Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Many of us are finding ourselves in the same boat right now, stuck at home for the Coronavirus COVID-19 self-quarantine, event cancellations and postponements, and all of the above.
I have been reading so many negative comments and thoughts about this on social media, so I thought that I would share my thoughts on how we can take this time and use the bad lemons to make the sweetest lemonade over these next few weeks or months.
You can find links to facts on COVID-19 and answers to just about any questions you may have from the CDC's website, find some ways you can be a great neighbor in your community, and also some ways you can make the best of your time at home if you are one of the many staying homes right now.
First off, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) works worldwide 24/7 to protect the U.S. from disease threats. They state that they are updating their website each day at 4 pm, and they have a wealth of information on COVID-19 for you that are the facts-based only. Nothing has blown up out of proportion, just the facts.
Here are a few things you can find out directly from the CDC's website:
But EVERYTHING else, as in ALL things Coronavirus COVID-19, can be found on the CDC’s website here by clicking their lovely photo of the COVID-19 virus.
Now, after you've spent hours upon hours educating yourself on COVID-19 (because you can literally spend an entire day going from one page to another on the CDC’s website), I want to remind you that we are stuck at home, and we must make the best of it.
The next thing I'd like to focus on is how we can be better neighbors right now. One way is checking in on our elderly and those who have compromised immune systems. I'm sure you know more people than you think who have compromised immune systems. Someone who has just beat cancer or who is currently battling it. Someone with HIV or Diabetes. Or did you know that even someone who is living with Down Syndrome is at risk? I recently learned that people with Down Syndrome are at higher risk for respiratory illnesses. My friend, Valerie's son, has it, and as his advocate, she must bring awareness to this to keep him safe from COVID-19. Also, anyone taking steroids is suppressing their immune systems (like someone people suffering from migraines). I can think back to 2013 when I was on Prednisone a LOT! Every time I had a migraine that was 72 hours+, I'd get a 2 week round of it. For people like me and everyone mentioned above, it can be hard to fight off illnesses. But how we can be better neighbors is by making a shortlist of friends or neighbors we know who may be at risk; just give them a call or send an email to check on them every few days. A "phone train"!
Not only will it make them feel really nice and cared for, but it could also help save their life if they fall ill and do not have anyone at home to watch over them.
This could serve as a great welfare check for them.
How else can you be a "good neighbor"?
We know our local animal shelters and rescues still need help with their pets.
In my opinion, if you are young and healthy, this is a great time to become a temporary foster! With facts from the CDC, we know that COVID-9 is not passed from pets to humans, and there is a great need to foster it right now.
You can do another idea and thing, but you have to be very careful to start a food & toiletry drive in your neighborhood. Accept from those who have a definite surplus of goods, and take to those in your neighborhood who are critically low. You must be careful because you do not want to put yourself in danger of getting ill and do not want to risk spreading the virus as it could live on the surface of the item and be transferred to the person receiving it. I suggest having items left on porches of the donor for a certain amount of time, then left on porches of recipients for a certain amount of time, then, of course, followed by extreme hand-washing protocol by all parties is found on the CDC website. But the possibilities are endless!
If you are concerned with keeping your children occupied or how even to be a temporary home-school teacher for them, I have a little help to offer.
I have a few years of experience as a teacher under my belt. Now it has been some time since I've been in the classroom, and I was only with the "little guys." Still, I can totally relate that it can be chaos when you've gone from a routine to something like our current situation. It's not always easy for the parent to be taken seriously when this is a sudden and new role. But you will get through this!
We're making lemonade, remember?
I taught Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade for a total of 8 short years, so I know that it may be a huge change going from dropping off your kids at school to teaching them at home right now. Although we are not supposed to go out on field trips like pictured above, I've been collecting some cool links below for some online virtual field trips that will help get you through, in addition to the other online resources I've used in the past, some that my fellow teacher friends currently use, and a few I've seen floating around that I like.
The first thing I'm sure you may have already done, but if you haven't yet, is to ask your kid’s teacher(s) for a copy of what a typical lesson plan may look like as far as how much time is spent on each subject, then how much time is spent on each “resource class” like physical education, art, a second language like Spanish or French, and anything else like Library Science or Computer class they may take and try to stay on their daily and weekly routine as much as possible which is really easier said than done but should be attempted.
BUT…. this is also a time that you should really make your own, and add the "extras" to it and make it very special. A time that you can really bond with your kids and family. It is a critical time because many of us are not used to spending this much time together, and it is effortless for us to get angry easily. I see this ALL day long on Facebook. I see so many posts from friends complaining about how their kids are driving them nuts, and it's only been 2 days of quarantine. It makes me so sad to see this.
But this is an opportunity for us to work on our patience and take advantage of building our relationships with our families and making the sweetest lemonade out of the sourest and bitter lemons. Let this time be the most memorable time for your children that they'll treasure for years to come.
So reach out to your teachers, I’m sure they will be more than happy to help you, and I have compiled documents with links to many different free sites for you that will be free for a few weeks or months while the world is going through the COVID-19 self-quarantine situation.
I will be honest; I have not gone through each one yet. I have deleted a few that I didn’t like as a former educator. AND, as a former educator and as a human, I will say that I am not your child’s parent, so I advise you, YOU who are your child’s parent, to go to any site first and make sure that you see all of the material first and make sure you find it age-appropriate and that it will supplement what your child is learning or that it is something your child will enjoy. If there is anything wrong with any of the links or the sites that have been hacked, please let me know, and I will remove or update them.
I have also been given a few sites for you to go over as first-time “home-school” teachers that may offer you some assistance in this new chapter as well. It has been almost 10 years since I have taught, but I am thrilled to give any advice that I may offer. There are also some links to some online college courses, so maybe there is something you wanted to take to work on when you have some downtime if you can find some!
This is also a time for you to work on you, too. Gyms are closed, so if you need to get some calories burned, why not work on that yard project or reorganize the attic or garage that you've been putting off since you moved in? I have an entire set of children's books that have not been illustrated or published, so I'm going to try to work on those while I have the time. This is our chance to get all of those "I'll do it when I have time" things completed. You know, time to make some lemonade!
TIPS FOR PARENTS ON TEACHING FROM HOME
2. Online home-school platform & curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade. All main subjects are covered, plus extra-curriculum courses. http://discoveryk12.com/dk12/
3. A quick start resource to help families pull together a plan for surviving the next 1-2 months at home with their kids, but it can also be a time of slowing down and enjoying kids as they learn. Preschool through 8th grade. https://abetterwaytohomeschool.com/learning-at-home-everything-you-need-in-one-place.html
1. Helps kids learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art. https://artsology.com/
2. A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/
3. Kids Think Design explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design. http://www.kidsthinkdesign.org/
4. NGAkids interactives offer an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history. https://www.nga.gov/education/kids.html
1. Learn to code https://www.codecademy.com/
2. Scratch draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning. https://scratch.mit.edu/
3. Coding with Star Wars https://code.org/starwars
4. Coding for ages 4-10 https://www.kodable.com/
COOKING FOR KIDS
1. FREE Daily cooking experiments to do at home. http://www.clubscikidzmd.com/blog/
2. Cooking with kids, for kids and parents. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/recipes-for-kids/cooking-with-kids/recipes-kids-can-make
3. Illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook with their grown-ups. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math, and science. https://www.nomsterchef.com/nomster-recipe-library
1. Engineering challenges with things you have at home.
ONLINE FIELD TRIPS
1. The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. https://kids.sandiegozoo.org/
2. Yellowstone National Park. https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
3. Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover. https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/
4. Alaskan Wildlife cams http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=viewing.webcams
5. National Zoo to the Smithsonian Learning Lab right to their screen. https://www.si.edu/kids
6. Travel to Paris, France, to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip. https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
7. This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life. https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
8. This iconic museum located in London's heart allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/
1. Foreign languages https://www.duolingo.com/
2. Resources for Spanish practice https://www.difusion.com/campus/
3. Chinese learning activities https://chalkacademy.com/
4. 22 languages to learn https://www.memrise.com/
5. Music Based Spanish Learning https://rockalingua.com/
6. Vocabulary, grammar, listening activities, and games in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean, and Latin. https://conjuguemos.com/
1. Geography and animals https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
2. Tests of kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it plops players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are. https://www.geoguessr.com/
GOVERNMENT & ECONOMICS
1. Banzai exposes students to real-world financial dilemmas to teach them the importance of smart money management. https://www.teachbanzai.com/
2. This interactive website, hosted by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, allows your child to see the ins and outs of the U.S. government by taking a series of learning adventures with none other than Benjamin Franklin. https://bensguide.gpo.gov/
1. Grammar practice for middle grades https://www.classroomcereal.com/
2. Work on the 8 parts of speech https://www.grammaropolis.com/
1. 35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world. https://www.countryreports.org/
2. Digital archive of history. https://www.bunkhistory.org/
3. Online history classes for all ages preteen through adults https://school.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive
4. Science, Math, Social Studies https://www.ck12.org/student
5. Allows students to type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help them learn about history. http://www.whatwasthere.com/
6. Cool Kid Facts gives your child access to educational videos, pictures, quizzes, downloadable worksheets, and infographics. They can use these to learn about geography, history, science, animals, and even the human body. https://www.coolkidfacts.com/
7. Games, quizzes, and fact sheets take kids on a journey through time. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/forkids/
8. An interactive way to learn history https://www.mission-us.org/
1. Language games https://www.arcademics.com/
2. The Shurley English program for grades K-8 provides a clear, logical, and concrete approach to language arts. https://www.shurley.com/
1. Math practice from counting to algebra and geometry http://www.mathscore.com
3. Geometry: https://www.canfigureit.com/
4. Elm. Math through 6th grade https://boddlelearning.com/
5. Higher level math series... online video series with detailed solutions to more than a thousand publicly-released College Board SAT Math, Subject Test Math Level 1, and Subject Test Math Level 2 problems. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbQoCpvYRYRkRRvsObOPHaA?reload=9
6. Math skills. https://www.ck12.org/student/
7. Free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs (available in English and Spanish) https://www.curriculumassociates.com/supporting-students-away-from-school
8. K-8 online math program looks at how a student is solving problems to adjust accordingly and build a unique learning path for them. https://www.dreambox.com/at-home
9. Math games https://www.arcademics.com/
10. 3D printing projects and Coding projects involving math and other K-12 subjects https://www.instructables.com/member/EdgertonCenter/instructables/
11. Math Videos with lessons, real-life uses of math, famous actors https://www.hmhco.com/math-at-work
12. Enter your math problem or search term, press the button, and they show you the step-by-step work and answer instantly. 2nd grade through college. https://www.mathcelebrity.com/online-math-tutor.php
13. Elm. Math games, logic puzzles, and educational resources https://www.mathplayground.com/
14. Math labs and simulations https://phet.colorado.edu/
15. Adaptive curriculum in Math and ELA for Grades K-8https://www.scootpad.com/
16. A wide range of math content from middle school through AP Calculus. https://deltamath.com/overview
17. Math practice https://xtramath.org/#/home/index
18. Your child can play games, learn fun facts, and find out how to turn coin collecting into a hobby. https://www.usmint.gov/learn/kids
19. Math and reading games https://www.abcya.com/
20. Short videos about numbers that help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun. https://www.numberphile.com/
21. Math and Reading games https://www.funbrain.com/
22. Math as a fun part of your daily family routine http://bedtimemath.org/
23. Fractions practice http://www.mathchimp.com/freddysfractions.php
24. Math and logic problems for ages 5 and up to adult https://www.aplusclick.org/
25. Math Games, Logic Puzzles and Brain Builders https://www.mathplayground.com/
26. Math games galore https://gridclub.com/
Algebra games for kids https://www.dragonboxapp.com/
27. Website allows students to play basic games to reinforce math skills and compete against the computer or others https://www.mangahigh.com/en-us/
28. K-5 curriculum that builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students https://www.zearn.org/
1. Music is for everyone https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments
2. Introductory and intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers, and calculators. https://www.musictheory.net/
3. Poetry and music https://www.thewell.world/mindful-music/mindful-poetry-moments
4. Prodigies is a colorful music curriculum for kids 1-12 that will teach your kids how to play their first instrument, how to sing in tune & how to understand the language of music! 21 for free https://prodigiesmusic.com/
5. QuaverMusic is offering free access to general music activities to all impacted schools, including free student access at-home https://www.quavermusic.com/info/at-home-resources/
6. The Theta Music Trainer offers a series of online courses and games for ear training and music theory. https://trainer.thetamusic.com/en
7. Music practice transformed https://www.smartmusic.com/
8. Music Based Spanish Learning https://rockalingua.com/
9. Let’s kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos. https://www.virtualmusicalinstruments.com/
1. Kids books read by famous people https://www.storylineonline.net/
2. Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
3. Printable board games, activities, and more for phonics and reading, all using evidence-based methods. Can be customized to any student's needs, including creating flashcards for other subjects. https://dogonalogbooks.com/printables/
4. Free Printables for PreK-2nd Grade https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Literacy-With-The-Littles/Price-Range/Free
5. A safe research site for elementary-level readers. They are offering -- free 24/7 access USERNAME: read (case sensitive)PASSWORD: read (case sensitive)https://www.facts4me.com/
6. Free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs (available in English and Spanish) https://www.curriculumassociates.com/supporting-students-away-from-school
7. Engaging reading game for grades 2-8 combines strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages to create a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game. https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape/
8. Free printables library with activities for children 0-6. https://www.littlesparkcompany.com/printables-library
9. Games to get "into the book" https://reading.ecb.org/
10. Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss https://www.seussville.com/
11. Phonics skills https://www.starfall.com/
12. Course sets (Levels 1–5) combine and thoroughly cover phonics, reading, writing, spelling, literature, grammar, punctuation, art, and geography—all in one easy-to-use, beautiful course. https://www.goodandbeautiful.com/
13. Phonics worksheets for kids https://www.funfonix.com/
14. Phonics and learning to read https://readingeggs.com/
15. Free stories online ages 3-12 https://www.freechildrenstories.com/
16. Novel Effect makes storytime a little more fun for kids (and grown-ups too!) As you read aloud from print books (or ebooks!), music, sound effects, and character voices play at just the right moment, adjusting and responding to your voice. https://noveleffect.com/
17. ReadWorks is an online resource of reading passages and lesson plans for students of all levels K-12. https://www.readworks.org/
18. Sight-reading and sight-singing practice exercises. https://www.sightreadingfactory.com/
19. Reading passages for grades 3-12, with reading comprehension and discussion questions. https://www.commonlit.org/
20. Reading games. https://www.abcya.com/
1. Free at-home kids yoga lesson plans https://littletwistersyoga.com/online-store/
2. Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. https://www.gonoodle.com/
3. Kid-friendly workouts — choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout. https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts
4. At home, OT, PT, and ST resources are designed to build children's skills through movement and play. https://www.theottoolbox.com
1. An online physics problem and video bank designed for conceptual, standard, honors, or AP1 physics. https://www.positivephysics.org/home
2. Biology https://www.biologysimulations.com/
3. high school chemistry https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/articles-by-topic.html
4. Biology https://www.biologysimulations.com/
5. Hands-on Elm. science videos. https://www.backpacksciences.com/science-simplified
6. Science https://www.ck12.org/student/
7. 80+ do at-home science activities https://elementalscience.com/blogs/news/80-free-science-activities
8. Science labs and simulations https://phet.colorado.edu/
9. Science simulations, scientist profiles, and other digital resources for middle school science and high school biologyhttps://sepuplhs.org/
10. Science projects that can be completed with or without Internet access https://sciencespot.net/Pages/classhome.html
11. Next Generation Science video game focused on a middle school where students directly engage in scientific phenomena as they solve problems. https://www.tytoonline.com/
12. National Geographic Young Explorers is a magazine designed specifically for kindergarten and first-grade students. Children can listen to the magazine being read to them as they follow along with the highlighted text. https://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html
13. Learn all about earthquakes https://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids/
14. Learn all about the periodic table. https://www.chemicool.com/
15. Space science for kiddos. https://www.nasa.gov/kidsclub/index.html
16. From rainbows to tornadoes and winter storms to tsunamis, meteorologist Crystal Wicker breaks down the fascinating world of weather. http://www.weatherwizkids.com/
17. Cool Kid Facts gives your child access to educational videos, pictures, quizzes, downloadable worksheets, and infographics. They can use these to learn about geography, history, science, animals, and even the human body. https://www.coolkidfacts.com/
18. Innerbody explores the 11 bodily systems in depth. With interactive models and detailed explanations, this website will help them learn more about the amazing human body's internal mechanics. https://www.innerbody.com/htm/body.html
19. This educational website hosted by the Smithsonian Museum takes a deep dive into ocean life. https://ocean.si.edu/
20. Interactive video earth science-based curriculum supplement. https://www.everyday-earth.com/
21. Guide to gardening for kids https://web.extension.illinois.edu/firstgarden/
22. Amphibian unit studies https://premeditatedleftovers.com/naturally-frugal-mom/amphibians-unit-study-resources/