Homeschooling 101

Help is on the way, they said. Almost too much help, it turns out. The tech community has really embraced the “we’re all in this together” mentality, and new resources are popping up every five minutes.

This week I’m sharing a list of online learning resources that are not coding-specific. Next week’s list will lean more in the tech direction, but the folks below are great for math, English, and everything in between.

In the “getting started” category, Khan Academy published this great template for planning a homeschooling day. It covers pre-K through 12th grade, with links to KA courses if you need extra work. Khan Academy Jr, of course, is a great app to have on your tablet.

Wide Open School is part template, part resource link, and 100% easy to use. Two questions: Are you a parent or teacher? And what grade are you looking for? Then select topics and you’re off to the races.

Everyone should check out BrainPOP, if only because their free access will probably expire at the end of the school year. BrainPOP normally runs $30/month, but they are currently providing their program free of charge while schools are out of session.

What can you do with BrainPOP? Pretty much everything.

BrainPOP has a little bit of everything

I’m sure everyone has seen the “DK” logo on a book that you either own or that your kiddo checked out from the library. Dorling Kindersly has been publishing quality books forever, from early reader board books to collaborations with the Royal Geographic Society. You can’t really say that they focus on kids’ books, because they offer great stuff for grownups, but they do take kids very seriously, and in that spirit they run a website called DKFindOut, which is basically a kid-friendly version of Wikipedia. It’s a great site to bookmark for kids’ research and homework help.

Speaking of books … if you need to save your own voice and want to hear Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Betty White, or Rita Moreno read to your kids, check out this list at We Are Teachers, most of which redirect to Storyline Online.

And Audible has also provided a free collection of audio books aimed at K-12 students. “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.” Go to the special Stories page at Audible to see what is available.

Time for Kids is also getting into the act, offering a free subscription for the rest of the school year. You’ll get the grade-specific magazine, lesson plans, quizzes and worksheets, and access to their entire digital library.

Have your kids already read the Harry Potter series? Yes or no, Wizarding World (Pottermore 2.0 with a lot of Scholastic input) is a great way to start out or to revisit the books, with special guests reading a new chapter each week, and writing prompts, reading comprehension quizzes, and arts and crafts projects to go along with it.

And just out this week (May 26), JK Rowling’s latest book, The Ickabog, is being release free online, one chapter at a time. Readers are encouraged to submit concept art to go along with each chapter, which might make the final published version later this year.

Humans cannot live on math and English alone, so we have to throw a little art in there. My kids are totally into Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems, a daily offering from the Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence. About thirty minutes long, Mo leads them through some “how to sketch” classes.

Apple also has a ton of goodness in their “Everyone Can Create” series, which starts with a simple month’s worth of projects and builds up into a complete standards-aligned curriculum covering photography, video production, drawing, and music.

The last link I need to share is a resource called Flippity. Flippity is basically a Swiss Army multi-tool for teachers. It takes any list and turns it into one of a dozen or so different graphic organizers, such as flash cards, BINGO cards, word searches, crossword puzzles, and pretty much anything you can think of that involves randomized data. You can build your own MadLibs, scavenger hunts, board games, or March Madness-style tournament brackets. Using Flippity, it takes 5 minutes to scan through the next chapter of the book that we’re reading, pull out vocab words, and create a BINGO card for focused reading, word search for vocab reinforcement, crossword puzzle for definitions, and flash cards for spelling.

All of the above are sites that I have personally checked out. But there are a ton more on my list to visit over the next couple of weeks. Just from trusted names, the list includes:

That’s probably enough for Week One. We’ll get tech-y next week and talk about coding resources to keep us going while GWC clubs are on hold.

Published by SAO'

Dad to two amazing girls, husband to one.

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