Free School Resources During The Covid-19 Outbreak
Well, late afternoon yesterday I got that dreaded Coronavirus (Covid-19) call from my kids’ school. I had a feeling it was coming but I didn’t expect them to say schools were closed Monday. Most of my friends in New Jersey at least had a day to send the kiddos to school and they were coming home with a packet to continue education for two weeks or equipped with Google Classroom to keep the ball rolling. Not here in South Georgia. So this Type A lunatic mom went into planning mode about how we can keep the kids on schedule and educated while they’re home for two weeks. Now, I won’t lie, I am excited about not getting up at 6:30 for the next two weeks however, life must move forward, Covid-19 or not. I won’t be sticking to a crazy schedule but I will be attempting to have their “schooling” done by lunch. It’s going to be in the 80’s here this week so lots of outside time for the boys and the dogs are in order. Here are my favorite resources to help with the education slump that’s taking place but this is also handy for the summer slide we’re coming up on in just a few months.
I have a six and eight-year-old and this game is their favorite by far. It’s made by The Usborne Foundation and really covers everything from pre-reader to knowing blends and reading sentences. This app (also available on your computer) is designed to compliment a phonics program. My boys seriously love this game because the whole story line is based on a monster that has crashed his spaceship and needs their help to get his ship fixed. The only way to get the spaceship fixed is through a variety of games that allows the monster to collect letters.
I’ve definitely seen an improvement since my children started using the app a few days a week for just 20 minutes at a time. What I also love is that when you create an account, you can download your child’s stats. It’ll show you how they’re doing with each letter and blend as they move through the series. You can really add some support for your child with this extra info.
This one was Wyatt’s obsession during our trip to Texas. He played Mega Mall for hours in the car. I couldn’t be mad since he was constantly adding and subtracting without realizing he was doing it and let me just tell you, he is crushing it in math this year. I never help him with his math homework and he’s six. PBS Kids offers hundreds of games all developed with the U.S. Department of Education so they’re up to standards of the schools they attend while utilizing the characters from shows they love. PBS Kids is definitely on my approved list for this homeschool trial run.
Every day for the next week at 10 AM they are doing a Shark Story Hour. I love this because it’s live and engaging. The books will be elementary level but the education segment is for all. I think this a super fun way to mix it up. That’s one thing I’m excited about during this time. Being able to customize education and do things a little differently. My kids really love sharks so they’ll be excited about story hour.
The MET is going to be offering their operas free for the week as the live opera has been cancelled until further notice. This is a great chance to sample even a song from the opera and study other cultures if you have little ones like I do. Cannot wait to see how my country boys respond to the opera.
While I don’t love the Common Core aspect here, it won’t kill my kids to check out some educational games on ABCYA. ABCYA has over 400 educational games for kids PreK to 6th grade. What I do like is that each grade level is divided up easily and then once you click on that grade level, your met with another five sub-categories: letters, numbers, holiday, strategy and skill. It’s a super simple way to brush up on some skills and the desktop version of ABCYA is free!
I was super excited about this addition. Scholastic quickly created a learn at home site with 20 days of content and each day has three hours of content. Now I plan to cut my learning off at lunch so I could literally have just a whole Scholastic day if I wanted an easier day. Scholastic is doing virtual field-trips, deep dives on topics your child loves and they can meet authors! It’s really a great tool. I’m excited to see what topics my children choose to study.
I loved BrainPop when I worked in the schools because it is incredibly engaging and educational. They really dominate in the education tech space because they focus on both the audience aka our kids and the people teaching, right now, that’s you. They have a wide variety of topics with a ton of activities and lesson ideas for each topic. Right now they’re offering free access due to school closures. BrainPop has some great health and germs tools so we’ll be using that to talk about why school closed and what Covid-19 is. BrainPop did add a bonus Covid-19 module, if we want to call it that.
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Kahn Academy is always free and they even have an app. I’m excited because it focuses on the whole child so it includes things like social and emotional learning which is pretty helpful! They also encourage independent learning which is something my hubs and I strongly encourage in our boys. Even MIT has some kids courses available.
We’re definitely excited about the extra Bible study time we’re going to get in during the next few weeks and let’s be honest, my boys don’t love sitting down with their Bible and focusing for extended periods of time. I can get about 10 minutes out of them before the wiggles kick in. So I love Right Now Media because it has a great kids section. Right now, my children are loving the “What’s in the Bible?” series. We’ve been discussing God’s plan and well what a better time to have that discussion than during this Covid-19 outbreak? He truly does always have a plan.
I love Duolingo. I’m honestly using it now for myself to learn Spanish. This will be a great added resource for the kiddos this week as we dive deeper. Pick a language they’re already learning in school or let them pick something new and exciting. Since mine are obsessed with trying to count in Spanish, that’s where we’ll spend some time.
The most important thing is give yourself
Honestly, the most important thing you can do for yourself these next few weeks is give yourself grace. You didn’t plan for this. You weren’t ready to homeschool and it’s okay that things aren’t perfect. School at home doesn’t mean desks and rigid scheduling. It’s okay to watch a Facebook Live story hour about sharks or get outside. You can also free up some time by incorporating a few lessons in one. Maybe make a Spanish dish and learn about measurements this week. It is hands on, covers math, they learn a life skill and about Spanish culture and cuisine. School can be whatever you decide it is. This really is a special time. God’s given us a little bit of extra snuggle time and bonding with our family. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it!
If you need any support at all, do not hesitate to reach out. You’re not an island. We may all be stuck indoors but you’re not quarantined from help.