We're trying out a different sort of post on the blog today. We've all entered a new world over here at Maple and Thyme. No longer am I only worried about what to make for dinner. Now, I also have to figure out what to do with the kids while they are home all day and we have to work. This mostly means keeping up with their Zoom calls and school work while balancing the laundry, three meals a day for everyone in the house and cleaning the toilets. All of this, on top of our own work obligations.
These circumstances could cause anyone to become a little unraveled. I'm a teacher. I love my boys. But homeschooling while trying to balance my own work obligations AND run a blog and granola business is no small undertaking. I needed some solid homeschool resources in order to maintain some level of sanity for myself.
In this post I'm sharing 7 of our favorite products and subscription services for surviving this work from home while homeschooling craziness. Each product has a brief description of why we love it, followed by links for signing up or purchasing, and finally, the pricing information. All of these activities, projects, experiments and services are completely saving our days (and making us all happy too)! Most of these products and services are kid related - but I added one or two in there just to keep mama happy!
You can also take a peek into our homeschool space and see where all of our craziness takes place! This post contains affiliate links.
How to Survive Work and Homeschooling: 7 Products and Services That Will Keep the Kids Happy and the Parents Sane
Why We Love TinkerActive Science Workbooks:
These science workbooks are just awesome! The kids never complain about working in them. The topics are engaging and exciting for young learners. The best part...after you learn about a new concept, there are both opportunities for doing hands-on science experiments and for "tinkering" with a bunch of different materials. For the tinkering, the parents fill a cookie sheet with random things like toilet paper rolls and cotton balls and the kids spend hours making creations from these materials. My boys love these. The only downside is that 2nd grade seems to be the highest grade level they go up to. We did get our 3rd grader the 2nd grade workbook and he loves it. TinkerActive also makes math and English workbooks which we haven't checked out yet.
$7.49 - $9.99 on Amazon
Why We Love Kiwi Crate:
Kiwi Crate has a range of product lines for every age and interest. We are currently subscribed to Tinker Crate for Nate, my 9 year old and Doodle Crate for John, my 7 year old. Nate loves to make things, solve problems and learn about anything that has to do with science or engineering, Tinker Crate is perfect for him. John would draw and create all day long so he loves Doodle Crate. So far they have made a spin art machine, sewn a leather portfolio for a sketch book and made embossed paper lanterns. Each projects requires some adult support, but once the project is made, it can continue to provide hours of entertainment. I have to say that the spin art machine was the most popular project and both boys made spin art work for days
Monthly Subscriptions start at $19.95 but the price goes down if you commit to more than a month at a time. You can save $10.00 if you click here. We started with a 3 month subscription at the beginning of March and will likely continue indefinitely.
What They Offer:
This is a subscription more for me than the kids. An audible subscription allows me to "read" a book while I'm packing granola orders, washing the dishes, folding the laundry or vacuuming. They offer books for younger readers as well. Audible gives me at least 30 minutes each afternoon where the kids are snuggled up with the dog listening to a story from Jack Gantos or Rick Riordan. Audible is currently offering a free version for kids which you can listen to here. There is a large variety of books for kids to listen to. For adult books, you will need an Audible subscription - the details are below.
First 30 days are free - after that Audible costs $14.95/month for two credits (books), you also save 30% on any additional purchases you make. You get to keep the books you purchase forever so if you find you haven't used up a credit, you can easily buy a book and have it waiting for you in your library. You can sign up for Audible here.
Why We Love the Kindle Fires and Free Time Unlimited:
Tons of free content. Popular book titles, audio books, movies and shows and video games of course. If you don't have a Kindle for your kiddos, Amazon has some great deals. Each new Kindle Fire comes with a year of FreeTime Unlimited. If you have a Kindle, and your FreeTime Unlimited has expired, you can renew it here.
Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition: $129.99/comes with a year of FreeTime Unlimited
For FreeTime Unlimited: $4.99/month if not a Prime Member - $2.99/month for Prime Members
Why We Love Adapted Mind:
Engaging games, videos and topics that keep the most reluctant learners engaged. Kids sign in, choose their content area and learn a ton!! The kids love all of the interesting videos - they feel like it isn't "learning" Each day, my boys are exposed to new topics or things they don't typically gravitate towards. AdaptedMind is interactive, fun and they truly learn a lot using this service. They don't have an app so this is a web based program that the kids login to and use independently. The nice part for parents, we get an email letting us know which skills each of our kiddos worked on each day.
Why We Love America's Test Kitchen Kids
When I asked the boys what they like about Young Chef's Club they told me that this subscription "tastes really good" - this was a day after they made their own fruit flavored simple syrups that they used to spice up their plain seltzer water. ATK Kids Young Chef's Club has a different "theme" for each month. When the new box ships, you get an email notification and shopping list. This way you can be prepared with ingredients when the kit arrives. I usually print this list out and place my Instacart order.
A box arrives with recipe cards, a shopping list, and lessons that teach specific kitchen skills such as how to zest citrus or how to use a liquid measuring cup. There's always a little fun gift for the kids too. Possibly the best part of this subscription, is the access to the online data base of kitchen projects, recipes, videos, and interactive learning ideas for kids the kitchen. We have a new box on the way and it's all about the colors of foods and cooking with a variety of colors.
And finally - because moms have been working so hard to balance work with homeschooling and everything else around the house, a little something for us...
What They Offer:
I've been using Stitch Fix for years and always love the items that I receive. Recently, I asked for a "work from home" delivery and was so psyched when it arrived. I received a box of cozy tops, a beautiful dress, a pair of black leggings and the cutest open back t-shirt. Getting up each day, taking a shower, and putting on a cute outfit and some mascara totally sets me up for a productive and positive day at home. Each "fix" comes with 5 items. You try everything on at home and keep only what you love. They have recently added the ability to switch a size if you love something but it's not a perfect fit. You can also order your favorite items in other colors. I've signed both boys up for StitchFix Kids and they alway love when a box of goodies arrives for them!
There's a $20 styling fee which goes towards the cost of an item if you decide to keep anything. In general. my items range from $30 for a top or necklace up to $90 for a really nice dress or pair of jeans. I choose "the cheaper the better" for everything other than jeans and always love what I get. You can save $25 on your first Fix by clicking here.
I hope that you are doing well and hanging in there. I know I'm dreaming of sunny days without Zoom calls...maybe on a tropical beach somewhere. Maybe sipping a Spicy Pineapple Citrus Margarita...