With all those children at home, it can be a bit overwhelming. With schools and yeshivos closing, along with many public events, and children not being able to play with friends even, it can be hard to keep them busy and out of trouble; aka, hard for us to keep sane!
It is definitely a stressful time, never mind who has much time now to think about what all this really mean. For us homeschoolers, it is more like a huge winter storm when all the friends are home from school, but homeschooling families just chug along with school as if nothing is wrong. It does get a bit different when the storm lasts several days and normal out of the house activities are not available, so we can get cabin fever as well, just takes a bit longer for us.
I have our two boys who are in yeshiva, home with me, and very happy (in various ways) that they are able to keep up with their classes online.
To try to keep everyone sane, here is a very small starter list. (If you have anything else that would be helpful to others, let me know and I can add it to the list!):
(As with all things internet-related, even though I have been to these sites personally, please do your own research as well and only use what best fits your family.)
Room613 – Offering interactive, live classes for Jewish homeschoolers.
Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik – Put on by the Chofetz Chaim. Call in Monday-Thursdays at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm EST. 30 min presentations start on the hour and include recesses and raffles! 646-726-9977
They also have The Children’s Hotline available 24 hours a day
212-444-1119, 718-305-6960, 845-738-1066.
Torah Live – Torah Live is offering free access to their accounts on 60 day increments – If you or your school would like to take advantage of this opportunity, go to http://www.torahlive.com/schools and use promo code TORAH.
Aleph Beta – at the top of the page they have a link for those who are stuck at home for free access.a
Chabad.org – is a great resource to begin with, but they have a wonderful children’s site filled with games and videos.
Chinuch.org– Is a Torah U’Mesorah website that has resources available to download for all age levels and all Jewish subject areas.
Want to help with the secular side of things as well?
Khan Academy – Includes extensive interactive math classes, along with coding. It also has so much more available, and all for free!
There are many places where one can download out of copyright books to read on a computer or to print out for free.
Gateway to the Classics (used to be Mainlesson.com) Has a huge database of children’s books. Click on “Library” and then you can go to the “Browse” link to browse by author or by title.
Great time to pick up some new language that sounds fun!
Duolingo – can be done on the computer or app. There are others, but this is the one that I use.
Take the time to reconnect. About 4 years ago I bought a small spiral notebook for each of us in the family. I tried to remember a few times a week to give each person their book and told them to write one thing they are greatful for. We have not done them in 2.5 years. Tonight, I decided to bring them out again. IY”H, we will be using them most nights.
In a time of technology, some old forms have been forgotten. Now would be a great time to bring them out. Have your children draw pictures or write cards or small letters to someone. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. It does not have to be long, just something small. The mail them. In the snail mail. 🙂 Maybe they can be “penpals” with their best friend who lives next door – if you can get out – paste the note on the front door in the evening and they can paste one on your door the next night!
Start a Reading Time (or Quiet Time), perhaps in the afternoon or evening after supper. Take 30-60 minutes and everyone reads a book.
We might not understand exactly why Hashem has decided this was the best thing for us, but let us say “Thank You!” and take advantage of all that was thrown at us!
If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment, I am sure there are many other people who will be excited to hear about them.