin should be full of new-to-them, self-directed activities that will keep your children engaged.
Naturally the contents will vary a lot based on the ages of your children. Things to include might be:
- New board games
- New card games
- New puzzles
- Puzzle books
- Craft kits
- New children’s books
- DVDs for kids
- Amazon Gift Card w/balance to download new apps, books, etc.
- Money set aside to pay for extra online gaming options
- Links to learning websites that are new to your children
Again, select items that work for your particular children and your particular needs.
Honestly, movies, websites, and online games will be most helpful because they will keep children engaged for long periods of time. When you’re sick isn’t the time to obsess over how many hours your child spends playing Minecraft or Roblox that week. It won’t ruin him for life.
You can decide if you want them to keep the items out permanently at the end of the day or if everything gets packed away to be brought out again when another challenging homeschool day arrives.
What other things would you add to your bin?