Although children may complain about getting up for school, they will miss the experience when it becomes no longer available. Once the most important preparedness aspects have been secured, long-term storage food, medical supplies, weapons and ammo, and homegrown food, attention can be turned to providing sustenance for the mind and some sense of normalcy for the children in the family or mutual assistance group.
Homeschooling families will definitely have a head start when preparing to run a classroom after a doomsday scenario occurs. Those folks who do not have an educational background or homeschool should find a local group to network and ask for tips for home education during a long-term disaster scenario. Homeschooling families are typically a very helpful group, and yes they will likely try to “convert” you, but it is unlikely that they will turn down an opportunity to help parents learn how to educate their children.
When there’s a crisis or disaster and you are anchored at your bugout or bugin location, your children’s education will become your sole responsibility. Many homesteading and prepper families have already opted to teach their children in a home classroom and will have at least some materials stockpiled for standard use.
Online homeschool opportunities thankfully abound, but access to the Internet will not be possible during a grid down scenario. Maintaining some sense of normalcy and making sure that children in a post-doomsday America can still read and possess the math skills necessary to tackle life-saving tasks, is important.
Morale boosters and school materials are definitely not at the top of the prepping list, but such items can make the spare time after chores enjoyable and productive at the same time. Hands-on technical learning will be a big part of any crisis classroom education process. Although little Susie might be good at helping Mommy measure sugar for cupcakes, she will need to learn how to read, follow package instructions, and garner basic math skills to understand fractions when cooking or helping with water disinfecting and filtration on her own.
After a doomsday scenario, little Suzie could become the “woman of the house” at a very young age, all tasks she helps with should be viewed as an apprenticeship. Educational worksheets and booklets can become quite costly when purchased at teacher resource stores. Cheaper educational activity books from discount stores are extremely similar to teacher store books, but can usually only be found for elementary children and do not offer educator instructions.
- All the standard paper, pens, crayons, school supplies – but in bulk. Once the materials you have stored are gone, you may not be able to replenish your supplies.
- Chalkboards, chalk, or chalkboard paint. The chalkboard paint comes in a variety of colors and can be applied to scrap wood or $1 metal baking sheets from Dollar Tree to be used for math and spelling practice.
- Manipulatives are extremely handy teaching aids when working with preschool through second grade children. The colorful visual aids help children with their counting, hand-eye-coordination, color recognition, and shape-sorting skills. You could spent rather a lot of money buying little plastic bear figures or shiny plastic stars from a teacher resource store – or go the economical route and make your own educational manipulatives. Craft stores like Hobby Lobby have all sorts or cute little wood and thick cardboard cutouts the children could paint themselves and be used as visual aids during math lessons.
- Reading books at all grade levels. Check yard sales and library book sales for cheap deals that will allow you to create a substantial library for the children. I recently purchased a set of adult encyclopedias and a child set for just $3 each at a library used book sale. When the power grid is down, children will no longer be able to use Google to research.
- Brown lunch sacks for “book report in a bag” activities. The homeschooling students put items in the bag that represent the story and give a verbal report on the book. Save your toilet and paper towel rolls and print of storybook puppet sheets from DLTK-Kids so the younger students can use them to give a book report or write their own stories and act the out.
- Child-sized gardening tools and work gloves so the little ones can learn about science as it relates to the growing and raising of food. The practical and agricultural science lessons can also incorporate lessons about the changing seasons, weather observation, and foraging for edible plants.
- Aprons the children can decorate as an art project. The clothing will make learning “cooking math” and safe food handling skills a bit more festive while helping prepare meals. The cooking, baking, freezing, thawing, and dehydrating processes also offer the opportunity to incorporate science lessons into kitchen chores.
- Index cards for use in making flash cards to teach math facts, vocabulary, colors, and shapes.
Homeschooling Resources & Printable Lessons
These homeschooling resource websites offer preschool through high school grade level lesson plans, activity sheets, and curriculum guidance. Many also provide links to additional resource materials and companion paperback books.
There is no fee or membership required to view or print any of the resources.
• Donna Young.org
• Compassion.com – Christian Homeschooling Resources
While budgeting for potentially life-saving staples and engaging in self-defense and survival training, don’t forget about the important role morale boosters play during a long-term natural or man-made emergency.
Board games, cards, candy, and flavored drink mixes are commonly purchased preparedness morale boosters. Advanced planning by the designated family or mutual assistance group “morale officer” allows for the organization of activities and storage of items that go far beyond the routine – and all on a shoestring budget. Finding ways to give children and teens a sense of normality should involve input from the youngsters themselves. Remember, the recovery time for a power grid failure could take a decade, so plan for babies that could be joining the group along the way as well.
Morale Boosters Ideas
- Seasonal Crafts – Holidays could cause morale to slip significantly if not planned for long in advance. Filling plastic tubs with items specific to each major holiday will delight not just the youngsters, but offer a brief escape from the new reality for everyone in the family or mutual assistance group. Craft supplies for children, teens, and elderly members of the group to make reusable decorations will keep hands and minds busy and offer a chance for storytelling, Bible reading, and singing while the art task is being completed. In the days following Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving, themed art kits are typically offered at 75 percent off, a great time to snag some foam art kits, ornament kits, egg decorating kits, and the like, for next to nothing. Pick some pine cones and store to add to the holiday decorations and ornament-making supply kit as well.
Hand-made accessories like the headbands the little ones are wearing will make delightful gifts during a long-term disaster.
- Gifts with a Purpose – Even the children will need to learn or enhance their skill sets to survive and thrive after a disaster scenario. A craft class geared to gift-making can teach such skills and provide lovingly hand-made useful items as well. Put together kits which teach leather-making, basket weaving, candle making, soap making, and macramé items. The youngsters and those who are physically unable to complete manual labor tasks can still be contributing members of the group and will take great pride in the items the produce. A little plastic loom which makes potholders is a great inexpensive kit to buy for young girls. A macramé plant holder would make an attractive herb or vegetable planter. The leather-making kit would make a multitude of gifts while teaching the user the skills necessary to repair or make a host of leather items which are needed around the homestead. Girls can also learn how to sew with a kit or a manual sewing machine which are often found at yard and estate sales. Grab clothes form yard sales to use for material for the beginning sewing projects. 250
- Movies – Start looking for DVD movies in big box store bargain bins and at yard sales. A movie night once a week for the adults and a separate viewing tie for children would be a welcome reprieve from chores. The frequency of movie watching would depend on the availability of power, of course, but would be the highlight of the week for many. A solar generator does not need store-bought fuel and can work even during cloudy and chilly weather, and definitely should be added to the top of the prepping essentials list.
- Special Events – Birthdays and holidays are always highly anticipated times of year, not just for children, but for loving moms who typically plan months in advance of the annual celebrations. The Dollar Tree and similar $1 outlets are great places to stock on up birthday plates, gift wrap, reusable decorations, and tablecloths. Don’t forget to grab some treat bags which can be re-used and dozen-for-a-dollar goodies to put inside the bags for other children. Watch for sales on toys (or clothes and jewelry for teens) in shopping circulars or at yard sales to buy gift items to store away until disaster strikes. Don’t forget to plan ahead for anniversaries as well.
If we were forced into an 1800s existence after a power grid failure, your children or grandchildren’s’ spirits will surely be lifted when you dig out the clearance rack Halloween costumes and boxes of Valentine’s Day party favors you scooped up for pennies on the dollar.• Snacks – A sweet treat or drink would also lift spirits for at least a few delightful minutes. Freeze some soda pop in ice cube trays and put them in your icehouse and store until either frowns abound or a special occasion. Long-term food storage manufacturers do include dessert items such as freeze-dried ice cream, cookies, and cake mixes. Bubble gum is cheap and has an amazingly long shelf life. Store cake in a jar or muffin in a jar recipes in Mason jars for tasty morale boosters in the future.
- Sports and Games – Organized activities planned around family or mutual assistance group gatherings also offer a break from mundane chores and responsibilities for all age groups. Plan now for such activities by purchasing cheap or used sports equipment and shirts and/or ball caps in similar colors the children can decorate and hand out for everyone to wear during the gatherings.
- Music – Relaxing to some live music played by your loved ones – when sound discipline is not a factor of course, can be a great morale booster for the entire family. Toy instruments for the little ones can be found at the Dollar Tree and tucked away for these special occasions, so they can join in as well. Purchase some music and song books or print lyrics to songs everyone enjoys in preparation for the family sing-a-longs – with or without a piano or guitar setting the beat.