This year is proving to be a strange one for all of us. But it is especially odd for children and families faced with nationwide school and childcare closings. In a nation where even two-parent households often rely on two full-time incomes, juggling children and work is quickly becoming a struggle.
How and when school districts will reopen remains a mystery. But, in the meantime, working parents have to find ways to keep kids educated and stimulated while juggling a range of other insanity such as financial issues, working from home, and more. But how!?
Here is a list of four free options to help families learn and grow while stuck at home.
- Prodigy Math. Create your character and traverse an online world battling monsters and evil wizards with your mad math skills. The game is aligned with standard grade-level curriculums and adapts to suit the player’s learning style and capabilities. As a parent, you can view your child’s progress and evaluations of where they excel or struggle. Oh, did I mention the characters can have pets?
- Free through June 30th; Stride is a game-based learning system for children up to grade eight. The program promotes learning through gamification. Students create an avatar then earn coins by answering questions and watching educational videos in subjects including math, science, reading, and language arts. Meeting accomplishment goals rewards users with unique badges.
- PBS Kids. Created by a station notorious for developing educational television for children, PBS Kids provides videos and games to help with your child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Programming features characters from PBS’s popular children’s shows such as Wild Kratts, Mollie of Denali, Let’s Go Luna, Daniel Tiger, Nature Cat, and more. Activities are not only featured by standard “new” and “most popular” divisions, but also sectioned out for engineering, shapes, numbers, science, spelling, and so forth.
- Big Universe. This online resource provides access to more than 17,000 eBooks, personalized reading recommendations, advanced speech recognition, and interactive reading comprehension assessments. Big Universe helps students learn to interact and understand what they are reading across a variety of subjects. Even better, access is currently being offered free of charge.
While standard schooling may be derailed, there are several free and affordable tools to help families stay on track during the downtime. And, if you’re lucky, the latest learning techniques and unique approaches might help keep the kids out of your hair long enough to get something else done.