At Home Learning – Ideas for Parents
Updated: Jul 18
Parents and teachers: Below is a list of OVER 20 WAYS you can keep your children learning while at home! While many of the at home learning ideas are strongly tied to literacy, there are also suggestions for math and science at home as well.
I was just notified today that all Ohio public schools with be on an extended “spring break” for three week due to Corona Virus, or COVID-19. While I’m glad health and safety is a priority, this is the WEIRDEST thing I’ve every experienced in schools. It’s such a last minute, quick thing!
Parents who now have kiddos at home for an unexpected three weeks, here are some ideas to pass the time (when reading books isn’t working anymore) and keep their children learning despite the circumstances.
Teachers who now need to gather material for remote learning (however that looks for your school/district), here are some ideas for you to send home with families or add to your remote learning plans.
Please keep in mind that this is a very quickly assembled list – if there’s ANYTHING else that could be added for the benefit of teachers and parents that need ideas, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE comment below!
Reading At Home
Epic – THIS SITE IS AWESOME! And free! Literally any type of book your child may even think they want to read or hear read aloud is available on this site. Students may have an account through their classroom already, but if not you can create a FREE 30 DAY ACCOUNT. You’ll probably want to continue the membership after that 30 days, though!
Storyline Online – This is a huge collection of popular children’s books being read aloud by actors (mostly)! It’s an excellent way to listen to stories with kids. It’s also FREE with no account needed.
Vooks – Another website for children to listen to stories being read aloud. These are also animated as well. While this site isn’t typically free, they offer a 1 month free trial! What a great time to start that up, just don’t forget to cancel if you don’t want to pay for it later on.
Readworks – This site offers articles and passages based on student lexile levels, grade level, and topic of interest. This site is created for teachers, but is free for them! If your child’s teacher uses readworks (you may need to contact them and ask) they should be able to give you information for student sign-up/log-in info.
Learning A-Z – This company includes Reading A-Z, RAZ Kids, Headsprout, Writing A-Z, Vocabulary A-Z, and more. Your child may likely already have login information for one of these options, but if not they offer a FREE 1-week (I think) trial for any of their products. Each of these apps/products are catered to your child’s learning needs and current level of learning. I have always been overly happy with these products when I’ve used them with students of mine!
NewsELA – This site provides FREE articles on a huge variety of interesting topics for kids. Sign up for free and find interesting things to learn!!
Oxford Owl – I have not yet used this site, but came across it while searching for ideas for at-home reading. It’s a collection of ebooks, games, and activities for kids and also has some advice and suggestions for parents. The best part — it’s FREEEEEE!
International Children’s Digital Library – While I don’t know that this site is as user-friendly for kids as some of the others on this list, it is yet another large and FREE way to access books for kids of any age and interest.
Open Library – This is pretty much an online public library. Sign up and get access to books of all types and levels. Parents, you can “borrow” books from this site as well!
Amazon’s FREE ebooks for kids (Kindle) – Have Amazon Prime? I had no idea until now, but Prime offers tons of ebooks for FREE for kids of all ages. Who knew?!?!? Yet another reason why Amazon has my heart….
Barnes and Noble FREE NOOK books – If you’re more of a NOOK kind of reader and enjoy Barnes and Noble, they also have a large selection of ebooks for FREE!
Mrs. P’s Magic Library – Anyone remember MiMi from the Drew Carey Show?!?! Well, she now acts as Mrs. P and offers free stories on her website. Check it out!! Another FREE resources that doesn’t require an account.
Mrs. Clark’s Reading Corner – YouTube offers some excellent educational channels, but you’ll have to carefully monitor this one, of course. My friend and previous coworker has curated an AWESOME collection of books that she reads aloud, complete with sound effects!
Other Educational Ideas for Home
BrainPop – This site goes beyond just literacy learning at home. BrainPop and BrainPopJr. create short but informative videos for students, teaching them important topics across ALL subject areas. There are activities and quizzes related to the topics for students to complete as well. Kids LOVE BrainPop and right now they’re giving both schools and families FREE ACCESS to their video library!
ABCya – This website is full of educational games that are grade-level specific and connected to standards, but are also REALLY fun for kids! Hop on when your kiddos need to learn and practice, but also need to have some game-like fun as well!
Grab a whole bunch of post-its. Or scrap paper works too, but post-its stick to walls! Anyways, Use them to match letters (upper/lowercase), words with similar phonetic features (cat/mat, run/rat, scratch/pitch, etc.), math facts to answers. Or write a word on each post-it and have your child put them in order to make a sentence.
Find a recipe and bake or cook with your child! Not only does this offer excellent practice in reading and comprehension, but it also offers great practice in math and science ideas. They can do it, I promise!
Open up Word or GoogleDocs and let your child write/type! For younger children this can be great practice in letter identification. Let them type their spelling list or sight words for added practice. Or, let them type up a story, list, etc. The possibilities are endless. Print it out and have them illustrate their writing and feel like a REAL author!
Put shaving cream, yogurt, whipped cream, etc. on the counter top. Call out letters/sounds, sight words, and/or spelling words and let your child write in it. This may be messy, but it sure is fun! And if you use shaving cream, your child will not only be learning but will also be helping you clean! Win-win!
Along those same lines, put salt in a plate and let students write in it. Just like above, call out letters/sounds, spelling words, and/or sight words to get your child practicing in a fun and different way.
Practice letters, words, numbers, etc. with sidewalk chalk.
To combine a couple of the above suggestions – First, find a simple recipe for playdough and make it. Then, use the playdough to make letters and/or words!
Go on a nature walk. Collect interesting items along the way. When you get home, find different ways to sort and group those items. Sort by size, color, shape, WHATEVER! Let your child decide on the categories. You’ll be surprised by what they come up with if you let them explain their thinking! Add some writing by having students list the items they found or write sentences about the groups of items they made.
Take the opportunity to let kids simply play outside! Teach them a game you used to play as a kid that they don’t yet know. Let them teach you a new game. Better yet, get creative and think up a brand, spankin’ new game!
While some of these suggestions may sound a bit “young”, try them with your older elementary kids. From my experience, you’ll be surprised how much they actually enjoy some of these activities!
I hope this helps keep your students learning while at home! Again, if you have any other ideas, add them in the comments below!
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