As I write this, I am personally on Day Two of our Temporary-But-We-Don’t-Know How Temporary school closure. Those of you in the same boat know that the phrase “the days are long” has taken on a whole new meaning. These days have to be filled with something, and ideally, at least part of that something would be academic.
If you’ve set up a daytime academic schedule for your kids while they’re home, many of these resources will fit nicely into their day—and will give them a little variety in a time when we’re all craving more variety.
If your kids have access to technology and your school isn’t being specific about what, if anything, they want the kids to be learning, you can keep their brains working on a variety of different educational websites and apps. These are either already free or they’re being offered for free right now because of the school closures.
Scholastic’s “Learn at Home” website
Scholastic has launched Learn at Home to provide daily learning opportunities for four grade ranges: pre-K-K; grades 1-2; grades 3-5; and grades 6-9+. The company says the program provides about three hours of learning opportunities per day for up to four weeks worth of instruction.
Lessons include, “writing and research projects based on nonfiction articles and stories, virtual field trips, reading and geography challenges, access to our new digital community for kids Scholastic Home Base, and more.”
Varsity Tutor’s “Virtual School Day”
Each student in grades K-12 can receive 20 hours per week of free, live, online instruction on a variety of subjects and topics.
Science Mum’s daily “QuaranTime” live stream
On Tuesday to Saturday from 2 am to 4 am AEDT, “Science Mum” and “Maths Dad” are live streaming a show that features a science lesson, maths activities, interactive games and stories. You can watch each show on their YouTube channel or follow them on Facebook to get topics or writing prompts in advance.
SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s children’s literacy website streams videos featuring actors reading children’s books with beautiful, slightly animated illustrations. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons aimed at students in grades K-5.
Great websites for maths and reading games
Still want more academic websites and activity ideas? Check out this giant list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closures. And there’s this list of 30 virtual field trips.
To get them moving
Whatever schedule you’ve got your kids on these days, it’s going to be key to take some movement breaks throughout the day. That’s where GoNoodle comes in.
“Good Energy at Home” by GoNoodle
GoNoodle launched this page as a free resource while schools are closed. It includes movement and mindfulness videos, plus downloadable learning resources and ideas for off-screen activities for kids and their families to do at home.
The company also recently released this app for iOS (they say it’s coming to Android soon). The app currently offers four games, and each one requires movement, such as jumping, ducking and dodging, to play.
For the younger crowd
I see you out there, parents of toddlers. You are, in many cases, working from home, too. And your kids need less screen time, more help and more attention. There are some good resources out there for passing their hours in an educational way—and hopefully in a way that will free you up a bit to work:
The Brooklyn Public Library’s regular Virtual Story Time
Busy Toddler (creative and educational screen-free activities)
Days with Grey (creative and educational screen-free activities)
This list is far from exhaustive. There are a lot of quality websites, apps and other activity ideas being passed around right now—and loads of them are free.
Add to this list (and help each other out) by commenting below with any of your favourites that I didn’t mention here.