Today I’m sharing my favourite teacher recommended best websites for learning if you suddenly find yourself homeschooling your children or teaching your children or at home.
Some of you may know that in my day-to-day life I’m actually a school teacher. I’ve been teaching for the past (I hate to date myself!) 18 years, and I’ve taught every grade from K through 8. We are currently on Spring Break where we live, but just received word that schools in our province are closing down indefinitely until further notice. That could be two weeks, it could be an additional month, or it could be until September. We really don’t know this point, but the important fact is that we are all being asked to do our part and stay home in the effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19.
I know this will prove to be a huge challenge to many parents with regard to childcare and educating their children at home. We are not sure yet what exactly teachers will be providing with regards to curriculum and workload; all of that information will follow. But for now, I wanted to gather together a list of my favourite online resources and sites for home learning, in the hopes that it may help those of you parents out there who are at a loss of where to start when homeschooling as suddenly been thrown onto your plate.
To begin with, I recommend that you spend some time reading over the curriculum expectations for your school district/province/state. It would also be good figure out what your child has covered already this year, based on their previous report cards and/or by emailing the teacher if they have not already contacted you with this information. You should find the curriculum for your area easy to access with a simple google search (e.g. search “British Columbia Grade 4 Math Curriculum” – adjusting the search, of course, to your area and child’s grade). Jot down the overall topics from subjects and from that you can sketch out a list of what areas you may wish to focus on over the next weeks or months.
Stick to the basics:
My best advice is to not overcomplicate things. The idea is to help your child maintain the learning and skills they’ve already gained in school and help them learn and improve over the next months, but don’t feel pressure to make it overly complicated or arduous. The most important things are to keep them reading, writing, and practicing their math skills. In addition to reading books everyday, they can also practice their reading through online sites (discussed below). Math skills can be practiced on paper (see Math-Drills.com), but they can also be practiced through games (several are listed below). There are also a ton of sites with videos, lessons, and activities that they can do to meet their Social Studies and Science outcomes. Encourage them to continue to be active and get enough daily exercise. Youtube is a good source for activity videos (I’ll be sharing more about this in a separate post). And take some time to practice and teach your children basic life skills such as cooking and chores. Use this time to focus on developing good character and social responsibility in your children along with maintaining and improving upon what they’ve already learned in school.
A very basic list of subjects/topics to teach includes:
Language Arts – reading, writing, could include spelling and grammar work
Math – basic facts practice, concepts to work on
Science and Social Studies (History/Geography) – can often be done through projects and/or video content
Arts – fine arts, music, drama etc.
Physical Education – being active, healthy living
Other skills to teach: financial literacy, digital literacy, cooking, chores, social responsibility
The Best Teacher Recommended Online Resources and Sites for Learning at Home:
Here are a list of sites that I have used with my elementary students or that other teachers have recommended to me. I am sure you will find enough in just a few of them to fill your days with home learning activities. I’ll be back soon to share more details and a schedule for my at-home learning plan with you all.
An awesome free site with tons and tons of math printables by topic area – a fabulous resource if you are starting out homeschooling in Math. There are materials for daily practice as well as for bigger topics, such as geometry, fractions, decimals, statistics etc. It is good to familiarize yourself with what your district/area requires for math skill levels so you know where to start when printing out worksheets.
Is a great, free online website that offers all kinds of learning opportunities and it is differentiated so students work at their own pace and fill in the gaps of their learning. Parents can setup a free account and go from there.
BrainPop’s mottos is “make any room a classroom”. Similar to Khan Academy, it is another online site that offers a variety or curricular learning, and they are currently offering free access to families whose schools have closed due to COVID-19. See this page at BrainPop for the details about how to setup a free account.
This is a great site that I utilize all the time as a teacher. There are some free materials, but most of it is paid products. I would especially recommend it for Stem projects and/or Project Based learning ideas. You can have your child tackle a lot of curricular outcomes through project based learning and they can take large chunks of time to complete.
This is perhaps my favourite site for art and drawing lessons and activities to do with students in my classroom, and the tutorials and instructions would work equally well for schooling at home.
Is a streaming service (think Netflix) that costs $2.99 a month that offers high-quality educational documentaries. This could be an excellent way to help integrate Science and Social Studies curriculum. Instead of just watching a video, make sure to do some pre/during/post learning activities. For example, a KWL chart is a great way to make a video experience more educational. Simply divide a paper into three sections, K is for “know” / W is for “want to know” / and L is for “learned”. Before watching a video on a specific topic, have them write down ideas of what they already know (activating background knowledge), then some questions of things they want to know about the topic. After watching, have them write down the key ideas that they learned!
Scholastic is offering 20+ days of home learning experiences (day to day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A curriculum aligned math program that includes a fun/game aspect along with math learning activities and lessons. Great for students in Grade 1-8.
Splashlearn is a complete K-5 Math Learning program built for your child that is free to sign up for. It is good for catching up, enrichment, or even regular math practice.
This is a really fun website for children to explore and learn from. They can read magazines and books, watch educational videos, and play learning games on all kinds of interesting National Geographic related topics. You may want to
Storyline is a free site with hundreds and hundreds of read-aloud books that children can listen to. You can extend this activity by having them write or draw about the story they listened to after the fact.
A free site offering fun digital learning for kids all over the world. Your child can work at their grade level and their are lessons and activities in Math, Science, Environmental Skills, Computer Skills, Health, Language Arts, and Life Skills.
A great social studies resource, this site includes all kinds of articles, worksheets, videos, and quizzes on history around the world.
Outschool is a paid learning website where children can watch/take live online classes.
A new, subscription based, online learning program for kids 8-13 years of age, offering learning games and videos in reading, math, science and more.
A Christian homeschooling site that offers a complete, free curriculum. go
More awesome free websites that you can check out to integrate into your home learning plan…
Starfall – Kid’s games, movies, and books for K-3
ABCYA – A great resource for educational games for kids with a fairly inexpensive monthly subscription fee
Funbrain – A site full of reading, math, educational games, and learning oriented videos.
Highlight Kids – A fun educational sit with activities for kids to do, learning to explore, podcasts and playlists to listen to, jokes and games.
Cool Math 4 Kids – All kinds of fun math games and activities to teach math concepts.
Math Game Time – A site full of math games arranged by topic and/or grade level.
Unite for Literacy – A site will early readers that your beginning readers can access to practice their reading skills.
Science Kids – A site full of fun experiments, cool facts, videos, online games, activities, and projects related to all kinds of Science related topics.
Switch Zoo – Games and learning activities related to to learning about Animals.
Turtle Diary – Educational Games online with a small subscription fee – includes math and literacy based games.
Mystery Doug – Engaging Science videos and lessons on a huge variety of topics.
Squiggle Park – Game based reading skills and reading comprehension practice.
Tynker – A website that teaches children about coding.
Typing Club – Learn touch typing online for free.
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I hope this information has helped you with planning how you can continue to educate your child at home as schools are closed due to this pandemic. I totally understand that it is an enormous task to take on, but just remember that every little bit helps. I’ll be posting my daily schedule and talking about setting up for schooling at home, as well as discussing my favourite educational videos and youtube channels with you very soon.