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 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 capitals, 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.
Christina is a high school math teacher. She has two children ages 6 (kindergarten) and 8 (3rd grade). At only two days into working from home and the children working on school work from home, she’s got it going on. Here are a few things that are keeping her sane so far:
- Routine!!! A detailed schedule that I write out the night before. I start my day around 4:30/5 so I can exercise, have some quiet time and get about 1.5-2 hours of uninterrupted work completed. I know this will be a season with little sleep for me. I am a morning person so this works for me. My husband stays up later for his work time but finding a 1-2 hour chunk of uninterrupted time to work I think is key.
- Time Chunking!!! During the day on my schedule I chunk my time. I am never working for longer than 45 minutes while my children are awake. Depending on the ages of your children this time could be shorter or longer. During those 45 minutes I had live lessons with my students and asked my daughter (6 year old) to complete her i-ready math and reading lesson for the day. I will ask my son (8 year old) to work on the math packet his teacher sent home and to read a book of his choosing. Then if I have another live lesson I ask my daughter to write a story about something or sight word sentences and then I ask her to do something quiet until I come out and my son will get on to do his computer based lessons for the day. I always schedule a break in between those 45 minute work sessions to check on them and to do something fun that is quick with them and then I set them up on the next school work they will work on. I could add in another 45 minute chunk and ask them to work on something else during that time.
- Creative Breaks!!! Have something fun you do with your kids during the day. We have a daily live art session we do online from 1-2 pm. That is our sacred time together. I have found if I give them that attention at that time they can then play independently for a bit after that. This could be board games, Lego play or watching the numerous online activities that are available right now.
- Screen Time!!! Around 2:00-4:30 they watch Disney Plus. It is not ideal but I also have to get another chunk of time to work.
- Outdoor Play!!! We have a morning walk around 8:30/9 before the school day starts for them. They run on the sidewalk and my son takes pictures with an old camera, we stop and pet ALL of the neighborhood cats. Then I stop around 4:30 so we can go outside together. This helps me unwind and de-stress and it helps them get out pent up energy. At this point I am mostly done for the day but may work on a few things after they are in bed at 8:30.
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, 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!
A huge thank you to Kristen, Nicole and Christina for sharing your tips and advice, we sincerely appreciate it!
Distance Learning Resources
General Education 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
- Young At Art With Bre Forti
- 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:
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:
- Big Life Journal – for free printables
- Communicate of Life, SLP
- Kid Quarantine Resources
- Doctors Of Academics Inc.
- 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
- ReMote Happy Hour at Mote Marine Aquarium, Thursdays at 4 pm
Stories Read Aloud:
- List of Children’s Authors Reading Stories Aloud
- Astronauts Reading Stories
- The Village Early Learning Center
- Have Olaf, AKA Josh Gad, read your children a bedtime story from the comfort of their beds.
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: