With so many schools — across all grade-levels — planning to start the new academic year with distance learning, parents everywhere are scrambling for resources. It doesn’t matter really whether your child’s just starting kindergarten or going back to college — at home — we’re all trying to figure out this unwieldy mess that is school right now.
The good news? There’s an abundance of free — or low cost – online resource to ease feeling so stressed-out and overwhelmed. Here are several links, and we’ll keep adding them here too!
A great place to start is with WideOpenSchool-dot-org. It’s a fairly new resource out of Bay Area based Common-Sense Media that features a free collection of learning experiences and activities for students organized by grade and subject.
When you click on the “We’re a family” tab — you’ll see two options: Preschool though Grade 5 and Grades 6-12. Click on one of those and there’s help with everything from “how to get ready to go back to school — even at home,” to help with daily schedules, organization, mental health, brain breaks, physical activity — and even how to work best with the tools your school’s provide.
What I like most about this site is that in addition to listing sites like the well known education video tutorial sites Kahn Academy and Outschool — it gives the “whole student/whole family perspective” and speaks to the parents who tell me they feel alone right now — that they have to be the teacher, nurse, P.E. teacher, lunch lady, playmate, and Mom — all while working full time jobs themselves.
More all-around repositories of online resources:
A site called education-reimagined.org has a carefully curated distance learning resource center that’s another is a great place to start. Administrators update the site often and it’s broken down into these specific sections — each with dozens of links to various sites.
Between WideOpenSchools and this site, there’s pretty much everything you could ever want or need linked up — but that’s both a blessing and curse. It’s pretty overwhelming and time consuming to look through each category, then follow the link to the site, register and set up accounts (if it requires you to) and then see if they’re actually the right fit.
To save you time, here are my favorite resources overall from Education-Reimagined’s full list – in no particular order:
Other playful and interactive educational platform go-to’s include:
Duolingo for learning a foreign language
The Brain Quest workbooks by grade level offer abundant activities aligned with state curriculum standards so your child can stay on track with daily learning.
NoRedInk — which is a free, online writing curriculum with a paid premium option that provides writing and grammar lessons for middle schoolers and above.
For students interested in going deeper into subjects from artificial intelligence to film studies, Crash Course and Crash Course Kids offer a wide range of free videos for learners looking to supplement their studies.
Learn to Be – free tutoring from knowledgeable tutors, all online.
- Supporting Mental Health During COVID-19 (Move This World) helps young people and educators understand, express, and manage their emotions healthily in order to create safe and supportive environments where effective teaching and learning can occur.
For even younger kids —
The But Why? Podcast from Vermont Public Radio is an excellent resource and an enjoyable listen for both parents and kids.
Sparkle Stories also offers a wonderful collection of original audio stories for young children.
And to help with brain breaks: experts say to Have your kid get up and move every 15 to 20 minutes.