September 01, 2005

Homeschooling during a disaster

A friend just sent me this link to Ambleside Online's Helping Hand Emergency Learning Plan, which isn't secular but could easily be secularized for any family:
This is a free, complete, user-friendly curriculum plan for homeschooling families who need support, encouragement and alternatives to the curriculum they've lost in a disaster, and also for churches and other groups needing to set up temporary schools for children who may not have been homeschooled. All texts and teaching materials needed to implement this plan are free online. The only things you need are access to a computer and printer, paper and pencil. Please print out and share this information freely with anyone who might need it.

We know that there are more important things than missed schooling during a crisis. But sometimes in the midst of disasters, creating a small oasis of normalcy and continuity is very important. In the midst of such a disaster, grown ups with many urgent details on their minds cannot focus on thinking up things for children to do, and it is our prayer that this free resource will fill a need.

The most important things to do during a disaster are simple things that bring the family together -- special times that build memories and connections. This includes things like singing hymns, folksongs, reading poetry, playing silly but educational games like Mad Libs, telling stories to each other, reading and retelling the old favorites like The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Man, and doing silly things like dancing together, playing hide the thimble, and ring around the rosie.

Think beyond the usual textbooks. Improvise, make the most of what you have, make things up. For example, one family was given an old board game that was too hard to use, but it had a lot of little coloured plastic pieces that fit into each other, and those became their favourite math manipulative. If your phys. ed. equipment consists of a jump rope and a ball, look for new ways to use them instead of worrying that you don't have access to more than that.

Make use of people as resources, including you, your spouse, your relatives and friends. Use internet helps such as search engines, e-texts, swap boards, patterns, maps, Bible commentaries, game instructions, study notes, and experts with websites."
The page includes suggestions for history and geography, math, literature and poetry, science and nature, language arts, music, art appreciation, games and handicrafts, and more.

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