The move to virtual learning has been a process that many students figured they would never experience in their lifetime. The abrupt and unexpected closure of schools has put a lot of pressure on parents and teachers to adjust and adapt to an online environment. Still today, with the start of the school year upon us, many students, parents, and teachers find themselves at home, learning new programs and practicing new methods to help create and sustain a learning environment that can match that of an actual classroom. In this guide, we hope to give those of you who have children that are still learning from home, or are teaching a child who is leaning from home, the resources necessary to continue on this way until things can get back to normal. There are a lot of tools out there and, whether it be simplifying your child’s experience or putting you as a parent or educator more at ease, we plan on sharing some of those with you.
For those of you out there who have decided that this school year you don’t feel comfortable sending your child back to the classroom at all, we have included some information on homeschooling. The covid-19 pandemic is more than enough reason to want an alternative to the traditional educational system and this guide will touch on a few places you can count on to ensure academic success.
For those of you who are ready to take your child’s learning into your own hands this school year, HomeSchool Campus is a great place for you to start. HSC is a strategically organized group of classes with expert instructors that are dedicated to providing engaging and meaningful classes that will guide your student through this alternative academic learning process. They offer classes for students in grades TK-12 that focus on core subjects like math, science, language arts, and history, all designed to help meet the needs of your students’ individual course of study. If you have decided you want to homeschool but are not sure where to start, visit HSC’s Getting Started page to find a program that will get your child on their way!
If you choose that homeschooling will be best for this school year, you will want all the information and resources you could get your hands on. The Home + Haven Community has plenty of encouraging and inspiring tips if this is the route you plan on taking. Join their mailing list and visit their website to discover things like useful curriculum, fun planners, and important homeschool laws for your state.
To find even more organizations, support groups, and co-ops to enhance your homeschooling experience, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association and meet other like-minded families who have taken the responsibility to educate their children from home.
Some great supporting info you can use to further supplement your homeschooling experience and assure that your child is getting the education they deserve:
Wild + Free
Another amazing homeschooling community, the wild and free company offers even more resources for parents and children. The community has created over 1000 support groups in the last 4 years that include book clubs, field trip groups, play groups, and simple family meet-ups. These groups are open to all moms who want to give their children the best education they can get in a homeschooling environment. Wild + Free also offers monthly content bundles full of useful and practical information for homeschooling moms. Visit their website to become a monthly subscriber. Bundles Wild + Free.
iLEAD Online Charter School
Another useful option, iLEAD online offers K-12 students a wide selection of classes and subjects to augment any school curriculum or support students who need to recover credit. Their website gives you the chance to enroll full time at their non-profit, tuition free public charter school or, if you are already enrolled in another school or program full time, gives you the option to enroll in individual online courses to supplement your child’s in person classroom learning. iLEAD Online emphasizes instructor availability, communication, and access to ensure success. Their courses are flexible, project-based, and customizable to best fit the needs of every learner.
For our educators who are reading this, a quick shoutout for everything you are doing. Back to school has looked incredibly different this fall quarter and we thank you for being determined enough to make sure this sudden educational disruption does not affect students’ learning. You have all transitioned to the online environment so well and we must admire you for your adaptability. With that being said we hope some of these resources and links are useful and will hopefully inspire you to continue doing your best work until you are able to get back into the classroom.
Google believes in improving education with technology. Their powerful solutions give educators and learners the tools and skills necessary for success. These last few years, Google has invested millions in projects and organizations to expand access to learning and has helped countless communities benefit with their promise of technology for all. Educators and parents who are looking for some resources to inspire creativity for their student should head to their website to find a list of games, lesson plans, reading activities, guides and more to help encourage hands-on learning in the digital environment. For even more product information and live demos visit The Anywhere School, an online event to celebrate educators and explore the future of education.
Creating Your Best Learning Environment
For our educators out there who are looking to spruce up their Google classroom or create fun slides or pages that catch their students eye, these links are chalked full of awesome ideas and tutorials that will surely make your online environment one that is welcoming and creative.
Build community and relationships in an online environment with this fun Google slide activity. Visit the link to learn more and inspire your own personal “All About Me” page.
Touch free greeting visual prompts for classroom decor. Greetings Page
Google classroom virtual rules page to discuss norms with parents and students.
Information and a walkthrough on how to create a class/grade level website.
Tutorial video for an interactive slideshow on Google. Meet the Teacher
Masks for teachers when going back to the classroom. Teacher Masks
Creating A Comfortable Environment
One great thing about schooling from home is that your child won’t have to sit in one of those uncomfortable desks all day long. We found these fun and unique seating options and tables will be great for students and will hopefully help them stay comfortable and not fidget.
A bold and fun addition to any classroom. AC – BC Chair
For your young one, a stylish cot for kids ages 5-6. Harrison Cot
A totally fun and new piece from Warsaw furniture. Circus Table and Chair
A unique motion chair that will surely be a unique seating arrangement for your child. Swopper USA
DIY Picture Day
Just because your child isn’t back in the classroom doesn’t mean you can’t make it feel like they are. For parents who want to have pictures of their student to remember their year distance learning, DIY Picture Day has the tools necessary to turn a photo from your smartphone into a professionally retouched print. Visit their Facebook and Website to learn more.
More Useful Resources
Teach kids Spanish with these games, sing-alongs, books, TV shows, movies, apps, YouTube channels, and audiobooks picked by Latino media pros. Parents Latina Magazine
The world’s first streaming service of animated storybooks with new titles being released constantly. Visit their Website to try a free 30 day trial and see if Vooks is right for you and your child. To learn even more and get up to date information on new releases, follow them on Instagram here. Vooks
If your child is a picky eater, Food Kids Love is an excellent resource full of simple, kid friendly snacks. School lunch at home has never been easier with these healthy, fun recipes that are sure to leave your student happy.
If you are looking for more ways to bring the classroom home, Guidecraft Official has everything you could need to create a home based learning environment. From fun spaces, versatile children’s furniture, and educational toys, visit Guidecraft.com to get started.
Tutoring Resources For K – 12
If your child needs assistance outside their classroom, here are some free tutoring resources that offer virtual sessions for students K-12. Led by individuals ranging from teenagers all the way to undergraduate and graduate students, these awesome sources are sure to provide you with adequate help.
Founded by a current high school student, Tutor Together was created to assist families without the means or access to tutoring by providing free, quality online tutoring sessions.
With the pandemic keeping students at home, The Covid NineTEEN Project was founded to provide free teen-led activities and one-on-one tutoring to support elementary school students.
A group of passionate students from top universities, Flypaper Tutors is here to help your child with whatever subject they may need help with.
Another fully virtual and free tutoring service, Quaranteens is here to give your child the tools the need to make it in the virtual classroom.
One of the more unfortunate circumstances of this pandemic was that students who relied on free or reduced – price meals at school were unable to eat their meals on site. Fortunately, due to the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus USDA is working with states to continue providing meals to students. USDA was able to make temporary changes so that meals may be taken home, and parents or guardians may pick up meals for their children if the state allows. Visit the USDA Website to find directions to a meal pick up facility in your area.
Local Updates From Districts
As always, visit your child’s districts website to get up to date information on school closures and possible reopenings. All the districts started with an online format but, as they continue to monitor the situation, the website is a good resource to have on hand if and when information begins to change.
Bonus Curriculum and Homeschool Resources
For even more help and assistance navigating the homeschool environment visit these websites and learn more. All these sites are full of useful curriculum, worksheets, activities, crafts, and more to help inspire you to create a homeschool design that keeps your child on track.
This school year is unlike any other. With things changing everyday due to the coronavirus, it is good to have resources on hand to help you stay on top of things at home. Distance learning can be difficult at times but we hope this article will help keep you one step ahead. If you decide to go the homeschooling route, the curriculum and information included should be enough to get you started on building an alternative learning environment that is as enriching as an actual classroom. If you plan on holding out and waiting for schools to reopen, the resources included here, like the free tutoring for K-12 students and comfortable alternatives to a desk, will be great for you as well. Regardless, we hope you got something useful out of this article and use it to your advantage when navigating this tricky Fall quarter.