The coronavirus has turned our world upside down. Just one month ago I remember watching the news about COVID-19 outbreak hundreds of miles away from me, thinking I hope it doesn’t reach us. Well, see now how quickly life has changed.
We woke up one morning and suddenly, people are rushing to Walmart hoarding toilet paper, the authorities urging people to do social distancing, my husband is working from home, and the school is close for three weeks (and probably longer).
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting many areas of life, but as parents, we can do a lot to keep things as normal and calm for our children as possible. One of the best ways to maintain that is by creating new daily routines for kids until school is back in session.
I created a schedule to keep him entertained and busy at home, while also adding a bit of learning time. I tried to imitate his routine at school and he loved it because he can pretend like it’s a regular school day, where instead I’ll be his teacher.
His routines are as follows.
7 am Wake up
8 am – 9 am Breakfast and get ready (changing out of PJs)
9 – 10 am ‘School’ time. Learn a subject (math/science/writing/etc) or doing assignments from his actual school.
10 – 10.30 am Break. Play or snack time.
10.30 – 11.00 am Reading one or two books and discuss together
11 am – 12 pm Arts and creativity (drawing/DIY project/coloring) or playing with Lego
12 pm – 1 pm Lunch and school is over! Pretend going home.
1 pm – 3 pm Free play
3 pm – 5 pm Snack time, help Mommy cooking, quiet time, playing with Dad
5 pm – 6 pm Dinner
6 pm – 8 pm Bath, relaxing before bedtime
8 pm Go to bed
There are many resources to provide with learning materials that you can easily search from google. And usually (like my son’s school does) every school provide distance learning lesson and assignments during the temporary school closures.
All I can say is, thank God we live in a time where technology can help our kids with digital distance learning. Many educational activities, DIY project ideas, virtual field trips, digital lesson plans, and brain-boosting games can be accessed easily to keep the kids busy while everybody is staying home.
Most of the resources are free, while some require a subscription fee to access the contents. Fortunately, during these school closures, a lot of companies are willing to waive the fee and making their paid services free through the rest of the school year. Some also released free content for the students to learn at home. A lot of them have great materials!
Here I shared with you some great learning resources that can be accessed for free during the temporary school closures. Hopefully, we can continue our child’s education at home while classes are canceled.
1. Audible, the Amazon-owned book streaming service, canceled the subscription of books and audio stories for children and students from pre-K through teens. Kids anywhere in the world can instantly stream a large collection of stories for ages up to 12, including titles across six different languages.
All you have to do is download the free Audible app on your phone or tablet, or access https://stories.audible.com/start-listen on desktop or laptop. You don’t have to sign up or have an Amazon or Audible account to hear the stories (Audible subscriptions are usually $14.95/month). The Audible website says the service will be available for as long as schools are closed. Yay!
2. Age of Learning provides schools that closed due to coronavirus with free home access to their educational programs, which include:
- ABCmouse, a popular interactive learning resource that provides lessons for reading, science, math, and arts for preschool through second-grade students.
- Adventure Academy, a multiplayer online game covering reading, math, and science for students ages 8-13.
- Reading IQ, a digital library with thousands of books and reading assessments for students 12 and under.
All you need to do is fill up a form here, to get access to all the programs above.
3. Scholastic Learn at Home offering free 20 days’ worth of courses for students from Pre-K to grade 6 and higher. The courses provide approximately three hours of learning per day, ranging from interactive video, quizzes, writing and research projects, to virtual field trips. The website is accessible on any device that has an internet connection and no sign up required. This one is my son’s favorite!
4. Epic, my son’s favorite digital library for kids app, is offering free worldwide remote student access through the end of the school year (or until June 30th, 2020). There is no credit card required, but you will need a teacher invitation to gain access to the full Epic library. We already have paid monthly subscription to Epic, but if you haven’t and want to see how awesome the app is, now is a great time!
5. Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration or CILC, provides free high-quality education programs starting March 23rd. The programs will be delivered via live streaming from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm Eastern time. Registration is required so parents can receive the join link in an email from Zoom 1 day before the program, as well as 1 hour before.
6. Outschool delivers live online classes for kids ages 3-18 via video chat, led by highly qualified teachers. On March 13, they launched outschool.org to support public school families affected by closures with free live online classes. To get started taking Outschool classes for free, you have to signup and enter the details of your school.
7. Brainpop is an educational resource that provides engaging learning games, animated movies, and activities for K-3 up to middle school students. They are offering free access for kids and teachers impacted by school closures. They also provide educational videos with accompanying lesson plans about the Coronavirus topic.
8. Babbel, an online language learning website, offers 3 months of free language lessons to students located in the US. It is available until mid-June 2020 and covering many languages to learn; Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.
9. NICERC (National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center) provides cyber, STEM, and computer science curriculum to K-12 educators. Created by the Cyber Innovation Center, the website curated a great list of free activities that the kids can do at home in March 2020. Fun and unique activities like making enigma machine from Pringles can, to creating cipher disk to encrypt your own secret messages are some of the DIY projects that my son love to do while at home.
10. Mysteryscience.com pulled the most popular science lessons and parents can access the lessons right away. Mystery Science is the creator of popular science lessons in US schools. My son loves the “Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?” and “Can animals laugh?” lessons on the website!
11. Curriculum Associates made printable at home activity packs for kindergarten to grade 8 students. The mathematic and reading packs are designed to provide students with valuable self-directed exercises and practices.
12. Great Minds has made free written materials for math (Grades K-12) and daily instructional videos for language arts (Grades K-8), math (Grades K-12), and science (Grades 3-5). The lessons are updated daily.
More and more companies are starting to offer free services to support the kids’ educational learning the are affected by the school closures. I should note that the list above only covers the paid services that become free on a certain period. There are a lot of others that were always free and offering high-quality content, too.
I will update if a new addition comes up, so please save this page and come back again later if you want to take advantage of these free educational activities!
As a parent, I’d like to say many thanks to the educational companies for coming to the rescue. When my kids are out of ideas of what to do, we can always count to those interactive online lessons to fill their days with educational enrichment.
Do you have other recommendations? Please let me know in the comments if you find great free resources. We love new ideas for learning activities during the ‘school’ time!