Learning at Home 2020: Our New Normal
As our dining room tables are doubling as classrooms, our kids are talking to their teachers and classmates via Zoom calls and we settle into what looks like will be our new normal…for a while at least, we may find ourselves scouring the internet for help. There are so many resources and ideas out there, but the more I looked, the more overwhelmed I became. I felt completely disorganized, which led to frustration, which isn’t going to lead to anything productive. So, I decided to organize all the resources I was finding, with help from my mom, a former grade-school teacher.
We’ve gathered free resources being offered across the internet with the links below, along with a section on assistance programs. I’ve also created a “Distance Learning Resources” Pinterest board with tons of ideas. Our Pinterest board includes sections for standard school subjects plus ideas for physical activity, getting outside, scavenger hunt ideas, time management and scheduling, things to keep your toddlers busy and more!
So, whether you’re looking for extra teaching lessons, independent learning activities, free printables, craft ideas, physical activities, virtual field trips, cooking classes, resources for talking to your kids about Coronavirus and free meals for kids, it’s all here! And please check back often, as I’ll be adding more links as I found them.
If you’ve found a resource that you’re loving, please share it with us in the comments below!
Advice and Ideas from Homeschooling Moms
I recently spoke to some parents who have homeschooling experience or our already up and running with distance learning. So, before I get into the resource links, I wanted to share some advice they shared along with some ideas we’ve come up with too.
Kristen homeschools 4 kids, grades 7th, 4th, 3rd and 1st, full time and runs a cookie baking company. Her advice for us newbies is,
“To take one day at a time and enjoy the process. Take breaks when you’re feeling the stress levels rise, take walks, read books, watch educational shows (and fun ones), bake, relax, have quiet time. Kids are resilient and will be ok.”Kristen, homeschool mom of four.
Nicole, a homeschooling mom of an 8th grader and owner of a t-shirt apparel company, suggests learning about our states, choosing one state per day. A child even as young as 4 or 5 can start learning geography and the individual characteristics of our states. Nicole suggests learning the state capital, population, resources, climate, rivers, mountain ranges, etc. Once you’ve covered the United States, you can then move on to countries. Click here for our “Distance Learning Resources” Pinterest board, the geography section has some resources for state and country learning.
We have decided to teach our daughter the concept of letter writing to a pen pal. These kids are missing their friends, why not reach out to the parents to get their address and mail a letter, the old-fashioned way. This will obviously only work as long as the USPS is functioning. If they, at some point, decide to close, scan your kid’s letter and email it. They at least get writing and spelling practice in the process.
One more piece of advice is to give yourself some grace. This is new for all of us as we’ve never been down this road before. Reach out for help when you need it, there’s no shame in asking for help!
Distance Learning Resource Links
General Educational Websites:
Here are some great opportunities for the artistic children, all from home.
- Disney has partnered with Khan Academy to bring your children “Imagineering in a Box,” lessons on how to draw like a Disney Imagineer. Click Here
- Join Author and Illustrator Mo Willems for “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems” Click Here
- Sign up for Fat Brain Toys’ Play Blog and have new episodes emailed. Episodes 1 and 2 are out, click on the title below:
Assistance and Workshop Resources:
- Helping your children understand Coronavirus. You know your children best and therefore, you can determine how much info, if any, you want to share with them. Click here "Helping Kids Understand COVID-19" to check out this Coronavirus Coloring Book, created by Adrianne Presnell, RN, to help explain the virus and how your children can protect themselves and others.
- Free Meals for Kids
- Champions for Children Stepping Stones Workshops for parents and caregivers of children ages 18 months to 18 years old with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click here for their flyer: Champions for Children Stepping Stones Workshop Series Flyer
Cooking Lessons for Kids:
Kids in the Kitchen with Sarah
Educational Video Channels:
The kids want to watch TV, but you don’t want them to rot their brains. Turn on the classic educational series, School House Rocks, click here to go to YouTube.
Facebook Pages and Groups to Follow:
Your Morning Basket - Geography
TeachingMama - Kindergarten at Home Literacy Packet
- DreamBox Learning Online Math - 90 day free trial, valid until April 30th
- 60+ Awesome Websites for Teaching and Learning Math by “We Are Teachers”
- 16 Card Games That Will Turn Your Students into Math Aces
- Do your kids love tangrams, but don’t have access to the tangram pieces and patterns? Download this free printable from One Mama’s Daily Drama
If you live in an area where it's just not quite warm enough to go outside or in case it's raining, your kids can still get physical education at these resources:
- Kids Workouts To Do At Home, Joe Wicks, The Body Coach
- Free BeachBody Workouts for Kids
- Fast Feet with Madison Keys
- Fit From Home
- Dancing for Donations
- Mystery Science has some cool science activities, both short and full lessons, that are all organized by grade level!
- Short video lessons from Bill Nye the Science Guy
Stories Read Aloud:
In addition to the resources below, pull out some old magazines and let them rip up or cut up the pages. Ripping and cutting strengthens the hand muscles preparing your child to hold pencils and crayons well enough to make strong markings!
- Daniel Tiger Stories and Songs
- LoLo's Play-Place
- MyGym - Pout Pout Fish Read Along
- EarlyOn Child and Family Centres In the District of Parry Sound - Live Circle Time
- First Steps Childcare Centre
Virtual Field Trips:
- 20 Virtual Field Trips to Take with Your Kids
- 33 National Park Virtual Tours
- Museum Tours Virtually
- Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens Brings the Zoo to You
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