Top Homeschooling Tips From Seasoned Pros

We could start out by saying, “These are interesting times …” But that’s pretty obvious, right? That said, it’s been on our hearts to start to share some of the things we do with our children, since we’ve been homeschooling and “co-working with our kids” for about 10 years now. So, from some rather seasoned pros to you, these are some of our “Top Homeschooling Tips.” (Please note, all photographs in this blog were taken with our trusty iPhone XS Max.)

Set A Daily Schedule

A daily schedule is definitely a necessity. We’re currently running an “A Day” and a “B Day.” And while we typically write up a schedule on the white board in our kids’ homeschool classroom at our photography studio in Arroyo Grande, CA, we’re currently unable to work at our studio, so even as “seasoned homeschooling pros” we recently threw up a modified daily schedule. Easy to flex as needed. Just grab some chart paper. If you’re on a budget, here’s a great option for under $15, though you’ll have to tape it up yourself. We find chart paper to be an indispensable resource for homeschooling, so we tend to gravitate toward the self-sticking kind. You can check those out here.

top homeschooling tip daily schedule

chart paper calendars

Pack The Kids Lunch In The AM/Have Snack Time

Without a doubt, if you’re not used to working from home and having your kids with you when it’s not a “normal school break,” you’re definitely thinking about how to get your crew from raiding the refrigerator every hour, on the hour. (Or yourself for that matter!) Here’s another one of our top homeschooling tips: PACK A LUNCH, and include two snacks. There are several benefits to this practice: 1. You spend some time in the AM preparing a meal; 2. You won’t overeat; and 3. If anyone asks, you can point to the daily schedule (just add a spot for AM SNACK, LUNCH, and PM SNACK). Need a lunch box? They are tough to find actually, unless it’s a month or so before school starts. So we’d recommend snagging up some reusable storage bags.

kids lunch boxes

Flash Cards Are Where It’s At

The easiest to make homeschool activity? FLASH CARDS! And you can make them for so many subjects. From sight words and basic math facts for younger kids to formulas, advanced vocabulary, parts of speech, and foreign language vocabulary for older kids. Get some index cards (you can get 1,000 for about $12), cut up some paper, or grab some of our favorite sight word activity books, the “100 Words” series of activity books. Pro homeschooling tip: google “100 words kids need to read,” click on images, and you’ll get the lists you’re after. Also, have your kids make them, because that alone is an activity that will take them hours!

top homeschooling tip flash cards

Have Exercise Time (“Gym Class”)

We’re super blessed to have an amazing garage gym set up. Check out our last blog, which had some more info on that! Regardless of your fitness equipment, you can do a lot at home (even if you’re completely confined at home). You got this! Get off that couch, and do it! If your crew is resistant? Make them complete a workout to earn that video game time! Oh! The best website for quick and effective home workouts? Check out The Brand X Method.

home workouts

Pick 1 Fun Activity Each Day

You absolutely need to take some time to do a fun activity each day with your kids, with your entire family, or with whoever is around on that particular day. We typically choose something that we can all do together or something that we can do in shifts. One of us will play a game with the older kids, while one of us plays a game with the younger kids. Some of our favorites? Monopoly, Blokus, or good old fashioned Giant Checkers, chess, or Retro Battleship!

top homeschooling tip family game time

Work On A Life Skill

An easy, and super fun, idea to break up any school day? Add in a time for working on a “life skill.” Pick something you’re good at that you can teach your kids: computer programming, photography, painting, cooking, or sewing. All fun. All time-consuming. And, in fact, there are some really awesome sewing kits available for under $20, if you can’t get out to your local fabric store. We like the ones where you make your own stuffed animals! Heck, you might use this as an awesome opportunity to learn something new for yourself!

homeschooling tip life skill

Thanks so much for checking out our top homeschooling tips! Leave a comment and let us know some of your tips, and check back soon! We have loads of content coming your way: movie reviews by kids for kids, our favorite board games, our best tips for “co-working with your kids,” etc.

And we’d love to connect to talk about photographing you and your family, when we’re all up and about again! Check out our portfolio here, and you can always contact us via our website here.

Love you all! Stay rad, friends!

 

Entertaining Activities for Kids, While Working from Home

We’ve been homeschooling and working from home with our kids for, well … forever! Or for as long as our kids have been around, which is about 10 years! These days we operate out of our super rad portrait studio in the beautiful city of Arroyo Grande, California, where our crew of 5 comes along daily. In fact, they have their own classroom on site! In the midst of our current “lockdown,” we’re not able to photograph our clients. So, we decided to offer some of our best tips to our community, our friends, and our photography family. This blog post features some legit and entertaining activities for kids!

Now, let’s get crackin’! Here are our favorite entertaining activities for kids, while you’re working from home. We’ve got 8! And they’re kid-approved, time-occupying, and super fun! Let’s check ’em out! (Please note, all photographs in this blog were taken with our trusty iPhone XS Max.)

Monopoly

Monopoly? Yes, absolutely! We’ve literally played for hours (maybe even all day a time or two) … The crew loves playing, and they’ll play on their own for hours as well. The trick is to teach your kids how to make deals. Deals will extend the game and teach your kids valuable tools like generosity, being financially solvent, and how to spot a good deal versus one that’s not so great. Here we’re playing with our favorite board, a gift from our good friend and business mentor Steve Saporito of Steve Saporito Education. Australian-style Monopoly for the win! Pro Tip: any time you have to pay money from Chance or Community Chest (or land on a tax space), put the money in Free Parking. Whoever lands on it, gets the cash!

monopoly sunshine and reign

Tent Forts

This is a no brainer for sure. Who doesn’t like a good tent fort? We sure as heck do! And here’s our number one tip: FITTED SHEETS (King). If you don’t have any, you can usually find a one-off for less than $10-15. If you do have some, grab your largest ones and get building. A solid fitted sheet will allow you to avoid string, clothespins, and repeatedly having to fix your creations.

fitted sheet tent fort sunshine andreign

Hot Glue Art Projects

If you expect to have your kids with you for any extended period of time, and you’re okay with them handling an object that is potentially pretty dang ouchy, you absolutely need a hot glue gun! Besides being useful for fixing tons of stuff, they are an absolute necessity if you’re into crafts, art, etc. And if your kids are under age 10, you’ll for sure want to help them out to avoid some possibly pretty nasty burns! You can typically get one for under $10, the glue sticks aren’t too costly, and some even come with removable covers so little hands can’t get burned!

hot glue gun art projects sunshine and reign

Hopscotch

It’s a classic. And you can get as complex and epic as you want. Here’s how we play: 1. Grab some chalk; 2. Number your sections, leaving some for one foot and some for two; 3. Find a small rock or a chunk of chalk to use as a marker; 4. Throw your  marker on the first spot, hop to it, and hop back; 5. Throw your marker on the second spot, hop to it, and hop back. 6. Go all the way to your last numbered spot, repeating your spot if you fall, hop on a line, or hop out of a section; 7. Time one another to see who can complete the course the fastest.

hopscotch rules sunshine and reign

how to play hopscotch sunshine and reign

Art For Kids Hub

By far—by a super far margin, in fact—Art for Kids Hub is THE BEST art tutorial YouTube channel for kids. The host is Rob, and he always has one of his kids drawing right there with him. Check it out. So much great content! Our kids have spent many hours learning to draw from Rob & his crew. They have gotten to be such amazing (and better) artists. And along the way, we might have drastically improved our drawing skills as well!

art hub for kids sunshine and reign

Workout w/ Your Kids

Our kids love working out with us … it’s definitely a highlight! If you’re working from home and not finding some time to exercise, now’s your chance! And if you don’t have a solid gym setup, there are so many ideas out there … We built our gym over the last 10+ years, and it’s traveled with us from Wisconsin to Arizona to California. You can check out our latest workout video here: Sunshine & Reign Photography Instagram! If you can’t get a workout in with your crew, give them some exercises to do on their own: time them, and see if they can beat their time on their next workout. The ideas are endless … be creative! Have fun!!

Here are a few websites with workouts you can use as models for you and your family: CrossFit.com, Cream City CrossFit Co-op, Onnit, and activekids.com.

garage gym workouts sunshine and reign

Make Maps

This is probably the most fun geography-type lessons your kids will ever do! We recommend getting some large sheets of chart paper to start. From there, you outline your preferred geographical region (state, province, country, continent, etc.) and add cities, rivers, bodies of water, and applicable resources. You’ll need to do some research for sure, but it’s a great way to explore the world!

geography lessons sunshine and reign

entertaining activities for kids geography sunshine and reign

“Fun Books”

Without a doubt, if you ask our crew about their favorite “school books,” they’ll give a quick answer: “FUN BOOKS!” We love the Never-Bored Kid Book series. They’ll keep your crew (up to the age of 10 or so) busy for hours. And while you’re looking for fun, time-occupying activity-based content workbooks, don’t forget word searches and maze books.

never-bored kid books sunshine and reign

Well, there you have it. That should give you plenty to do … What are some of your favorite entertaining activities for kids? Leave a comment!

And we’d love to connect to talk about photographing you and your family, when we’re all up and about again! Check out our portfolio here, and you can always contact us via our website here.

Love you all! Stay rad, friends!