Not a natural teacher? Looking for alternative homeschool ideas and online elementary school programs for primary school aged children?
You’re in luck, because I’ve put together a list of 30 activities that are learning opportunities disguised as fun things to do…
Cue evil genius laughter.
Newsflash! Homeschooling During The Pandemic Is Not Easy
For some, the idea of educating children at home is a joy…
When I first heard we were in lockdown, the idea of homeschooling my three kids was a nice thought for me too…
For about 5 minutes until the reality of work and resistant kids hit.
Is There An Alternative To Traditional Homeschooling?
For many others (like my husband and I – we’re currently both working from home, taking it in turns to do ‘shifts’), homeschooling is causing a real logistical headache.
Not everyone has the same aptitude for passing on knowledge, even to our nearest and dearest.
Then, there is the issue of kids who don’t want to be taught because they are at home and that it feels like a holiday.
And what if you have more than one child to look after? We have a 1 year old, 3 year old and a 7 year old, all with different personalities, wants and needs.
So, what can you do?
Firstly, you can give yourself a break. Your kids are not going to suffer by being at home 7 days a week.
There are so many life and other skills they can learn, surrounded by their loved ones.
Kids who show interest and talent in music may benefit from the music education resources provided by organizations like Save the Music Foundation. They may also take music lessons to further develop their talents and skills.
30 Alternative Homeschool Ideas
Read on to find out about some fun alternative homeschool ideas which will help to educate your children without them even realising it!
1. Making And Cooking Pasta
Measuring out an exact quantity of dried pasta is a maths skill.
Placing it into water measured with a thermometer to be boiling is, too.
Then timing it for 10 minutes before serving it fulfils a similar educational function.
If you’ve run out of dried pasta, you could have your kids make their own pasta!
2. Learning To Code
Know nothing about coding?
Kids pick it up fast with online resources like Scratch where their imaginations can run wild.
3. Count Heart Rates
Try counting your heart rate before and after exercise.
This teaches, physical education, human biology and mathematics all in one go!
4. Create Rainbow Spaghetti
If you have some spare spaghetti (unlikely during the pandemic, but anyway…) boil batches with different food colours and water, and hey presto. Rainbow spaghetti!
My kids like making pictures and mixing it with mud and sand in the garden.
There are lots of learning opportunities with this activity, such as counting the strands, fine-motor skills and recognising colours.
You can even make a big batch and freeze some for another day.
5. Get Gloopy
One of my absolute favourite substances to make, and one of the easiest too!
All you need is cornflour and a small amount of water to make gloop.
Just these two ingredients creates the most interesting substance – is it a liquid or is it solid? It’s both!
Add food colours or vegetable juices (I’ve used beetroot juice before!) to learn about mixing colours.
6. Go Wild With Rhymes
Give your child a line of a poem that ends with an animal name and ask them to complete the couplet.
For example, ‘I went to the zoo and I saw a parrot’, ‘it was bright orange, the colour of a….’
7. Bake Cakes
All children like cakes, don’t they?
The reward for measuring, mixing and cooking a cake recipe is in the eating of it.
Simply by following a recipe, your child will learn about following written instructions.
It also offers room for creative expression, too.
8. Make A Windmill
Cutting out colourful paper and attaching it to a spindle is a creative thing to do.
When various sail shapes of a pinned on windmill are compared outside, you are educating your child about physics and the weather.
See which design spins fastest!
9. Online Safari
Learn about zoology by going on an online safari at a zoo.
Educational but entertaining animal videos are being uploaded daily by zoos that are currently shut.
Cincinnati Zoo, in the US, is a good example.
10. Writing Challenge
Getting kids to write creatively can be something of a challenge.
Why not start with an image for inspiration.
Google search a subject your child is interested in, such as superheroes.
Pick an image and imagine what someone seeing it for real would say.
You might think bingo is an old-fashioned game, but younger kids love it!
Allow them to be the caller as well as the player so their number recognition improves.
12. Design A Bridge
This is a great challenge for budding engineers.
Set a span to bridge over of a set number of Lego studs and use the available pieces to form a strong a bridge as possible.
Test the best design by loading it up with weight until it gives way.
The strongest design wins!
13. Make A Fairy Garden
You can buy fairy garden kits, or make your own. Spread microgreens seeds, grass seeds or peas amongst soil and watch them shoot up over a few days.
Kids love to water plants, and they will understand that water and light help them grow.
Add some cute coloured stones, figurines and a little house, and you’ve got your very own fairy garden.
14. Publish A Town Guide
Wherever you live, ask your kids to write a guide to it that a visitor could find out useful information from.
Add a section for history and one for what it is like now.
You could even publish it online.
15. Flip-Book Art
By a notepad or a pack of Post-It notes and use it to create an animation.
Stick-men figures work really well with flip art, especially when they do something unexpected.
16. Create A Blog
A blog is just an online diary.
Keeping one will help your kids to get to know how to publish online.
Remember to include words as well as pictures but ensure you choose a site where only trusted friends and family can view it.
17. Invent A Board Game
Kids love board games but they may have had their fill of their current sets.
Converting a chessboard into another grid-based game or even ‘snakes and ladders’ is a great way to think methodically and to consider the role of chance.
18. Learn About Religion
Your children may or may not be religious.
Either way, in school, they’d be learning about different religious practices.
TED-Ed is a good online resource with short, easy-to-understand educational videos for all ages.
19. Improve A Card Game
Ask your children to learn a simple card game, such as Uno or Snap.
Then, ask them to come up with some rule variations.
Try them out together to see which ones make the game more fun and which don’t.
20. Dig For Dino Bones
This activity is a lot of fun.
Bury dinosaur bones under sand, and get your kids to gently dig them out like real archaeologists.
We just used teaspoons to dig, and paint brushes to brush the sand off the bones.
21. Build A Robot
Old food cans and aluminium foil make for great arty robots.
To make the subject more educational, encourage children to think about useful tasks their robot could perform.
22. Potato Stamping
Chop a spare potato in half.
Now ask your child to make an interesting shape from the exposed side.
Dip it into paint and make some stencil art!
23. Learn To Compost
Stop throwing away your vegetable trimmings!
Instead, collect them together and make a wormery where you kids can learn about composting.
There are plenty of places to find out how online.
24. Learn To Juggle
This is a great physical skill that takes mental discipline to do well at.
If you don’t have juggling balls, then use bean bags instead.
25. Paper Aeroplanes
Give your child a sheet of paper and a paper clip to put on the nose.
Work out which design will go the furthest by launching them down the stairs.
26. Learning To Wash Up – The Most Useful Of Alternative Homeschool Ideas!
Yes, it is a life skill that has to be learned!
Remember to explain which items are washed first, such as glasses, and which go last.
27. Make Play Dough
To make your own dough, you need food colouring, salt, water and cornflour.
Making it is almost as much fun as playing with and more educational, too!
28. Make a Rainbow
On a sunny day, get you garden hose out and set it on a fine mist spray.
Viewed from the right angle you should be able to refract light to get a rainbow.
It helps to explain the concept.
29. Bust Out Some Street Dance Moves
Street dance is a great way to get exercise.
Learn two or three moves and get your kids to choreograph their own short routine.
30. Try Air Drying Clay
This is my new fave activity.
My kids love squishing it, and making things they can stash in their bedrooms, give as gifts or wear.
It’s relatively cheap, and you can also make some really useful things with it, such as plant pots, jewellery, picture frames, coasters and beads!
30 Alternative Homeschool Ideas In Summary…
The lockdown has been introduced primarily to keep us safe.
We are having to work from home, completely change our routines, and homeschool our kids of all ages.
This is a lot to handle, and can be seriously overwhelming even for the most super of parents!
Homeschooling is not something that everyone can just pick up and hit the ground running with, furthermore, it takes years to train as a teacher!
I’ve been worrying and beating myself up about how bad I’ve been at creating a homeschool routine, but I can’t do it all!
My husband and I are juggling 9 days of work per week between us + 3 kids + chores + shopping for 5 (+ my mum’s shopping too) + cooking.
For us we are focussing on staying sane, healthy and happy, and if the times tables are not progressing as quickly as they would be normally, I’m no longer going to beat myself up for it.
Everyone’s situations are so very different at the moment, so some may not agree with what I have written here, but you do you and I’ll do me 🙂
I hope these alternative homeschool ideas have come in handy.
Stay safe, everyone, and stay at home.
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Last Updated on June 25, 2023 by Lucy Clarke