Tips To Keep Your Kids Learning At Home

The kids are home from school for who-knows-how-long, and you may be out of work or working remotely for the unforeseeable future. It’s a complicated time for everyone, but especially for single parents. 

Shepherd’s Village wants to be a resource center for you to find the necessary tools to keep thriving. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular tips and encouragement. 

The idea that children may not return to school again this year feels daunting. It raises a lot of questions about how they will continue to learn and grow over the next several months. We asked one of our favorite homeschool moms to share her insights into how to keep your kids learning and growing during this time off school. 

How To Keep Your Kids Learning

First, give yourself a TON of grace. You didn’t sign up to homeschool your kids and no one is expecting you to be super-mom. There are a lot of free online tools that are so fun and engaging, your children will hardly know they are “doing school.”  

I recommend staying positive and excited about these opportunities and not making them a battle you feel you need to win. Let your kids lead you by observing what captures their attention the most and then taking advantage of their interests. Focus on helping your child develop a love for learning more than trying to complete their school year.  

Free (or mostly free) Online Educational Tools

Many, but not all, online tools are geared toward PK through grade 8. There is one free resource that is extremely helpful for students of ALL ages, including high school. 

Khan Academy provides free online classes for all grade levels. 

Developed by Sal Khan, this non-profit educational organization offers free video tutorials and interactive exercises. The Academy’s declared mission is “changing education for the better by providing a free, world-class education to anyone anywhere.” 

Grade-level subjects include: 

  • Math (PK-Highschool)
  • ELA (grade 2-8)
  • Science & Engineering
  • Computing
  • Arts & Humanity
  • Economics & Finance
  • SAT & ACT Prep

Get Inspired: Need some inspiration to teach your kids? Watching Sal Khan’s Ted Talk on Testing for Mastery and Not for Tests.

Additional fun, free, and educational resources include: 

Scholastic Learning: Learn from Home

Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. 

Math: Prodigy Math

Motivate your child to learn more math. Prodigy Math is a fun, engaging math game that encourages self-paced math practice at grade-level for students in K-8. Your kids won’t even realize how much they’re learning because it’s so much fun.

Reading/LA: Dreamscape

The most engaging reading game available for grades 2-8. Combining strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages, Dreamscape creates a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game. 

Health & PE: Go Noodle

Get the wiggles and giggles out. GoNoodle engages kids with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at home and everywhere kids are!

Typing & Technology: Typing.com 

Build essential skills with Typing.com’s comprehensive curriculum including keyboarding, digital literacy, and coding. Students learn valuable technology fundamentals – designed by experts for students of every skill level.

Science: Camp Wonderopolis

Camp Wonderopolis is a free online learning destination that’s full of fun, interactive STEM and literacy-building topics boosted by Maker experiments. It can help build vocabulary, background knowledge in science, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and other literacy skills along the way.

Zoology: Zoo Cams

The San Diego Zoo has several live cams (pandas, penguins, polar bears), as does the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

2020 Space Exploration: NASA Mars 2020

The Mars 2020 mission with its Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The mission is timed for a launch opportunity in July 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars. NASA’s Mars 2020 site is set up for kids to engage with this mission.

Government: iCivics

It’s an important election year and iCivics brings the subject of the American government to life. Its innovative games and supporting resources teach young people to understand how our political systems work by allowing them to experience it first-hand and empowering them to address real-world issues.

History: BBC History App

Discover history’s treasures. BBC is putting history in your hands with their first-ever augmented reality app, Civilisations AR. The app brings art and culture direct to you from across the world. Students will learn the secrets of ancient Egypt, reveal hidden layers beneath Renaissance masterpieces, and learn more about the origins of these cultural treasures and the people who made them.

Netflix and other streaming channels are loaded with educational shows as well. Since streaming channels are always changing their content, a quick Google search for “Educational shows on Netflix” (for example) will give you the latest results. 

Full Online Curriculum for K-8

Maybe you are considering having a full online curriculum in one place for your kids. Time4Learning requires a monthly subscription but it can be canceled at any time. It is a good option for finishing the school year at home. 

Loosely Hold to a Schedule

Kids actually thrive on structure, even though they may resist it. Stay organized and intentional by creating a schedule. But hold to it loosely, because…again…GRACE. You need to teach peace and harmony as well as provide opportunities.

Here’s a sample of what your schedule could look like:

9-9:40 Math

Work at your own pace on Khan Academy or Prodigy Math. Level up one skill per day or set a goal of the number of problems to solve.

9:40-10:00 Recess

Get outside if possible. No screen time. Run, jump rope, bounce the ball, be active. 

10-10:30: ELA/Reading, Vocab, Grammar

Use Khan Academy or Dreamscapes to move forward. If time is leftover, use typing.com 

10:30-11:00: Silent Reading Time

Grab a snack and a drink. Spend time reading a book alone. 30 minutes of quiet time. Mom needs it as much as the child.

11:30-11:45: Get the wiggles out

Use Go Noodle to get the wiggles and giggle out. Or go outside again and RUN!

11:45-12:15: Science/History

Swap these every other day. Watch the zoo cams, use one of the science/history apps, or find something educational on a streaming channel.

12:15 LUNCH

1:00-1:30 Creative Play

Drawing, crafts, baking, projects–anything creative

1:30-2:00 Chores

Yes, this is school! Teach your children to participate in cleaning and household functions while they are home. 

2:00-5:00 Free Time

5:00 Help make dinner and set the table

6:00 DINNER

Need Prayer?

If you are finding yourself feeling isolated, scared, or overwhelmed, please let us know and we will pray with you and for you. Our Prayer Hotline and Prayer Form are still in operation.