Ideas for kids homeschooling during COVID-19 lockdowns

Teachers packing laptops for students homeschooling

Adults aren’t the only ones needing review n prep: Ideas for kids homeschooling during COVID-19 lockdowns

Like many of you, COVID-19 took our region, our school, and our lives by storm. Many of you may find that your children are at home now, for the foreseeable future. Many of you could use a tip or two to keep yourselves sane so that you can do your own work or studying, while you can rest easy in the knowledge that your kids are also studying. As a long time teacher, I have done my own version of continuous learning, “reviewNprep”, shall we say. I am thinking about what will give families the biggest bang for their buck, what will be simple and straightforward yet high-yield, educationally speaking. So, I will make three recommendations for free websites that I would use if I was in your position.

Use KhanAcademy

To keep your students progressing and learning in the areas of math (with a complement of reading, problem solving, social studies, and science), I suggest that your students use KhanAcademy. I appreciate what founder Salman Khan has done in creating this tool, which you may know he originally created to help his sister with her math homework. So why recommend Khan Academy to you? Well, this site…

  • Is free worldwide and linkable to a Google or Facebook account (you may donate, however)
  • Can be created for a student by a parent (follow these instructions) 
  • Logs student activity so that an adult can see what they have accomplished
  • Provides celebrations and awards to motivate the young learners or the video game lovers, such as exploding stars when students enter a correct answer, a notification that the student has moved up a level, and a growing collection of “badges” in their account log
  • Provides math activities from kinder to college level (yes! I know! Amazing)
  • Provides chemistry, science, and history lessons for upper grades through college level
  • Provides instructional videos, complete with voice over, optional subtitles, and virtual blackboard and chalk to walk students through the process of solving problems
  • Provides practice problems that contain a button to get a “hint” and also the see the instructional video again before giving up
  • Exists in both English and Spanish – good Spanish, not clunky machine-voice translations but actual Spanish speaking humans, including women, who do the Spanish language instructional video voice overs

Use Storylineonline.net

To keep your students keep your students progressing and learning in the area of literacy (with a complement of social studies), or just busy with something besides a Disney movie (again), I suggest the read-alouds prepared by actors, authors, and other public figures on storylineonline.net. This site is maintained by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and people such as Viola Davis, Eva Longoria, and James Earl Jones read aloud award-winning children’s literature. So why recommend Storyline Online to you? Well, this site…

  • Is free worldwide and needs no log in! (you may donate, however)
  • Shows the individual reading the book out loud but also the images and text on the pages of the book
  • Uses a range of public figured as readers, so all kids can see themselves represented
  • Supports the option of using subtitles in conjunction with the read aloud
  • Uses meaningful, quality literature that can lead to discussion and reflection on important issues for kids (as opposed to being just “snack food” books)

Use Newsela.com

To keep your students progressing and learning in the intersections of reading, social studies, and science (with a complement of problem solving), I suggest that your students use newsela.com. This site…

  • Provides readings on historical and current events and developments
  • is free of charge for students, at a wide range of reading levels, with associated comprehension quizzes that readers can take after they read the articles
  • Provides a significant amount of material in quality Spanish (not crappy translations) in addition to English
  • Provides a balance of science and social studies focused material

I hope this helps out all the parents in their effort to effectively home school their kids. Hope everyone is following the social distancing norms and being safe.

Pseudonym: Gabriela

Description: an educator with 15 years experience teaching subjects at all ages from kindergarten to adult level

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Ideas for kids homeschooling during COVID-19 lockdowns
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