What a week! The “Shelter in Place” order, mandated throughout California from Governor Gavin Newsome, is a necessity, no longer an extreme measure. Parents and educators alike are reeling from the news that California schools will likely remain closed until summer break. The extra load of homeschooling on top of juggling a workload at home and keeping the family healthy, for most, is quite overwhelming.
Generally, your child’s teacher will have provided instructions and guidelines for study; check your school’s website for online instructions. We’ve gathered a list of MCFL services and other suggested resources to supplement academic lessons. Choose a few that work for your kids, and create a schedule that’s flexible and includes vital family time, playtime, and downtime to improve sustainability over the coming months.
Watch a video of Homeschooling tips shared by a 4th grade teacher
Editor’s Note: Each post in the Kids at Home series is a work in progress. Check back to see updates for new resources and accessibility changes.
MCFL Learning Services
TumbleBookLibrary (grades K to 6) – curated database for children and teens featuring e-books, audiobooks, math stories, and other digital content including supplementary materials such as lesson plans, educational games, plus quizzes to test and track progress.
TumbleMath – comprehensive collection of picture books to connect mathematics with literacy.
Online Homework Help
Students of all ages can get help from live tutors online using our Brainfuse HelpNow service. Brainfuse has responded to this crisis with increased tutors, and prepping online tutors about the special educational circumstances that might arise during sessions.
MEET is an easy-to-use collaboration tool where patrons invite participants, choose a date and time, add a description (optional), and then create a study session. Sessions take place through the Brainfuse whiteboard. How to get started with MEET.
Biography Reference Center – collection of biographies, including actors, authors, composers, explorers, historical figures, world leaders, inventors, musicians, and many others.
Explora Elementary School – factual articles for elementary school projects.
Explora Middle School – factual articles for middle school school projects.
MasterFILE Premier – articles from academic journals, magazines, reference books and primary source documents.
Points of View Reference Center – examine topics from opposing viewpoints, with an overview, point, counterpoint and Critical Thinking Guide. Articles include citations.
Topic Search – explore articles on social, political & economic issues, scientific discoveries and other popular topics. Sources include international & regional newspapers, magazines, polls, pamphlets and government information.
Our Mango Languages service offers popular languages such as Spanish, English, French, Japanese, German and Italian, and many others. Sign in to Mango Languages.
Apps that help kids learn a new language from Common Sense Media
Other Online Instructional Tools
Khan Academy (ages 5+) – engaging tutorials on math, humanities, science, and more. Now includes daily schedule sheets for ages 4-18.
CK-12 (ages 9+) – lessons in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) that cover many advanced topics, best suited for studious tweens and teens.
Time for Kids – grade-specific digital editions of TIME for Kids and Your $ financial literacy magazines.
TED-Ed Student Talks – animated video series with talks from students and lessons from top educators. TED-Ed is the youth and education initiative of TED.
TedEd@Home – just launched! Free daily newsletter with engaging lesson plans organized by age group that span all subjects, and insights and tips collected from the global TED-Ed community.
Scholastic Learn at Home (grades Pre-k to 9) – 20 days of lessons, up to 3 hours per day on Instagram.
DK Home Learning for Kids (ages 5 to 12) – downloadable activity packs help kids learn and engage with their imagination to color, draw, play, and write.
Homeschool.com (grades Pre-k to 12) – guide to a complete all-in-one homeschool curriculum 2020.
Mix Learning + Entertainment
PBS Kids (age 6+) – educational games and activities.
BrainPOP (ages 9+, free access during school closures) – activities that support subjects in Science, Social studies, English, Math, Arts & Music, Health & SEL, and Engineering & Tech. Includes BrainPOP Jr. for K-3, and BrainPOP ELL.
PBS Learning Media (grades PreK to 12) – standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans and more, used in classrooms. Browse lessons by subjects or grade.
Prodigy Math (grades 1 to 8) – curriculum-aligned math video games, used in classrooms.
Outschool (grades K to 12) – live online classes in small groups, led by qualified teachers and conducted over video chat. Free during school shutdowns. To get started taking free Outschool classes, signup at outschool.org and enter details of your school.
Daily doodle video with Mo Willems – relax with everyone’s favorite children’s author.
Draw every day with JJK video with Jarrett Krosoczka, award-winning cartoonist.
Live stream soothing underwater videos by Miami-based artists and marine biologists, for nap time or chill time.
Author Storytimes and Activities
Mac Barnett – daily read-aloud on Instagram Live.
Ben Clanton Miximal Mondays – (Narwhal series) every Monday at 9am PST on Instagram.
Dan Gutman My Weird Read-A-Loud – every day at 11am PST on Facebook.
Peter H. Reynolds – read-alouds from his picture books on Facebook Live.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi – resources, activities, and read-alouds on Youtube.
Kate Messner Read, Wonder, and Learn – library of lessons that include read-alouds, activities, links to educational sources, and more.
#OperationStorytime – author, illustrator, celebrity live events on Twitter.
Check back for the next post Kids at Home: Reading, Listening & Writing Stories
Story Time From Space (gr K to 8) – read-alouds from NASA astronauts about space, science, engineering, and art.
One Globe Kids (ages 7+) – “a day in my life” photo and audio stories that build global and cultural awareness. Includes practice speaking vocabulary in the featured language.
Mighty Kind Kids (ages 5 to 12) – quarterly magazine to inspire a global community of kids who care (currently offering a free “homeschool bundle”, donation optional).
Educational apps, games, and video games from Common Sense Media
Above all, be patient and forgiving, for yourself and your kids. Building a growth mindset by everyone in your family over the next month(s) would be invaluable. Growth is the goal, not perfection!
Remember, we at MCFL want to be your partners along this unprecedented path. Contact us if you need assistance and we will reply as quickly as we can. We love to hear from our patrons and learn how we can serve you better. Please stay safe and continue to read the Kids at Home series.
n.a. (n.d.) Publisher online resources. The Children’s Book Council [website]
Common sense media. (n.d.). Apps that act like Math and Science tutors for homework help. Common Sense Media [website]
Deschute Public Library. DPL’s children’s authors – read-alouds! Draw! Join a book club! Live events on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and more! [BiblioCommons Web Resource list]
Morgan, Carly. (2020, March 25). COVID19 Camp: Free resources to educate and entertain your kids during quarantine. Everclevermom.com [blog]
Pope, Denise. (2020, March 14). How to keep kids engaged with learning when school is closed. Challenge Success. Stanford University. [Twitter]
Tolin, Lisa. (2020, March 16). How to homeschool during the coronavirus crisis with free resources. Today.com [web article]
Tracy, Liz. (2020, March 18). How to keep the kids busy during social distancing. Miami New Times [website]
Special thanks to the wonderful MCFL professionals for many valuable contributions, and the numerous organizations sharing their resources for free!