Even if you don't homeschool, what would happen if you were confined with your school-age children while the bird-flu rages in your town. Three, four, five months, and your kids (and their classmates) will be so far behind that most will be repeating a grade. Nothing your kids did. Just lack of time in a classroom.
So get a jump:
Get a few simple musical instruments, like a recorder (flute), drum, keyboard, guitar, etc. Try to dollar store, thrift stores, yard sales. Remember to get some music instruction books and sheet music. Teach the family basic music and a few simple songs.
Gather reference materials (several suggested below). They don't have to be new or even current. Pick a topic a day, and research/discuss it completely. Have the older kids write a report.
- Get a set of encyclopedias.
- We just got the "Big Book of Everything", 2005 edition. It has sections on "Universe", "Planet Earth", "Life on Earth", "People", "Countries", "History", "Science & Technology", and "Arts & Culture". It's got lots of little facts about almost everything, from space landings to the longest bridge to communism, etc.
- Get a big dictionary, thesaurus, language dictionaries.
Play scrabble, requesting increasingly harder words.
Stock up on a variety of workbooks, miscellaneous grades, miscellaneous topics (language arts, spelling, math, science, history, writing practicing, etc.
Visit your thrift stores, used book stores, and garage sales. Grab every classic novel and reference book you can find. Assign one book a week - Wuthering Heights, Little House on the Prairie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc.
Involve the whole family in menu planning and cooking. Discuss nutrition, balanced meals, sodium, nutrition requirements, colors, variety, presentation of food, energy-efficient cooking methods, etc.
Fill a couple boxes with art supplies: construction paper, magazines, stickers, glue sticks, glitter, scissors (safety and regular), glue, art instruction books, crayons, paint markers, etc. Make collages, paper mache', paintings, pictures, etc.
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You can keep the kids and yourself entertained, while keeping minds occupied. Make it fun.