We are officially heading into week three of “homeschooling” in our house. To be honest, it looks quite a bit different than what I initially thought it would.
When I first heard schools were closing here in Seattle, I popped on Instagram to ask people to share their favorite homeschooling resources. I was picturing a pretty structured day-to-day learning schedule, but after a few weeks, we’ve realized that’s not what works best for our family.
We have two working parents with changing schedules, so each day looks a little different in our house. And that’s OK! Our goal is to make sure the kids get a couple of hours every weekday of reading, doing workbooks, and coloring or crafts. We’ve also done one bigger project each week with our 7-year-old, like working on a puzzle or completing a Kiwi Crate.
I’ve been incredibly thankful for the (mostly free) online resources available during this time. I’ve been downloading apps, signing up for learning programs, and seeing which ones work well for our kids. Below are the best resources I’ve found for at-home learning, as well as art and getting the wiggles out!
ONLINE TOOLS FOR AT-HOME LEARNING
- ABCMOUSE: A subscription-based digital learning program designed by educations for kids ages 2-8. It provides a step-by-step learning path focusing on reading, math, science, and art. Right now you can get a 30-day trial for free.
- BRAIN POP JR: An animated educational website for kids ages 5-9 where they can learn STEM, health, reading & writing, social studies, and arts. Kids watch short films on a topic and then complete quizzes, games, and other educational activities to check comprehension. You typically have to pay a monthly fee, but access is free while schools are closed.
- KHAN ACADEMY KIDS: An educational app from Khan Academy with thousands of learning activities for kids ages 2-7. Set up a profile and pick an avatar for your child, and then they can access learning materials on math, language, and social-emotional learning. This one has been a favorite for my kids, and it’s always free.
- PBS PARENTS: Sign up for a weekday newsletter and get access to daily activities and tips to help your kids play and learn at home! It’s good for parents with kids ages 2-8.
- SCHOLASTIC LEARN AT HOME: Scholastic offers day-to-day projects for kids five and up to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Select your child’s grade level, and they’ll provide you with learning activities for each day. They are currently offering 20 days of learning free.
STORYTIME & LITERACY
- AUDIBLE STORIES FOR KIDS: Stream from a collection of over 200 kids’ audiobooks. They have books for the littlest listeners, elementary-aged, and up. Stream to your desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet for free as long as schools are closed.
- EPIC!: A digital library for kids 12 and under. They have thousands of illustrated books and chapter books to choose from. You select their age and interests, and it even keeps a log of the time they spent reading per day. Your first month is free.
- KINDLE EBOOKS: If you have a Kindle, you can get a variety of kids’ eBooks for free from Amazon! So many great titles included.
- STORYLINE: Storyline recruits celebrities to read children’s books aloud, like Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog. It’s tons of fun for kids (and adults)!
- VOOKS: A kid-safe streaming library of read-aloud animated children’s books. It includes tons of titles that you’ll know sorted by theme or age. Your first month is free.
MOVE YOUR BODY
- COSMIC KIDS YOGA: Cosmic Kids Yoga is a YouTube channel that brings yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation to kids 3+. The instructor Jaime tells a story and takes kids on a colorful adventure while they learn yoga. It is so fun, and an excellent way to get the wiggles out!
- GONOODLE: GoNoodle is a YouTube channel that gets kids moving! It features short videos (2-5 minutes) that are perfect for a quick break of dancing, jumping, deep breathing, and wiggling. There are simple dance videos for young toddlers as well as videos with a bit of choreography for grade-schoolers.
- LUNCH DOODLES WITH MO WILLEMS: I squealed when I found out about this free activity because Mo Willems is one of my very favorite children’s authors and illustrators. Every day at lunchtime (1:00 E.T.) he teaches kids to draw, including famous characters from his books. If you’ve missed out on them or that time doesn’t work for your family, don’t worry because they are all left online to be accessed anytime!
- ART FOR KIDS HUB: This one is my oldest daughter’s favorite activity! It’s a YouTube channel that teaches kids to draw. And the artwork is pretty adorable too! Just pick a video and dive right in.
- CARIBU: Get the grandparents involved in the learning (and get yourself a little break)! Caribu is an app for video-calling grandparents or other family members. Think of it as a virtual playdate, where kids can read, play games, and color with whoever is on the other end.
- CODE.ORG: A great way to introduce your kids to the world of coding at home. They have tutorials, videos, games, and more! Start here for introductory tutorials and express courses for kids ages four and up.
- TIME FOR KIDS: A weekly published magazine for elementary school students. It introduces them to journalism with age-appropriate stories kids will enjoy. Now through the end of the year, kids can access the digital library for free!
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FOR KIDS: Find amazing facts about animals, science, history, and geography. You’ll find educational games, videos, and other activities.
- The SAN DIEGO ZOO and the MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM both have live cams you can check in on for a little animal break. And the CINCINNATI ZOO has a Facebook Live each day where they highlight one of their animals with an included activity!
- The NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY has virtual tours of past and present exhibits!