Home Alone with Kids by Jennifer Smeltser


January brings continued cold weather in Tennessee and the only thing many of us want to do is just stay home. That may seem like a good idea, and I am sure it is, unless that leaves you with a house full of stir-crazy children. Although you may be tempted to send them outdoors to play, your mom instincts will probably set in reminding you of the frigid temperatures. So, what do you do?
Cooking is probably the last thing on your mind. Kids in the kitchen can become a very messy situation. Believe it or not, it is a sure way to engage your children (regardless of their age) in an experience they will enjoy. Your choice of creation does not have to be a full course meal, but instead can be a fun food project. Depending on the number of children you have, allow each one to choose a cookie flavor and let them bake a batch. Another idea is to let them bake a gingerbread house and decorate it. Yes, I know Christmas has passed, but the yummy taste of gingerbread and houses covered in candy is a year-round treat for children.
School may already be in session, but take a break for one day and enjoy a themed movie day.  The Star Wars saga is a favorite in our home. I grin and bear it, because my children love all of the movies. What movie series do your children enjoy? Ask them! If nothing comes to mind, have your movie day focus on a theme or pick a favorite actor and watch all of their movies. Put on your comfortable clothes or keep your pajamas on after waking up in the morning, make some popcorn and settle in for a day of movie entertainment. Something else to make the movie day more fun and yummy is to prepare some sweet treats (veggies too) and other munchies to eat and enjoy. Plan to have enough food to keep stomach full, so there will be no need to pause the film for you to cook.
Homeschooling is all about learning, so keep that rhythm going. Life skills never get old. In fact, those skills will carry with your children far into adulthood. You can conduct an all-day “seminar” for your children at home. Do an overview of some life skills like cleaning (ex: washing down furniture, wiping off doorknobs and light switches, etc.), doing the laundry or washing windows. Some other ideas are teaching individual skills from how to sew on a button to the proper way to floss and brush their teeth.
If you have book readers, allow your children to read whatever they have an interest in, all day long. If reading is not preferred, there are a number of books on tape or CDs they may listen to and enjoy. For those of you who have children that need more than just someone reading a book consider audio drama adventures. You may have seen old time pictures of young children listening to radio adventures in days gone. The children appeared to be silent and intensely engaged in whatever radio drama that was playing. You may be surprised to see the same expressions from your children when they listen to an audio drama. Although many older radio dramas are still entertaining, in recent years, newer audio dramas have been produced using improved technology as well as seasoned actors.
Audio Dramas
Although it is fun and can sometimes be a relief to get outside and away from home, there are so many ways you may enjoy your children while being “trapped” indoors with them.

Jennifer Smeltser writes for HomeLife Academy. HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. For more of Jennifer's articles, visit the Homeschool Roster.

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