Schools have started again, but we have never seen learning like this before. Our current education system is experiencing an unprecedented difficult task. Parents are thankful for the hard work teachers and administrators are putting in, but still feel very apprehensive about the coming months. The educational sector has gotten more tech-savvy through the years, but nothing has prepared it for the current COVID-19 reality.
Parents and caregivers will have to carry a heavy load these coming months. I wanted to take the time to share some valuable online resources children and young adults can explore to increase their knowledge and expertise, while at the same time having fun. These resources are not a curriculum in themselves; they are a little extra help in trying to keep education experiential.
Check out the resources below, or better yet, have your children check them out.
Learning a New Skill
- Speed Typing Test: A perfect way of spending some free time. With so many professions operating digitally, having a good typing speed can be a useful transferable skill. Typing fast means communicating quickly, and in today’s fast-paced world, that is crucial. Start training your typing speed.
- Learning Platforms
- EdX: An educational portal that offers courses in hundreds of subjects encompassing coding to public speaking, EdX courses are online courses offered by universities all over the world. The courses offered are free and paid, and EDX offers certificates as well as online degrees.
- Coursera: Along with EdX, Coursera is one of the best and most expansive course-offering websites. Coursera offers many courses for free through its audit system. They also offer certificates. Their catalogue is extensive as well, so start typing your interests and see what you can learn about it.
- Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a non-profit with the mission to provide free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Some of the courses offered include exam prep for high school and beyond.
- Alison: This is a fantastic website for e-learning. On Alison, you can access courses on mental health, supply chain management, and much more.
- Skillshare: From animation to creative writing, this website teaches you artistic and creative skills, which can become valuable assets to add to your portfolio (it’s never too early to put one together).
- Coursecity:This is a database for all the best courses on the web.
- Beast Notes: A note-taking app for online courses to help keep students organized. It can become a useful tool for students taking on e-learning.
- Udemy's Coding for Kids: Learning how to code with Udemy, they offer free courses as well.
- CodeAcademy: Learning to code for free or for a fee. This learning platform takes students from the foundations of code-building to building codes in various languages. The website also has a quiz to figure out the best place to start.
- CodingSRC: A YouTube channel to learn to code. A hands-on, experiential way to learn.
- Flawlesss: A Coding education platform, and it’s free!
- Learn a Language
- Duolingo: Learn a new language through the Duolingo app, with daily exercises and comprehensive levels. Duolingo makes learning a language game-like, making it a pleasurable experience.
- Fluent: Browse the web and learn a new language.
- Hey Lingo: Like Duolingo, Hey Lingo uses game-based learning to acquire a new language.
- Home Hobbies
- Household Hacker: Creative ways to keep your home clean. These hacks can trigger your innovative thinking when it comes to household chores.
- Garden Answer: With some helpful tips, this YouTube channel will become a valuable resource for growing your plants.
- How to Keep an Indoor Plant Alive: Not everyone has a green thumb, and that’s okay. With these helpful tips, you will be able to keep at least one plant alive.
- Making Ice Cream: Learn to make ice-cream and turn yourself into the next Ben & Jerry’s.
- ChopChop: Learn to cook at home, family-style.
- The Butter Book: This website offers online baking and pastry lessons.
- Pianu: Learn or practise the piano through this website.
- Flowkey: Learning to play the piano with songs that you love.
- Justin Guitar: Learn how to play the guitar for free. Available through the website or downloadable app.
- Harmonica 123: Learn the Harmonica.
- LMMS: Make and produce music with your computer.
Virtual Field Trips
- Virtual Museums:Explore the world’s museums virtually, perfect for a home field trip.
- Pictures of Paintings Virtual museum: This online galleryis breathtaking. You can browse all the paintings interactively and go from room to room like you would at a museum.
- The Museum of Endangered Sounds: Do you know what sound a typewriter typing makes? Explore sounds that are fast disappearing in today’s society. Take a historical field trip into an area that can be overlooked often. We tend to cherish and have high regard for things like art and letters, sound may be less apparent, but it can also be vastly interesting.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: They continue to do virtual exhibits of their collections. They also have some educational information about African American history and culture.
- Discovery Education: Join Discovery on virtual field trips. Learn fun facts and do your experiments from home. It’s a perfect place to practice some science.
- RomatHome: The Royal Ontario Museum offers a variety of resources and exhibitions online.
- Aga Khan Museum: A rich database of resources, from videos discussing art and museum exhibitions to video concerts, there is plenty to explore virtually.
Arts & Crafts
- Drawspace: Learn how to draw and improve your artistic skills. The courses offered are free or paid.
- Photography: This is an introduction to photography to learn basic skills.
Social & Global Issues
- Tracking Your Global Footprint: The website leads to downloading the NMF app, where you can track carbon emissions related to transport, food, electricity, and streaming. This app can increase social and ecological consciousness and could even become a starting point for a personal project.
- The UN Carbon Footprint Database:Similar to Tracking Your Global Footprint, this UN website helps you see the impact you have on global warming, and you can explore various projects around the world.
- How It Feels To Have Dyslexia: Find out what it feels like to live with dyslexia, a simple yet powerful social experiment.
- Travelscope: Learn about the power of passports and how they can open and close doors for people all around the world. Go a step further, and study diplomatic relations between countries, find out why some passports are stronger than others.
- Climatechoice: Learn how you can impact and prevent climate change.
- Kiwi: Track your commuting carbon footprint.
- Desmos: Learn maths with these great tools and resources.
- Education.com: In addition to math grades 1-5 can learn about a variety of subjects.
- Splash Learn: A free tool for parents and teachers to help little ones learn math in a fun way (K-5).
- BBC Bite Sized Learning:A fun resource for all ages. In addition to history, there are plenty of other subjects to explore and learn.
- Asian Art Museum: They hold a collection of video and document resources available online. You can learn the history of the Asian diaspora and its influence.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: Learn about contemporary and historical African American culture.
- The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Learn and explore genocide, antisemitism, and racism. This museum has a rich set of resources perfect for learning more about these heavy subjects and can be a useful resource for class projects.
- Transatlantic Slave Trade Database: Explore the history of the slave trade through an eye-opening lens. You can learn through a microlens by researching individual slaves on the ships and also take the macro approach where you look at the history of slavery.
- Crash Course: A YouTube channel with short videos to teach students history, sociology, and more.
- Stanford History Lessons: Explore the website through the lens of historical inquiry and put your thinking cap on.
- Mental Floss: If you like history and you like riddles, you will love this website. 11 of history’s toughest riddles, using your logic and reasoning while learning history.
- Color Changing Periodic Table: learn visually through this colour coded and a colour-changing periodic table of elements. Once you click on an element in the table, you are redirected to the Wikipedia page for that element.
- Interactive Periodic Table: Gives a breadth of knowledge about the elements. Once you click on an element you are taken to that elements page where you can learn its property, uses, etc.
- Deep Sea: Explore the Deep Sea with this interactive slideshow. Keep scrolling down and see where each animal fits into the ocean levels.
- Bring Science Home: Scientific Activities to try out at home courtesy of the Scientific American. Fun, experiential exercises that can provide hands-on learning and fun.
- The Atlas of Moons: Take an online tour of the moons. You can also explore the rest of the National Geographic. Every subscriber gets three free articles a month.
- NASA: Browse NASA’s image library and other interactive resources on their website.
- Useful Science: Learn short pieces of information from a variety of different subject areas.
- 100,000 Stars: Immerse yourself into a virtual galaxy.
- Royal Botanical Gardens Science Resources: This is a great place to learn more about the biology of plants and biodiversity.
- Ontario Science Centre: A large selection of DIY science experiments kids and teens can conduct from their homes.
- You Don’t Know Africa: A fun way to learn more about the geography of the African continent.
- Geological Map of the Moon: Study lunar geology.
- Mapping Indigenous Territories: A global mapping of indigenous territories.
- World Geography Games: Learn capitals, countries, and oceans by playing.
- National Geographic Games:From cracking codes to Greek Mythology, there are a variety of games based on learning about the world around us.
Literature and Language
- A Poem a Day: This site makes poetry reading easy and digestible. You can read or listen to poems and even get them right to your mailbox.
- Spark Notes: A great help in analyzing and summarizing texts, Spark Notes can be a great tool in understanding complex writing.
- Project Gutenberg: An online catalogue of free e-books, this portal can be used for leisure and educational purposes.
- Guess My Word: A great game of logic that helps you expand your vocabulary by guessing the word based on clues.
- Creative Writing Now: Writing tips and ideas. A great resource to practice creative writing.
- Writing Exercises:Exercise your writing skills by using these free prompts.
- 50 Writing Tools: A quick and handy reference to keep your writing sharp.
- LitCharts: This website contains useful literature guides and resources.
- Learning to Write with Confidence: A blog post about having confidence in your writing.
- Yoga with Adriene: Plenty of free yoga videos starting at the beginner level.
- Yoga Journal: A guide to yoga and meditation.
- How to Do a Handstand: Work your core and achieve a goal.
- Self: 8 Strength Exercises for beginners.
- YMCA 360: Video exercises for all ages with a section dedicated to children and young adults.
- Actions to Boost Your Self-Confidence: Work on yourself, believe in yourself, fight for yourself.
- Habits to a Happier Home: Your surroundings affect your mood and the energy around you, make sure you optimize it.
- My Ladder: An app designed to build healthier habits for a healthier and happier you.
- Meditate Now: Take a minute to unwind and re-center.
- Medito: Free meditation and mindfulness resources.
- Sad for No Reason: Find out why you’re sad and work towards turning that frown upside down.
- Mental Health Test: If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure about what you’re feeling you can try using these online screening resources as a first step. If you feel comfortable, try speaking to a loved one.
- Funbrain: Fun and educational brain games divided into different age groups (Pre-K-8)
- Skills HQ: Organise your e-learning so you don’t fall behind.
- DIY Projects for Teens: Fun projects to take on to keep yourself busy and learn something new.
- Create a Crosswords: Time to create your crossword and test it on your family. This could become a fun Saturday night ritual.
- Generated Paper: Print your special use papers.
- Colorable: Free colouring printable.
- Kiwico: Kids DIY. They also have monthly subscription boxes sent straight to your door.
- Children’s books Selection:Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
I hope you find this list helpful. As a father, and a business owner, I can understand more than most the apprehension and confusion parents and caregivers are going through right now. By giving each other mutual support we will come out stronger and more resilient.
Happy 2020 School Year!