With the need to practice social distancing has come the need for many parents to be homeschool teachers for the first-time.
Depending on how many resources your school has provided, tracking down additionally needed resources and materials can feel like a daunting task. Of course, some schools having had no experience in homeschooling, might have given your child too many resources and assignments.
For those who need additional resources, a good starting point for core subjects is the Core Knowledge Foundation (www.coreknowledge.org) where you can download free curriculum. The organization offers detailed curricular guidance, which lays out what children should know at each grade, as well as provides some of the needed materials.
Here are some more ideas and free online resources to help you begin your homeschooling journey:
Khan Academy is useful for students (and parents) who struggle with math. Founder Salman Khan publishes short videos explaining math concepts. Then students can practice what they know with online practice questions and quizzes. The site covers math concepts from basic counting through high school AP classes. Parents can sign up as teachers, which allows them to assign content for students to cover and track their progress. While you’re there, check out the other course offerings, which include science and engineering, arts and humanities, social-emotional learning, economics and finance, computing, test prep and more.
Research shows that it’s good for children to not just read on their own but to have books read aloud to them. Certainly, it is preferable that reading aloud be a family affair. However, when that can’t be managed, check out the Storyline Online channel on YouTube, where celebrities read children’s books for the camera, along with illustrations. The channel comes from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website Storyline Online, and has featured readings by Betty White, Oprah Winfrey, Kristen Bell, James Earl Jones, and Al Gore.
To keep kids writing and help them process their feelings about the upheaval in their schedule, include journaling in their language arts time each day. Ask younger kids to make a video journal about what’s happening each day and how they feel about it. Older kids can write anywhere from a couple of sentences to a few paragraphs each day.
The web has a wealth of resources for science education. If your children are visual learners, check out the TV series Xploration DIY Sci, available through Amazon Prime Video and through some cable TV packages. Each episode sees scientist Steve Spangler tackle a science topic with hands-on experiments and analysis.
Discovery Education is offering its entire library of science content available free to any school or teacher that requests it. Email your school or school district to ask about setting up access.
If your child is interested in computer programming, take a look at Amazon’s Future Engineer program at www.edhesive.com/amazon/free_access. The program is being offered free to U.S.-based parents during the COVID-19-related school closures. Courses include basic coding for middle-schoolers, and courses in Python, AP computer science and Java programming for high-schoolers.
Choose a country each week to learn about. Not only is it fun, it also teaches tolerance. How does Japanese food taste? What types of food would you find on a typical menu in Germany? Choose a country, find what foods are popular in your country, make a dinner menu together, then cook authentic recipes together.
Help your younger child find a Pen Pal from the country you study. Letters to pen pals are a classic way for kids to communicate with friends they may never actually meet. They will also stimulate their classroom studies in language arts and social studies when back at school, not to speak of improving their spelling and writing skills. Plus it’s a joy to receive a friendly letter by snail mail. There are many websites that will match your child with pen pals from virtually any country.
For more visual learners, the Crash Course channel on YouTube features fun animated videos for kids about a range of topics, including world, U.S., and European history. Some titles have included “World War II,” “Economic Depression and Dictators,” “Post World War II Society and Economy,” “The Monarchy: European History,” and “The Atomic Bomb.” Similarly, the LibertyKidsTV YouTube channel covers American history through animated videos.#