Whether you’re an old pro at homeschooling, or your kids ride the bus to public school, chances are you’re freaking out a little bit about all of the school closings and limits on public gatherings. As more facilities, aquariums, zoos, and museums announce short- and long-term hiatuses, the resources available to us feel like they’re dwindling. Luckily, that’s hardly the case!
Many learning programs and websites are offering free enrollments and materials as we all navigate this new role of educator. And if you’re worried about screen time limits going out the window, we also have tips to keep the kiddos busy without exposing them to unnecessary risks.
The list of cost-free accessible programs is overwhelming! It’s so overwhelming that what was once a Google Doc is now a website, and growing by the hour.
Amazing Educational Resources is amassing a complete list of free online tools for your little learners. Each site includes a full description and inventory of what you’ll find.
Resources begin with Circle Time Fun for 0-6 year olds and are as specific as CMU CS Academy, a computer science academy for high school students. You’ll find everything from worksheets, to clips from kids’ favorite shows, to videoconferencing software. Reporting and testing resources are available as well.
A few favorites include:
2Simple – Software for the primary school classroom, includes observation, assessments, and reporting.
ABC Mouse/Adventure Academy – ABC Mouse is very specifically designed for children ages 2-8 and offers a comprehensive curriculum. Adventure Academy picks up where ABC Mouse leaves off, supplying educational materials for 8-13 year olds.
ALBERT – Core academics for grades 5-12.
Backpack Sciences – Simplifies teaching science to elementary school students. Uses a Montessori approach. Stop being afraid to teach more difficult subjects at home!
Boardmaker – This is your comprehensive resource for special education.
BrainPOP – Comprehensive K-12 learning site with animated videos.
Breakout EDU – Is offering a selection of free, interactive games for K-12.
CheckMath – Math comprehension software with instant feedback.
CK12 – Interactive online textbooks for comprehensive homeschooling experience.
Classhook – Educational clips from kids’ favorite shows.
Conjuguemos – Teaching languages through fun games and activities.
Coursera for Campus – Delivering 3,800 college courses in 400 specializations.
Don’t forget about all of the online materials being offered by local and famous zoos and aquariums. Just because your spring break field trips have been curbed doesn’t mean you can’t connect with these venues.
So what about when you’ve all had enough screen time for the day? These tried and true classics won’t risk contagion:
- Visit a state park for a picnic and/or hike. State parks are typically large open spaces and are still open everyday.
- Visit a local botanical garden. Some have whimsical children’s gardens that they’ll enjoy all day.
- Google some easy science experiments. Get adventurous and allow a mess!
- Institute a family game night. Take the time to teach the kids how to count out money and follow directions properly.
- Get crafty. Ideas don’t have to be fancy; kids just love to create.
- Make sure you’re spending time outside. If you’re able to, plant some seeds or plants together and tend to them. Watching them grow is fascinating!
- Teach your kids games that you played as a child. We often made due with fewer toys and more creativity.
If you are struggling financially during this time, there are also resources available for basic needs. If your child was relying on school for breakfast and lunch, there are districts that will still supply these meals. New legislation is being pushed through SNAP that would increase compensation for healthy meals when schools are closed.
Above all else, be forgiving with each other and yourself during this time. Show compassion where you can. Our kids may drive us crazy, but it is our responsibility to protect and educate them. More so now than ever.
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