Tag Archives: homeschool

Homeschooling Because of COVID-19: Curriculum for High-Schoolers

I have been homeschooling my teen off and on for 12 years and currently she is being homeschooled for high school. She is in 11th grade and is dual-enrolled in community college. That means that she is a high school student and college student at the same time. Many folks ask me what curriculum do I use for her since she is in high school. I don’t use a pre-made curriculum for high school. I have created/curated her curriculum since I started homeschooling her since she was four and that has not changed now that she is in high school. In this article, I will share some resources that I’ve used to design her curriculum and the reasons behind my choice to use some of them. I encourage you to consider designing your own curriculum as it allows you to create a learning journey that is unique to your child. While I do advise you to visit the website of your local school system to get ideas on what the learning standards are for your child’s grade, you have the flexibility to aim above those standards if you wish.

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  1. Khan Academy for Math and Science

Khan Academy has been an asset to our homeschooling journey since my child was in elementary school. This free online resource offers a portal for parents to monitor their child’s progress and the site does the rest. The rest is in the areas of pre-assessment, instruction and tutorial. That’s right. This site has an assessment tool to gauge where your child is academically and then designs a curriculum that your child can begin to take to engage in the subject they are on the site for. I use Khan Academy for math instruction and even intend on having her use the site as she begins to prepare for SATs (I only decided this month that I want her to take the SAT which is why she is taking it late).

Khan Academy is typically used by homeschooling families for math, but there are other subjects the site helps with as well. Although it is a free resource now, I always encourage homeschooling families to donate to their organization so they can stay around for those of us who use their service so often.

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2. The Public Library for English, Writing and Critical Thinking

This sounds so obvious and corny to mention, but, let me share with you why I listed it. Public library systems have book/reading lists that they have compiled for different age groups. Many have them listed virtually while some require you to request them directly from the branch. Requesting a reading list based on your child’s reading level allows you to determine which books to assign or allow your child to pick from when building their curriculum for the week, month or school year. I am a college professor, so I have asked colleagues for their recommendations when putting together my own book list. When designing a syllabus for my teen during her first two years of high school, I would let her pick which books she would read and then do assignments on.

The library also allows you to rent movies, music and other learning materials if you don’t want to purchase materials. The online resources libraries offer are great tools in general to help your children begin to develop skills in researching and finding learning materials on their own.

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3. Udemy for Life Skills and Interest-Led Learning

One year, I spent less than $200 on more than ten courses that my daughter chose herself based on interest and three parameters that I gave her during her first year of high school. She chose courses in photography, how to use a smart phone beyond picture taking, sign language, singing and about five other subjects. Udemy is a wonderful site of online courses that you can choose from or direct your teen to if you are allowing them to create their own learning curriculum. The offerings are immense and people on the site are often professionals in the field they are teaching. I took a course on there on statistics to help me understand my doctoral course in quantitative methods where statistics was a large component.


3. Museums for Science, Art and Culture

Now with COVID-19, it is unlikely any museums are open. But, almost all museums now are offering virtual resources for those eager to incorporate their resources into your learning curriculum. Some of my favorite virtual museum resources are: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Zoos and Aquariums, and Art Institute of Chicago.

Here is a link to over 2500 art museums sharing online materials.

Here is a story on art museums putting their collections online.

4. Gyms for Health and Fitness

Planet Fitness is the gym of choice for our household because it is affordable and allowed our teen to be our guest for free with the Black Card plan. Now that gyms are closed, they are offering online classes and work-out plans that have been helpful for us (even though, I’ll be real, we have not been using them yet). Here is an example here.

Since COVID-19 the workout that we have most engaged in have been walks in our neighborhood and dancing in the house.

In closing, when putting together a curriculum for your high school student, recognize that this is a fine time to engage them in their own learning process. Find your resources and let them have a hand in making some selections. You can use some of the spaces I’ve recommended above or choose sites on your own. Ultimately, know that homeschooling allows for flexibility and you have the power to curate your child’s learning experience as you see fit. Best of luck to you!

Dr. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a homeschooling parent and researcher on homeschool issues. Learn more at khadijahali-coleman.com

Register for the 2nd annual Online Multi-Ethnic Homeschool Moms Conference here

homeschooling because of covid-19: play time is learning time

I can feel it. The panic and overwhelm that has led you to this post on how to homeschool your child during this COVID-19 outbreak. I am here to tell you to take a deep breath and relax. I’m serious. As different and new as this time is for all of us, this might be the moment you need to finally learn that play time can be learning time. In this post, I am not sharing anything on how to find worksheets or start a learning corner in your house. Instead, I am going to share some finds from my own homeschooling journey to use as examples of how and why it is important to learn that play time is a valuable part of your child’s learning time.

My daughter is a teen now, but, ten years ago, she liked to make desserts like this frozen treat for me and her dad

1. Playing in the Kitchen

I can hear you now telling me that I must be crazy if I am suggesting that you let your child loose in your kitchen without any supervision. Hold on, now. I am not ever going to suggest that a child under 12 years-old be left alone in the kitchen, but, I am totally suggesting that while they are in there with you, you let them have some fun.

In the photo above, my child was about six years-old and she had learned the joy of freezing a liquid and making popsicles. She decided to take the idea one step further and creating some type of popsicle cake with fresh fruit. We had discussed all of the fantastic things that you could possibly make, what was possible with our resources, and what we thought the outcome would be. We came up with extra silly ideas like trying to make popsicle spaghetti to this frozen juice cake above. This silly play time activity was a science and math activity in the making as we developed a hypothesis, tried different measurements of liquid, paid attention to the time that it took for the cake to freeze and generally experimented with different ingredients.

Think about the merit of play time when your child is asking for the ingredients to make slime putty, a dollhouse, or some type of special food item.

Garbed in my scarves, my little darling found joy in dressing up when she was a little.

2. Dress up Time Fun

Children under 10 years-old typically enjoy dressing up and playing make-believe. I am over forty and love dressing up in new dresses…but, I digress. When children are dressing up, their imagination is being activated. They are bringing into their play all of the information they have already learned so far from books, things they’ve observed, etc. and begun to arrange this information into dialogues they are expressing through creative play. As we are in close quarters now with our children because quarantine behaviors are in effect, consider engaging your child in a creative play activity of dress up. Will you allow them to dress you up in silly make-up or do a hair tutorial on you? Will you participate in their creative play activity where they invite you to tea and you must dress in your finest royal gowns? Participating in this type of play with your child helps boost creativity and allows their imagination an opportunity to have free expression.

Outside time in nature is not banned. Get outdoors!

3. Bask in Mother Nature’s Sun

COVID-19 directives have all revolved around the importance of social distancing. This is when you stay at least six feet apart from strangers and not participate in social gatherings of more than ten people. However, that does not ban you from going out into your backyard or visiting a park if you are able. I went for a walk yesterday with my teen and taught her how to make a whistle out of an acorn cap. If your children are younger, consider including outside play time into your routine so they remember how to jump and run and don’t forget what the sun looks like. You can do this and still make sure you are not close to strangers.

Have your child assign the family different roles to play in a story they will direct! This is a re-telling of an Anansi tale directed by my daughter seven years ago. Her dad and I were characters in the story, she was the narrator and her dad and I edited the film and video of the pictures she drew and colored.

All of these suggestions are simple to actualize and work well in small spaces you have to occupy during this viral outbreak. Trust your parental intuition and recognize what you have the capacity to accommodate and participate in. At the end of the day, know that allowing your child to play is just as important, if not more important, than arranging for them to learn in other ways. Be kind, be patient and be easy. You got this!

Dr. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a homeschooling parent and researcher on homeschool issues. Learn more at khadijahali-coleman.com

Register for the 2nd annual Online Multi-Ethnic Homeschool Moms Conference here