A few years ago there was a question posted on the Homeschool Share forum about preparing our homeschools for times of emergency. While there are many forums that discuss preparations such as stocking up on food, off grid living, and doomsday type scenarios, our discussion was specific to homeschooling our children. In light of the events now current, including history making storms, meteorites falling to earth, unprecedented volcanic action, rolling blackouts, skyrocketing prices, and other “signs of the times”, I thought it would be good to revisit this question.
If the stores closed down, if you needed a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a head of cabbage, if the power went out with no signs of coming back, if…if..if…;-) you get the idea… what would you consider the most important items to have in your Homeschool Stockpile?
While nobody knows what the future holds, and we aren’t supposed to obsess about what “may” happen, a loosely based plan of action will help keep the chaos to a minimum in times of trouble. A short term emergency, such as the week we were out of power during Sandy, can just be ridden out. Had the power been off indefinitely, we would have changed gears and established a new routine. Homeschooling, especially in crazy times, takes some thinking outside the box. This thinking is much easier done now, while you aren’t tired, hungry, cold, or stressed. My “Plan” looks something like this:
- Rise and retire with the sun, to get the most out of natural daylight.
- Keep children in their familiar texts until we find some order in the chaos.
- Children, as assets to our homestead, will work right along side mom and dad, and will gain much of their “schooling” through that.
- Math will be learned through planning and spacing the garden, cooking, baking, sewing, building, keeping records of livestock births/weights/production, etc.
- Children will get all the biology they need through gardening, wild food identification and preparation, herbal preps, and animal upkeep. Chemistry will be learned through cooking, baking, food preservation, soap making. Physics will be learned through tending to our alternative power source, water distillation, etc.
- For Language Arts, children will be encouraged to keep personal journals/diaries.
- As for History, they will be living it. They can read (or be read aloud to) all about the histories of the past, and make their own connections to what they are seeing/doing. History always repeats itself, so teaching about the Middle Ages, or the Depression, or the bondage of the Israelites, or any other period, will all give the students a glimpse of what they are living or how they got there.
I think most homeschoolers already have a stash of extra supplies, usually bought in bulk during back to school sales. When thinking in long term, some of these items may not hold up to the test of time. Glue sticks and markers dry out. Paper yellows or gets brittle. Paints separate. The following is a list of items that HSS members have as their long term emergency “must haves”.
- Paper and lots of it. Cheapy spiral notebooks, as well as marble composition books, loose leaf paper, construction paper, rolls of newsprint, etc. Lots of paper. What becomes unusable for school work gets used in the wood stove.
- Pencils and lots of them. And a good, old-school manual pencil sharpener like they used to have in schools.
- Crayons. They last forever (well almost) and coloring pictures has actually been found to be therapeutic, even for adults!
- Erasers of all kinds. The pencil tip erasers always wear down before the lead, so load up.
- A Solar Power Battery Charger for laptops. This might seem like an unnecessary luxury in a time of emergency, but will allow schoolwork to be done paperless, especially if using the monitor as a dry erase format. If there is still internet available, it will also serve as your news source, and can be used to read e-books.
- Clear plastic page protectors so worksheets can be reused over and over.
- Vis-a-Vis wet erase markers (dry erase wipe off too easy). School work can then be done on windows, laptop monitors, and page protectors. These hold up a lot better than cheapy dry erase markers, too. I’ve used Vis-à-vis markers that were over a decade old and still plenty wet.
- Solar Powered Rechargeable LED Book Light for each member of the family.
- Homeschool Survival Recipes to make my own supplies, such as glue, play dough, finger-paint, etc.