On Friday, I could hear the collective sigh of relief from parents across the country. We made it through our first week of home learning, a hand we were dealt as a result of Covid-19.
Our new reality consists of parents sitting at their dining room tables, juggling their careers, working from home, while their little ones sit next to them, asking for help and guidance with their school work. My sister-in-law shared a story about bouncing her infant on her lap, while on a video conference, as her toddler was asking her questions about Batman.
THIS. IS. NOT. EASY. PEOPLE!
There’s no way to fully replicate the classroom. And so we can start by giving ourselves a break, and our kids, too. We can be flexible and kind to ourselves and our kids. We can send our teacher’s letters of thanks and encouragement. We can remember that this is just a blip in time of our children’s long and wonderful academic career.
Maybe your child received a work packet (either on paper or online) and instructions for completing coursework and maybe they are totally independent and fantastic at stretching it out to last a whole school day. If so, that’s awesome. Well done and carry on.
But in case you or your child needs a little supplement, there are many resources online to augment what your kid received from school. And, major bonus, these resources can be used to keep your kid busy in a productive way when you need a break or have work to do.
So let the learning begin! Here are some great resources to get you started. Some of these are free and some require subscriptions. Be sure to check with your child’s school because many schools already have shareable accounts. This list is teacher-vetted and Common Sense Media-approved!
Khan Academy: Excellent free tutorials for all ages in math, science, computing, humanities and more. They have courses from preschool math all the way to AP Calculus.
Out School: This site is fantastic. First of all, the classes are with a live teacher and other online learners. They get to interact with the teacher and students from across the country. And the range of classes is amazing. They have everything from a history lesson on Frida Kahlo to Leprechaun Fractions to Guitar Lessons. This site is pay by class.
Brain Pop & Brain Pop Jr.: This multi-subject website features a small video lesson followed by a multitude of activities to enhance understanding.
Freckle: A platform for math, ELA, science and social studies. This program allows for differentiation so your student will work at their level. My kids have a Freckle account through their school, so check with your district to see if your kid has access!
Language Arts Websites
Libby: Your library is the best resource for checking out online books. They have audiobooks too, for when you are just too wiped out to read a bedtime story! And it’s a great way to support your local library.
Epic: An amazing digital library for kids 12 and under. They have popular books, book in English and Spanish and even some fun videos. Check with your child’s teacher, as they may have an account for the class.
Learning Ally: This audio-book site is a fantastic resource for struggling readers. Perfect for kids with dyslexia or other learning differences that can make reading a challenge.
Prodigy Game: This program is loved by students across the country. Through exciting math battles, students work their way up to new levels. I seriously have to peel my daughter away from the computer with this one.
Xtra Math: This math facts website is designed to help students develop automaticity with their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Parents can receive reports on their child’s progress.
Mystery Science: Kids can log in to this great website to watch short science videos. Parents have the option to extend the lessons with provided activities. Lessons come with experiment ideas, a list of materials needed and more.
Hike Find Draw: A hiker takes you along with him as he photographs what he finds. He then chooses a photograph and teaches his audience how to sketch what he has found on his hike.
Mo Willems Lunch Doodle: Who doesn’t love Mo Willems, The Pigeon, Elephant and Piggy and all of Mo’s other great characters??? Tune in for lunch doodle with Mo, a calming way to spend some time unwinding.
Current Events Websites
Xyza News! This is a fabulous news organization run by two Bay Area moms that recognized the need for quality news for kids. It is subscription-based and children can receive monthly online or print news. Enter the code: learn2020 for a 10% discount while your kids are out of school. They also just launched Newsicle, which is a daily trivia program based on current events.
Try a Podcast
Wow In The World: This podcast is a science-based exploration of the world on every topic you can think of from dyslexia to allergies to black holes and stink bugs. It’s 100% kid-oriented. Plug the earbuds in and let them absorb on their own, or listen as a family during meal prep. Your kids will love it!
Brains On! Another fantastic science podcast! Topics cover everything from dust to mermaids to coronavirus and more.
The Past & The Curious: This fascinating podcast is a collection of engaging historic stories. They believe history is amazing, and I have to agree.
Brain Child: This Netflix Original show is so engaging, educational, fun and interactive, it’s perfect for both parents and kids. It’s science-based and shares some really thought-provoking concepts.
Adult, High School and College-Aged Learning:
Udacity.com: Udacity offers high-quality courses on everything from Intro to Coding to AI. They have vast array of technical courses and nanodegrees for those looking to learn something new or upscale their careers and land their next dream job.
Master Class: This online speaker series is a great adult learning resource. From cooking with Thomas Keller to photography with Annie Leibovitz, this site finds experts in any given field and they become your online teacher.
Ted Talks: Ted Talks are a fantastic collection of short videos with experts sharing their knowledge in anything and everything in approachable, engaging ways.
HAPPY LEARNING!!!!!! And hang in there. We will get through this. Promise.
Lisa Mudd is a twin mom and former teacher. She taught 1st and 2nd grade for 10 years and now runs Mudd House Interiors, an interior design firm based in California. Follow her on Instagram!
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash