Life has felt rather surreal lately. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has stopped most of the world in its tracks. Schools across the country are closing and parents are scrambling to figure out how to manage work, school, kids, and the threat of contracting or spreading the coronavirus.
You or someone you may know might be facing this daunting, but exciting (is that too optimistic?), task of homeschooling. Whether your child’s school is providing weekly plans or you already homeschool, having quality resources available is essential and can enhance their educational experience.
I am thrilled to see many resource providers and educational publishing companies making their web-based materials accessible to the public for free during this time. In addition, zoos are offering live webcams and informational lectures, and some of the world’s most popular museums are providing virtual tours and other educational resources.
Determining which resources are best for you and your kids can be an overwhelming task. There are so many good ones out there! Below is a list of some tried-and-true resources and others newly created to meet the educational demands of students, parents, and teachers during this time. The list is far from exhaustive, but my hope is that these resources will inspire and assist you in navigating the waters of home education with your kids.
Have fun and explore!
P.S.: Visit the BioLogos Homeschool Forum and share some of your ideas and favorite resources!
Podcasts or Videos
Tumble: Science Podcasts For Kids – Elementary and middle school
Brains On! – A podcast for kids and adults. Hosted by Molly Bloom and co-hosted by a new science-curious kid each week! Best for elementary age kiddos.
TED Talks – 35 Must-Watch TED Talks for Kids and Teens – (Parents, please be aware that there could be some objectionable language in these podcasts. We recommend previewing before watching them with your children.)
Audible is offering free audiobooks for kids while schools are closed.
Museums and Zoos
Museums and Zoos are being heavily impacted by the social distancing recommendations and many are closed indefinitely. However, they are finding creative ways to keep the public engaged. Visit your local zoo and museums online and see what they are doing for their communities (and consider a donation if you can). Here are a few examples that offer unique options:
San Diego Zoo – Watch giraffes, penguins, and many more animals live via multiple webcams.
Monterey Bay Aquarium – Watch mesmerizing jellyfish gracefully float in their habitat or playful sea otters being fed by their handlers. The Bay webcam offers a soothing and beautiful backdrop too.
Cincinnati Zoo – Follow Fiona the Hippo and many other amazing animals on the Home Safari Facebook Live page each weekday at 3 pm. This will be available until April 11, 2020.
The British Museum – Explore the British Museum with this interactive, virtual tour.
Smithsonian Museum – The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum. It offers many amazing teacher and student resources to help you and your students go deeper into science and history. Explore and Learn, Science specific reading, activities, and resources, and other miscellaneous curriculum resources for educators.
Museum of Science and Industry – This museum, devoted entirely to the exploration of science, provides a number of great educational resources for students. Check out the hands-on science experiments.
Online Field Trips
Freedom Schooling – This site provides many different kinds of virtual field trips. A few fun examples: Buckingham Palace, The Great Wall of China, or Wilson Island – The Great Barrier Reef. Your kids can explore the world from their home!
Discovery Education – These no-cost virtual field trips come with companion lesson plans and hands-on activities.
Online teaching tools and resources
BioLogos Education Supplemental Online Material – A wide variety of quality teacher and student resources that will enhance science education.
Brain Pop – K-12 – This resource usually requires a paid subscription, but is temporarily available for free for families during the coronavirus outbreak. Simply create a family account to gain access to many great educational videos and activities. See especially the science section.
Elemental Science is a homeschool publishing company – check out their 80+ free science activities that cover biology, earth science, astronomy, chemistry, and physics. It also includes many general science activities and games.
Khan Academy offers a wide array of educational videos, tutorials, and exercises. It is not limited to science and can provide your kids with extra help in all of their core subject areas.
SciShow – Hank Green creatively explores a vast array of scientific topics on his YouTube channel.
John Spencer – Project-based learning guru John Spencer provides many great ideas on his YouTube channel for getting your kids involved in hands-on and project-based learning. You might want to try one of these free projects, mini-projects, or other classroom resources. Most of these projects include slideshows, videos, and handouts.
TEDed@Home – TED-Ed is gathering together educators and speakers to create free, interactive, video-based lessons that you can use with your kids every day.
Test of Faith Homeschool Resource is a free resource created by the Faraday Institute to help high school students explore the difficult questions that can come up when delving into topics on science and faith and Christian apologetics.
Bible Project is an animated video series devoted to making the stories of the Bible accessible to all. Watch these videos with your kids as a family devotional.
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