“Homeschooling has been a great fit for us and has allowed our kids to explore their passions in a learner-centered environment at home. As they’ve gotten older, they are each looking for more community and academic interaction through their learning.”
-Quote from Prisma family
What does it mean to be a “homeschooler”? For many people, that word conjures up an image of siblings sitting around a kitchen table, while a parent (likely a mom) teaches traditional academic subjects to them from a workbook. This stereotypical image also comes with stereotypical assumptions: that homeschooled kids lack socialization, that homeschool parents want to overly shelter their children, that homeschool learners won’t be prepared academically for high school or college.
Twenty years ago, this stereotype might have held some truth. However, with today's technological advancements (spurred on by the pandemic that led many families to explore new educational methods) homeschooling has never been more common, or more diverse.
The “homeschooling” families we meet at Prisma may do any combination of the following:
Whatever form your homeschooling takes, you might be looking for additional homeschool activities to add your arsenal. Plus, one of the most fun parts of being a homeschool parent is creating fun learning opportunities for your kiddos! In the rest of this post, we’ll list some of our favorite at-home activities from the Prisma curriculum and the best homeschool resources on the Internet.
Create a classic volcano with baking soda and vinegar, make slime, or try another experiment. There are many simple and fun hands-on experiments you can do with household items. We recommend aligning your experiments to what your child is learning in science at this point in the school year. So, instead of searching Google for “at-home science experiments” only, add the topic at the end: “at-home experiments to teach erosion.”
Use cooking as a fun way to teach measurements, chemical reactions (like we did in the Prisma theme Food Lab), and even history by cooking dishes from different cultures (like we did in the Prisma theme United Nations). Or, simply to teach a useful life skill! Tons of kid-friendly recipes can be found on Pinterest, or, try following a video tutorial. This is a popular cookbook for kids available on Amazon.
Choose a book and read aloud together. Don’t think this is just for younger children! Discuss the plot, characters, and themes. With older kids, we find the best books to read aloud are ones that are told from the perspectives of multiple characters. Each reader can choose a character, and always read when the story switches to that character’s perspective. You might also try reading plays out loud, each taking on a character.
Start a story chain where one person begins a story, and each person adds on, or try writing poems or short stories. Prisma learners have loved writing prompts like: write a poem about what you can see in your backyard, write “fan faction” about a favorite story or character, or write a critical review of a new video game. Find more ideas in our guide to writing prompts for middle schoolers.
Use recyclables or household items to create art. For instance, create a collage of cut-out magazine pictures that represent a specific theme or topic. Or, try an “Upcycling” project like Prisma learners did in our Remix theme. They redesigned an old, broken, or no longer used object into an item with a totally new purpose. We also love using the Instructables website for easy-to-follow crafts and design projects.
Tackle a challenging jigsaw puzzle. This helps with concentration, patience, and spatial reasoning. Or, play educational board games that foster learning, like Scrabble (spelling), Wingspan (biology), or Oceans (ecosystems). You can also have your learner design their own board games! Here’s a guide from PBS.
Create an escape room challenge with educational puzzles and clues. This can be tailored to what your children are learning. Here’s a more detailed guide to pulling this off!
Research a historical event and reenact it. This can be as simple as a conversation between historical figures or as complex as a mini-play. In our Hidden Histories theme, learners researched either the American Revolution, Civil War, or Great Depression, and then either wrote a play, made a portrait gallery, or designed a new monument to represent a lesser-known story from that era.
Use blankets and furniture to build a reading or activity fort, then learn inside it. Everything is more fun in a fort! Or, use Lego, clay, or other building tools to build creations based on what you are learning. Prisma learners have designed their own cities & buildings as part of our Cities of the Future theme. Check out the PBS Design Squad website for some of our favorite building prompts.
This traditional Japanese art of paper folding can teach geometry, precision, and patience. Here are some great guides to learning origami with homeschool students at home.
Watch educational documentaries on topics of interest. Discuss and analyze afterward. Many documentaries have educational materials available online to use to help guide your discussion. Common Sense Media is a great resource for finding lists of high quality documentaries that are appropriate for your children’s ages.
Learn about constellations and planets. If you have a telescope, set it up, or use apps to stargaze from inside. Apps like Star Walk Kids can also let you know when there might be exciting celestial events like eclipses to plan your curriculum around.
Getting outside and learning about plants is great for science, physical education, and mental health! Try this Garden Scavenger Hunt free printable from Homeschool of 1, or try doing science experiments involving plants. In our Food Lab theme, learners experimented with corn seeds, seeing how many sprouted using various germination techniques and placements.
Most homeschooling families strive for a balance in the homeschool day between old-fashioned pen and paper curriculum, online activities, and outdoor, hands-on education. Although they happen on a screen, online learning experiences can be incredibly interactive, personalized, and enriching.
Since Prisma is an online school, we’ve become experts in the best fun activities available online. Here’s a small taste of what Prisma learners have loved doing most:
By integrating these community-based activities into your homeschooling curriculum, learners can have a holistic education, combining academic learning with real-world experiences and essential social skills:
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"Carolyn is a miracle worker in math. Piper's attitude towards math has improved so much this year. It's never been her favorite subject but Carolyn's patience and encouragement has made such a positive impact." -Alexia A., Prisma parent
Media literacy is touted as one of the most important “21st century skills” for kids to master, in line with creativity, communication, and grit. Thinking through the amount of time most of us spend interacting with some form of media each day makes a good case for this.
“Lauren is fantastic and has struck a nice balance of connecting with Cooper and keeping him on task. I'm impressed to see real growth in Cooper around self awareness, reflecting on his “glows and grows,” and goal setting.” -Kym J., Prisma parent
“I've seen growth in my kids, and most importantly a solid relationship between them and their coaches. We feel so grateful for these amazing humans that have entered our kids' lives. My kids' words exactly: ‘These teachers actually want to be here. They really care!’ ” -Katie M., Parent in Kimberly’s Cohort
By introducing these concepts at home, you're setting your child up to be more financially responsible and savvy, giving them the tools to navigate an increasingly complex financial world.
“I’m so happy to have an opportunity to call out Javi. As a math educator myself I am really impressed with how he presents math concepts, differentiates for and challenges learners as needed. From a social-emotional perspective he is so kind, patient and invested in the kids as a whole. I am so happy he is Brynn’s math coach.” -Chandra S., Prisma parent
The ability to tolerate frustration is not merely about weathering the storm of the moment, but about instilling the persistence, adaptability, and resilience that set your child up for future success.
“We are eternally grateful for Prisma and the wonderful people who work there - especially the coaches - whose patience and expertise make our kids feel seen and heard and loved while also coaching them to learn knowledge and skills.” -Ashley S., Parent in Angie’s cohort
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“Kristi sent Madeline a little note saying how much she likes seeing Madeline everyday, and Madeline grinned from ear to ear. Certainly a nice reminder of how different the relationship has been between coach and student compared to what we saw in public school.” -Pamela D., Prisma Parent
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“Despite Levi’s frustrations with science in the past, he had the most ambitious projects for Anne’s class. I love that she was able to inspire him!” -Joy J., Prisma parent
“Cindy is AMAZING! I’m so blown away by her accommodations, reprioritizing Parker’s to do lists, and always providing tons of encouragement. I’m knocked off my socks everytime I overhear her doing anything, really.” -Priscilla W., Prisma Parent
The first big surprise for me was the amazing team I would get to help me. I didn’t feel so alone when it came to supporting my kids' academic education.
“Natalie is so amazing and Karl has become very close with her. This year has seen Karl expand in his learning very much." -Anna H., Prisma parent
“Gwyn has been so wonderful to Jack. She is so relatable and authentic and really kind. She immediately bonded with him, and has really given him the freedom to be creative and take risks. She has made education and the whole "school experience" a safe place for him. With her support and encouragement, she has really made him thrive.” -Wren W., Prisma parent
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