It’s been a crazy couple of weeks especially if you’re one of the parents who are now tasked with homeschooling multiple kids while working full-time from home. Many are now juggling their workload with navigating google classroom and counting or dividing apples in the fridge with their kids all while cooking meals and keeping the house looking at least habitable based on acceptable human standards.
If you are one of those parents who are losing their mind figuring out how to make this work, we’ve got a few suggestions that could possibly lighten your load. Here are a few resources and tools that will help make homeschooling a whole lot easier. Most of these will allow your kids to do activities on their own buying you a few hours so you finally video conference with your colleagues in peace.
1. Epic -Online Library (reading)
This is an awesome online library especially made for little kids. With one account you can create multiple profiles in case you have two, three, or four kids. They have a whole selection of titles about different topics—from sharks and dinosaurs to spaceships and astronauts they have everything to keep your children reading for hours.
Your kids can each have a customizable profile that goes with a level kind of like the ones they have on online games. Their level increases the more they read so they’ll be encouraged to keep reading. The app tracks how long the kids read and which books they’ve finished so you can check in on them after a few hours. It has educational videos and other resources in-app. The best part about Epic is that they have read aloud. These are books your tiny tots can “read” on their own. The narrators read the stories to your kids so you don’t have to!
They offer a 30-day free trial for parents and free remote student access until June 30, 2020, because they know students are stuck indoors. For the latter though, you’d have to coordinate with your kids’ teacher since they’d have to invite you to get the free access.
2. IXL Learning (math and English)
This site features tons of interactive quizzes and questions that will keep your kids occupied for hours. Many teachers use this to augment their teaching and help kids learn from home. The site has a diagnostics and analytics feature that help teachers and parents assess the kids’ prior knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. It can track individual kids’ milestones through the progress and improvement report.
Topics are categorized based on the student’s grade level in school and within one-grade level topics are further divided into the level of knowledge and learning. So kindergarten kids, for instance, can start off working on activities for those who can count to three and then they can work their way up from there.
3. Prodigy (math)
This is one of the most engaging math platforms out there designed to entice kids who don’t like math. And you have got to try it to know what the fuss is about. The makers managed to effectively incorporate math problems kids have to solve into a cool RPG game. It has a well-designed interface that looks a lot like any other RPG so it's easy for kids to get hooked.
But before they can advance to the next level, or use their powers or whatever it is they do inside an RPG, (collect gems?) the kids need to solve a math problem. It’s designed for kids in 1st to 8th grade. It has beautiful graphics and a fun rewards system to keep users engaged for hours. Like any other online game it has gears and accessories kids can collect and 100+ pets they can keep in the game.
4. Singing Walrus (counting, alphabet, writing, general information)
This website is best for younger kids who are learning how to count, do basic math, and write letters. Unlike the others you see on YouTube of cheesy videos with weird graphics and weird robotic narration, this one has cute graphics—think talking crab—that will have even mommy and daddy singing songs. The songs are catchy so you might find yourself humming them in the shower.
There’s a section for their video collection you can also find on YouTube, but the site itself offers a little extra with free resources like downloadable alphabet and number worksheets, as well as flashcards you can print. You will have to sign up through to get access to the downloadable materials.
5. BrainPop (science, math, social studies, art, engineering, and tech)
This is a comprehensive online resource for bigger kids who need help with subjects like science, social studies, even engineering & tech among many others. They are currently offering free access to students who have been affected by school closures, you can either sign up as a teacher or as parents for an account to be used at home by your family.
6. Gryphon (parental control router)
Gryphon is a router that also works as a parental control device that allows adults to easily manage their kids’ gadget and internet use at home. You just need to download an app on your phone, register all the devices your kids use at home and then through the app you can view their browsing history, block pages you wouldn’t want them to visit, and enforce safe search that will automatically filter your child’s search results.
The best thing about this app though is that you can schedule your children’s screen time. You can block the internet in their device at certain times of the day, so you can stop nagging them to turn their devices off at bedtime. You can finally work from home in peace knowing they won’t accidentally stumble upon inappropriate content when you leave them alone to use their gadgets.
The browsing history will make sure they stick to the educational resource they should be exploring. If you live in Southern California, you may even be eligible to apply for a free router. Gryphon is donating 100 routers to help parents who are homeschooling their children. It’s limited to those in the area right now though so if you or any of your friends are from there you can apply to get a free gryphon parental control router here.