Even when life gets busy, school doesn’t have to suffer with these quick and easy 15-minute homeschool lessons. They’re perfect for busy days.
Written by Chelsea Gonzales of Wonder Wherever We Wander.
In a perfect world, we would all be on our A-game 24/7. We would always have fun ideas to keep our homeschools fresh and exciting. We would spend several hours a day engaged in active learning with our kids.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for most of us. Life gets busy. We get wrapped up in trying to survive each day, and sometimes homeschooling falls by the wayside for a bit.
When this happens, many homeschool parents are quick to assume they’re no good at this homeschooling thing. While it’s easy to feel that way, it just isn’t true. Believe it or not, your kids will keep learning even when you aren’t actively engaging them.
Still stressing? Take heart! There are some super-short, simple educational activities you can use to keep your learning momentum going.
Below are some of my favorite 15-minute lesson ideas for those super busy seasons when homeschooling time is precious, and 15 minutes here and there is all you can manage.
These quick lesson ideas also work well for kids with short attention spans and families who want to school through the summer but prefer a more relaxed, less time-consuming approach.
Short, Sweet Podcasts
Podcasts are hugely popular with my family. We spend a lot of time in the car, so having the option to listen to a podcast and learn on the go is awesome.
Some of the best super-short podcasts we’ve found include:
- Ear Snacks — Short episodes that focus on a specific topic and include talks between the hosts, clips from curious kids, and info from experts.
- Dream Big — An inspirational podcast that encourages kids to dream big and follow their dreams by interviewing professionals who love what they do.
- The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian — Story lovers will love this serial sci-fi story about Finn Caspian.
All three of these podcasts put out episodes at least semi-regularly, and most are right around 15 minutes.
Of course, we do have several other favorites, but they’re usually longer than 15 minutes. Still, you might want to give them a try if you find yourself making longer trips regularly.
Our favorites include:
Snappy Educational Videos
Videos are another great way to learn about the world around us. Thanks to the internet, we have quick and easy access to thousands of amazing educational videos.
The problem? There are so many that sorting through them be time-consuming and overwhelming.
This is where The Kid Should See This steps in. This excellent website curates YouTube content, especially for kids. Every single video they post is 100% kid-appropriate, and most of it is also educational. This makes sitting down to watch a quick 15-minute informative video with the kids a snap.
What could be easier?
Fast, Interesting Reads
We’re all well aware of the benefits of reading with our kids. However, finding the time to sit down and read long stories is not always possible. Fortunately, there are tons of books that concisely provide lots of information allowing you to squeeze in a lesson without investing lots of time.
Some short, but wonderfully educational book series options include:
You can also try reading novels together but limiting yourselves to one chapter at a time. Or leave beautiful non-fiction books (such as those from the DK Eyewitness series) for kids to read whenever they have a few minutes. We also like to keep these non-fiction books handy in the car for reading between stops.
Quick and Easy Art
Pinterest-worthy art projects might seem tempting, but when you’re drowning in day-to-day tasks, they simply aren’t feasible. Instead, focus on offering your kids creative opportunities by handing them age-appropriate art supplies and letting them go to town.
Even just 15 minutes of playing with clay or cutting out shapes can be highly educational for preschoolers or young elementary school-aged kids. Older kids can benefit from taking 10 or 15 minutes to draw something in the room, practice a specific technique, or paint their emotions.
Everyone loves a good science experiment, but the idea of pulling everything together and cleaning up afterward isn’t appealing during busy seasons. It’s tempting to skip experiments entirely. However, there are some super simple options out there that are manageable.
You can find some fantastic, easy science experiment ideas on the Coffee Cups and Crayons website. Of course, there’s also the option of purchasing a book such as The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book or The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments.
Are full-on experiments too much to deal with right now? Consider investing in some science toys so the kids can do their own experimental science learning.
Some of the best messless science toys include:
Fun Spelling Word Practice
When I was a homeschooled student, my mom would sometimes encourage us to practice our spelling by offering new ways of writing the words out. Sometimes we would write in sidewalk chalk or on a dry erase board. Other times she was brave enough to let us write in shaving cream.
Using different writing mediums is just one of many quick and easy ways to make spelling practice fun. And, a practice session doesn’t need to take more than 15 minutes.
Grab-and-Go Math Tools
Looking for ways to squeeze in some math? This doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might imagine. By keeping the following tools on hand, you can have your kids practice their math in quick intervals at home, in the car, or anywhere else you may find yourself sitting still for a few minutes.
- LEGO Bricks — Keep a baggie of LEGO bricks on hand. There are so many ways to homeschool with LEGO. You can use them for manipulatives to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, sorting, and patterns.
- Wrap-Ups — I adored math Wrap-Ups as a kid, and chances are your kids will like them too. These are great for practicing math facts and will make moving forward in math so much easier.
- Magnetic Tangrams — Tangrams are both fun and a great way to get a handle on some basic math and geometry. Avoid the mess of traditional tangrams and take your set with you wherever you go by investing in a magnetic version.
With these fun, easy 15-minute homeschool lessons, school doesn’t have to take a back seat when life gets crazy.
What are some of your favorite ways to squeeze in school when time is limited?