If you’re like many parents we’ve spoken to in the past several weeks since schools closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the reality of schooling at home is just starting to set in. Schools and workplaces closed so suddenly, that for the first few weeks most families were just scrambling to adapt – whatever that meant. Kids have been spending countless hours on video games, TV, and iPads just so parents can get some work done and put an end to complaints of boredom and missing friends.
Now that we’re coming to the end of Spring Break and starting to see how each school and teacher adopts distance learning, it’s becoming clear for parents that you cannot just stand aside and leave schools in charge of your children’s learning through the end of the school year. Being home with your children 24-7 means that, as parents, you’re seeing a big need to supplement their school’s online learning program, whether just to keep academic skills sharp or to ensure your kids are occupied with meaningful activities in their “after-school” hours.
Schooling at Home is the “New Normal” – Now What?
We know you have more than enough on your plates right now. As a parent, you want to support your child’s education, but that is a tall order when you’ve suddenly assumed a more hands-on role in their day-to-day studies, on top of the other work and household tasks you’re managing. If you have never had to consider where and how to acquire at-home learning resources, it can feel stressful, even overwhelming!
Fortunately, you can now find an abundance of homeschool resources on the internet, including some that are completely free. And now we’ve done the work to compile a collection of easy-access online resources that you can use to supplement your school’s distance learning program, engage your child in enrichment activities, or just get some work done. These are ten of our favorites.
Free Homeschool Resources
- Khan Academy – This nonprofit has been providing free, high-quality online education since 2008. When it comes to homeschool resources, free or paid, Khan Academy is by far one of the most comprehensive. You’ll find content organized by grade level and subject, including Advanced Placement, test prep, and even college and career planning.
- Smithsonian Learning Lab – Texts, images, audio, and video from the Smithsonian Learning Lab make a terrific addition to any homeschool curriculum. In addition to ready-made collections of resources centered around a particular topic – including comic books, space exploration, urban planning, and more – children can create a free account and build their own collections. It’s a great place to support project based learning around student’s interests at home.
- Scholastic Learn at Home – No collection of free home learning resources would be complete without Scholastic’s Learn at Home site. You’ll find daily activities and projects for pre-K through 9th grade, as well as resources for parents and tips for getting the most out of the site’s offerings.
- Virtual Field Trips – Explore the world while you’re stuck at home! Adventures in Familyhood has compiled a list of virtual field trips you can take with your kids so you can explore the world without leaving your home. You and your children can visit museums, art galleries, zoos, and aquariums and complete interactive learning activities together along the way.
- Club SciKidz – If you’re looking for homeschool science tools, check out the blog of science summer camp SciKidz. Their posts provide fun, simple science activities kids can do at home, often with materials you already have or can come by easily. This is a great resource to add hands-on learning activities to your child’s home learning program.
- Code.org – There’s no denying that the internet plays a significant role in all of our lives. On Code.org, children can learn web development skills, how to stay safe and secure online, and how to be a good online citizen.
Paid Homeschool Resources
- Newsela – While usually a paid resource, Newsela is currently providing access to their entire content suite for free for the rest of the 2019/2020 school year. Children will get access to curated content from over 100 sources including news outlets, The History Channel, National Geographic, Exploratorium, and more.
- Teachers Pay Teachers – TpT was founded by a New York City public school educator who realized that students benefit immensely when teachers share ideas. You can find a plethora of home learning resources including homeschool planners, lesson plans, worksheets, tests, and more. You can even download and print your own homeschool lesson planner, no waiting for shipping required.
- Flocabulary – This unique program teaches through a combination of music videos, writing exercises, interactive games, and quizzes. The program is mainly focused on material for grades K-8 and includes vocabulary/language arts, math, science, social studies, life skills, and current events. Flocabulary offers a free trial so your child can try it before you decide. For any child who has difficulty with reading, building reading vocabulary is an amazing tool to support reading fluency development!
- Udemy – You may have heard of Udemy in the context of professional development courses, but they actually offer courses across a wide variety of subject areas. High school students can dive deeper into subjects they’re interested in, including photography, game development, fashion design, economics, neuroscience, music, and more.
Best Homeschool Curriculum
If your child’s school has opted out of distance learning or you’ve simply decided to make a full switch to more formal homeschooling, you may find yourself looking for more comprehensive curriculum resources for homeschooling. When it comes to finding the best homeschool curriculum for your family, we suggest drawing from a variety of sources.
You will find that there are many options for each subject, and the material is presented in different ways. For example, Prentice Hall, Saxon, and Singapore are all popular homeschool math curricula options. Prentice Hall takes a more traditional textbook-and-workbook approach, while Saxon incorporates hands-on learning, and Singapore blends traditional with non-traditional methodologies and is widely considered to be a better fit for more advanced or mathematically-inclined students.
Similar differences exist among homeschool science curriculum options, homeschool history curriculum options, homeschool reading curriculum options, etc. Therefore, when searching for the best fit homeschool curriculum for your child, be sure to research options thoroughly and read reviews by other families to get a feel for what will suit your child’s learning style and educational needs. If you’re a current client at La Jolla LearningWorks, reach out to us and our instructional team can help you figure out the best homeschool curriculum choices for your child.
Making the Most of Our Shelter in Place “Homeschooling”
While you may have never imagined having to oversee your child’s education from home – certainly not under the present circumstances – sheltering in place provides an unprecedented opportunity to personalize your child’s education to fit their interests and learning styles. We know it requires time in planning and overseeing your child’s education, but there is great potential to instill a deeper love of learning in your child and help them develop new skills and interests they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore in a regular classroom setting.
If you’re overwhelmed with everything already on your plate and overseeing your child even with this handy list of resources still feels out of reach, La Jolla LearningWorks offers personalized one-to-one academic coaching online. We will identify specific learning goals based on your child’s educational background and current needs and customize a virtual learning program that we deliver in live, virtual sessions with one of our amazing instructors. Connect with us to discuss how we can support your child and help them make the most of learning from home.
Want more? Download our parents guide for tips and tools to keep your child engaged in
meaningful learning while schools are closed!