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Best Online Education Resources for Kids and Families During Coronavirus School Closures

Online education resources for families staying home due to coronavirus

Published on: March 16, 2020

family sitting at the kitchen table working on schoolwork

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, dozens of states have closed schools and child-care programs. It’s a brave new world as parents try to figure out how to keep the kids from experiencing a massive slide backwards in learning in the coming weeks. Luckily, many education platforms are offering free access to online learning.

We’ve rounded up a list of resources for pre-K through college in both core and elective subjects, most of them free or temporarily free. There are also a few fun options such as home piano lessons, art lessons and even yoga. Who knows? Maybe your student will discover a new passion during this unscheduled time off. 

The University of Washington’s College of Education’s early learning faculty has created two handy guides of free online resources to support families with young children during this period of school and child-care program closures. This Early Childhood Resources guide can be downloaded here; the Families With Elementary-Age Children Resources Guide includes additional free education resources for families spanning literacy, mathematics, science, social studies and physical activity and projects.

General Education

CK-12 Foundation

Includes grades 1–12 and even a few college courses. It can be translated into several languages and also offers some extracurriculars, such as photography and astronomy. Cost: Always free.

123 Homeschool 4 Me

Do you just want some worksheets for kids to complete during time off? 123 Homeschool 4 Me offers free printable worksheets on all basic subjects for pre-K through high school. Cost: Free.

Khan Academy Kids

Adorable cartoon animals teach kids ages 2–7 in this free interactive learning app, compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Aligned with common core standards, the app offers a fun learning experience. Cost: Free.

Khan Academy

Check the library of lessons on a variety of standards-aligned subjects for grades K through early college. Exercises, quizzes and tests are offered to master content. Cost: Free.

Discovery K12

This homeschool platform offers complete online curricula for pre-K through grade 12 in language arts, reading/literature, math, science, history and social studies, visual and performing arts, and physical education Cost: Always free.

Scholastic Learn at Home

This free learning resource provides 20 days’ worth of active learning modules designed to reinforce educational opportunities for students ages 3–13 who are unable to attend school. Cost: Free.

Math

Bedtime Math

This free app (available for iPhone or Android) for learners ages 4–9 offers mini lessons so that you can make math fun for kids and a part of the family’s daily routine, just like stories at bedtime. It also offers books and worksheets, as well as an option to receive math fun by email.

Times Tables Rock Stars

If you are concerned that your kids will forget their math facts, this platform is offering free access to their math facts tests, both printable and online. Times Tables Rock Stars focuses on multiplication and division, while sister platform NumBots reviews addition and subtraction. Cost: 60 days free.

DreamBox

DreamBox offers online math lesson in three age-appropriate environments, K–grade 2, grades 3–5 and grades 6–8. Learners set a weekly goal and level up with avatars. Designed by teachers to align with school standards, DreamBox is available in Spanish. Cost: Parents can sign up for 90 days free through April 30 using this link

Unlock Math

This feature-rich online math curriculum for students in grades 6–12 is popular with homeschooling parents. Anyone who signs up for the 14-day free trial due to school closures can email Unlock Math to have their trial extended to 3 weeks (possibly longer, depending on circumstances). Families are free to sign up as many children as needed for the service. Cost: Free 14-day trial with extension.

Delta Math

Delta Math is a free website for teachers and students covering a wide range of math content from middle school through AP calculus. Cost: Free.

Language Arts

Dog on a Log Books

The mom behind this site homeschools her two children, one of whom has dyslexia. She creates and makes available printable board games, books, phonics flashcards and other downloadable learning materials for free.

Writing Legends

This comprehensive program helps students in grades 3–6 navigate through all aspects of the writing process. Cost: Free through July, 2020.

Dreamscape

Students become stronger readers with this imaginative, interactive literacy game, tailored for grades 2–8. Download the app on Google Play or the Apple App store. Cost: Free.

Typing Club

Kids can bone up on their touch typing skills with this free, interactive game. Cost: Free

History

Bunk History

This cool interactive digital archive of American history uses a variety of media to explore the multi-dimensional connections between the past and present. Cost: Free

Active History

This award-winning site for students ages 11–18 activates history through interactive simulations, decision-making games, quizzes, worksheets and detailed lesson plans. Learners can build a virtual castle, interview Henry the 8th and more. Cost: One month free.

Historians 4SC

Students explore and address the societal and cultural differences of a previous time and write an op-ed article from the perspective of that period. Students’ work on the website is free to access. Cost: Free.

Sciences

Vroom

Vroom offers science tips and printables for kids 0–5. Users can even receive tips via text message and register more than one child to the same phone number. Cost: Free.

Club SciKidz

On its blog, Club SciKidz posts a daily free cooking or science activity to do at home. Cost: Free.

Backpack Sciences  

This free video series presents hands-on science lessons for elementary school students.

Biology Simulations

Discover simulations and virtual labs for biology topics, including evolution, ecology and cellular energetics. Cost: Free.

BiteScis

BiteScis lessons integrate current scientific research into NGSS-aligned lessons aimed at introductory high-school-level courses. Most lessons are easily modified for remote learning. Cost: Free.

ChemMatters

The American Chemical Society makes ChemMatters magazine content available online for high schoolers. Cost: Free.

Foreign Language

Campus Difusión

This digital language-learning platform for Spanish teachers and students provides access to videos, online activities, projectable materials for the classroom, and sample units and audiobooks. Cost: Free.

BetterChinese (Mandarin)

This site is making its Chinese language lessons for pre-K through college students available for end-users. Individuals can sign up for a free one-month trial and teachers can apply for a free online group license.

Chalk Academy

Chinese and Korean language learners and teachers can access engaging activities, books, songs, multilingual teaching tips and YouTube content. Cost: Free.

Duolingo

Choose from a variety of languages and learn in bite-sized lessons in a game-based format. Cost: Base content is always free.

ESL Library

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESL Library is offering its “Plus” subscription plan to all standard members; its printable lessons on pandemics and the coronavirus are also currently free for non-members.

FluentKey

Made by language teachers for language teachers, FluentKay offers hundreds of educational videos in Chinese, English, French and Spanish. Cost: One month of professional service is being offered for free with code STAYSAFE; basic subscription is always free.

Music

Busy Kids Do Piano at Home

Piano learners can access one free month of lessons with coupon code PIANOATHOME.

Flat

This cloud-based collaborative music education platform connects students work in real-time on the same sheet music, whether in a classroom setting or working remotely. Cost: Access is free through the end of the 2019–2020 school year.

Chrome Music Lab

Chrome Music Lab makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Cost: Free

Music Theory

Music Theory offers free introductory and intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers and calculators, as well as two low-cost apps for iOS.

Physical Education and Health

Walkabouts

Walkabouts offers web-based standards-aligned lessons for pre-K to second-grade students that integrate movement with language arts, math and reading content. Cost: Temporarily free during COVID-19 school closures.

Carone Learning

Carone Learning is offering its health and physical education courses for K–12 students free through June 30, 2020.

GoNoodle

GoNoodle’s video-based movement and mindfulness content is created by child development experts and is free everywhere kids are.

Little Twisters Yoga and Emotional Wellness

To put a little love into the world during school and activities closure, Little Twisters is making all of its yoga products free.

Social Studies + Civics

World101

World101 provides comprehensive teaching resources for its learning modules related to the issues, forces and actors that shape our world. Cost: Free.

CountryReports

CountryReports’ robust database of unique online content helps students learn about the cultures and countries of the world.

iCivics

iCivics is a nonprofit organization that provides educational online games and lesson plans to promote civics education and encourage students to become active citizens. Cost: Free.

Special Needs

Boardmaker

Boardmaker is a collection of standardized picture symbols used for communication with students who are strong visual learners. This includes those with autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, speech and language disorders, and behavioral disorders.

Dog on a Log Books

The downloadable learning materials on this site include dyslexia resources.

BWS Education Consulting

Students and parents are welcome to download and use any of the test prep and college admissions guides on this site for free.

Everydae SAT Prep

Everydae is offering its SAT math tutoring program for free. Use the code HOMEPREP when signing up.

Fiveable AP Students

Fievable offers free resources for AP students, including live reviews, trivia and study guides. Cost: Always free.

Theater + Art

Digital Theater Plus

Three million students at over 2,000 academic institutions in 80+ countries have unlimited access to some of the world’s finest theater productions, unique backstage insights, practitioner interviews and written analysis. Cost: Temporarily free.

Artrageous With Nate

This multiple-time Emmy Award-winning digital series travels the globe to explore where creativity is happening. Cost: Free.

Creating a Masterpiece

This program offers fine art training for kids ages 5 and older. Cost: The first month of access to the platform is free with the code Corona2020.

Arttango

The curriculum-aligned online art lessons for K–grade 5 students on this site are all free.

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