Free Online Resources for Families

Free Educational Resources, FAQ for Families Impacted by Coronavirus

Updated: 6/25/2020

In spring 2020, more than 124,000 school closed due to COVID-19, impacting more than 55.1 million students. Today, coronavirus continues to impact families’ school choices.

As you evaluate how to keep your child safe and healthy while still learning, here are some educational resources to help. Below you’ll find a list of free online resources, as well as answers to commonly asked questions about online schooling or homeschooling during COVID-19.

Staying healthy at home? Learn about free educational resources your child can use from home. Click To Tweet

If you want more free learning resources, also check out our list of 100+ free resources for teachers and schools shifting online. You may also be interested in our new guide to summer enrichment and learning activities.

  • ABCya

    ABCya offers more than 400 educational games for children in grades Pre-K through 6. Games are categorized by grade and subject, and families can access all ABCya's regular games and videos for desktop with a free subscription. Free subscribers can also play up to 6 games on a mobile device per week.

  • Big Universe

    High-interest literature is critical to sparking your child's love for reading, especially in the formative years. With Big Universe, you can access 17,000+ leveled eBooks and balanced literacy tools available 24/7 on any device. This interactive program has engaging reading practice opportunities, such as read alouds, guided reading, interactive writing, writing workshops, and reading workshops.

  • Carnegie Mellon University's CS Academy

    Looking to introduce your kids to Python programming? CMU CS Academy is a free online, interactive high school computer science curriculum. By signing up for a mentor account, families can access the CS0 course. This course includes about 40 hours of instruction and is intended for middle school, out-of-school programs, and summer camp settings. 

  • Chrome Music Lab

    Chrome Music Lab is a free web resource that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Students can use it to explore connections between sound and science, math, and art. Note that aspects of the website will work best with a computer microphone enabled.

  • Circletime Fun

    Circletime Fun offers kids classes from home that you can either watch on-demand or participate in live. Each class is led by an expert instructor and geared toward children ages 0-6. Registration is required to access the classes but is free with this code: homefun1.

  • edHelper's Free Printables

    edHelper is currently offering lots and lots of free, printable worksheets for parents to use. These printables range from Sudoku puzzles to spelling challenges to addition worksheets, and can be accessed without purchasing an account.

  • Excel Easy

    Excel Easy is a website that offers free, easy to follow tutorials that walk you through different functions and commands in Microsoft Excel. The tutorials are broken up into sections: Introduction, Basics, Functions, Data Analysis, and VBA (Visual Basics for Applications). The step-by-step examples include picture references so that you can see where you should click and what your spreadsheet should look like.

  • Fathomr

    Fathomr provides free high school math and ACT lessons, flash cards, formula sheets, and practice questions. Fathomr's goal is for students to love math and learning in general more today than they did yesterday. Since a high-quality education should be available to everyone, their materials will always be free.

  • KidLitTV

    KidLitTV offers a variety of creative video content to inspire and educate kids. The website's free content includes read-alouds, drawing tutorials, cooking lessons, craft ideas, and more.

  • KID Museum

    KID Museum offers families some fun DIY ideas with its Make It! series. Discover tutorials with fun maker activities: building a high-five machine, designing a tin foil boat, and more. The activities utilize common household supplies and encourage kids to make the most of their time at home.

  • Legends of Learning

    Legends of Learning is an online, game-based learning platform for students in middle and elementary grades. There are over 2000 math and science games and simulations for grades 1-8 across 350+ learning objectives. To help parents and students with summer learning, they have created ten weeks of exciting game-based curriculum-aligned activities that can be played at home for free. You can see your child’s progression throughout the game.

  • Lumosity

    Lumosity offers free brain games to keep student minds actively engaged. For example, the games use problem solving, critical thinking, and memory to keep students on their toes and strengthen their skills. As a free user, you can play three games per day.

  • Mystery Science

    Mystery Science is offering families a collection of their most popular science lessons for free during the pandemic. These lessons are designed by experts to engage students, achieve learning outcomes, and be easy to implement (using simple supplies a parent will likely already have at home).

  • National Geographic

    During COVID-19, National Geographic is offering families free videos and activities about all things science and geography. National Geographic is also providing live videos daily at 2 p.m. EDT. The live, "Explorer Classroom" series unites students from around the globe with bat-trackers, wildlife conservationists, documentary filmmakers, and more.

  • No Red Ink

    No Red Ink is a resource for online writing and grammar practice. The resource was developed by an English teacher who realized that immediate feedback, interest-based curriculum, and lots of practice could help all students become stronger, more confident writers. No Red Ink offers a limited version of its resources for free.No Red Ink's resources serve grades 5-12.

  • ORIGO Education

    ORIGO Education is offering a collection of free math learning resources to support teachers, parents, and caregivers as they strive to keep students engaged and continually learning. ORIGO at Home features free weekly, digital plans for home use. These weekly plans contain activities for each day, along with digitally accessible or downloadable resources, designed for grades pre-K through six. Parents can simply choose a grade level and start at Week 1. The lesson plan format provides everything needed for instruction and is written so it can be implemented outside of the classroom. Students can engage in the work on a device or resources can be downloaded for printing. In addition, most of the student resources are available in Spanish.

  • Parent Support for Online Learning

    Parent Support for Online Learning offers mentorship and resources from experienced online educators. Wondering how to fix a bad WiFi connection? Looking for learning ideas? Craving a support network? Find help here.

  • Scholastic Learn at Home

    Scholastic Learn at Home's helps keep learning lessons built around meaningful stories and videos. Kids can do them on their own, or with a sibling or parent. This resource offers 5 days of cross-curricular journeys for the following age groups: Pre-K and K, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6+.

  • STEM from the Start

    STEM from the START is a free curriculum resource for teaching STEM content to PreK-2 students. Blending animated adventures with guided activities, these free lessons are engaging, effective, easy to prepare and aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. Discovery Breaks are questions posed directly to students where the video is designed to be paused to engage and explore with activities found in the Discovery Guide.

  • ST Math

    ST Math is a PreK-8 visual instructional program that uses the brain’s innate spatial-temporal reasoning ability to solve mathematical problems. ST Math starts by teaching foundational concepts visually, then connects the ideas to the symbols and language. With visual learning, students are better equipped to tackle unfamiliar math problems, recognize patterns, and build conceptual understanding. Without language barriers, the problem is accessible to all students, regardless of skill level or language barrier. Free access is being offered through August 31, 2020.

  • Tinkergarten's DIY Activities

    While Tinkergarten also offers paid classes, you'll find a plethora of free DIY content on their website. These DIY activities are outdoor, play-based activities for students ages 0 to 8+. Activities can be sorted by age range (0-2, 3-5, or 6-8+) and skill (thinking skills, social/emotional skills, or body skills).

  • Varsity Tutors

    Varsity Tutors has launched “Virtual School Day”, a free program that includes live, online classes and educational resources intended to help keep students from sliding academically and to help parents with homeschooling. With Virtual School Day, each student receives 30 hours a week of free, high-quality live, online instruction led by an expert tutor with experience in the course topic. Core content is covered such as K-12 Math, ELA, K-12 Science, and expert-led study hall sessions for students to receive personal attention when completing homework assignments from school. Enrichment classes, such as Secrets of Staying Healthy for elementary school students and History of the National Parks and Careers for high school students, are also available. You may also want to check out Varsity Tutors' free, virtual summer camp offerings!

  • Wide Open School

    Wide Open School brings together big names across education, technology, and media to create a free, one-stop shop site for education resources for K-12 students, teachers, and parents. The site has an interactive daily schedule customized to your student’s age range, a list of live virtual events (such as story times and concerts), and links to materials for every school subject. All the materials are free and vetted for quality by Common Sense. There are Spanish materials available. The website also offers resources that can be used offline as well as lists of sites that are accessible on cell phones.

  • Wonder Stories

    Wonder Stories is an interactive reading platform for grades 2-4. The platform's books are designed to be engaging and encourage critical thinking. Students participate in stories by solving mysteries, puzzles, and adventures all while getting feedback. Your student is in control of the story, deciding what the characters do! Wonder Stories is especially great for struggling readers. While Wonder Stories is always free for teachers, it is free to all community members for the next two months. Families can access this resource by downloading it from the App Store or Google Play.

  • Young Writer's Blueprint

    Young Writer's Blueprint is a free writing course for children ages 6-10, led by award-winning author Alice Kuipers. The course consists of personal and hands-on videos and worksheets designed to "set loose the creative imagination of the world's youth." The course can be downloaded in advance and used offline, and covers topics such as gathering ideas, creating characters, writing short stories, poetry writing, and editing.

 

When will schools reopen?

Educators and state officials are working to prepare health and learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year.

This map from Education Week is tracking state announcements about when schools will start in the fall. 

Your local school or school district should provide updates on their summer plans, when they will reopen in the fall, and what new health policies will be in place. Many schools will be offering a distance learning option in case families have health concerns about in-class learning. 

You may also want to read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for reopening schools and other public spaces. 

 

Can I officially start homeschooling?

Parents around the country suddenly found themselves homeschooling during COVID-19. And today, parents feel more significantly more positive about homeschooling than they did pre-pandemic.

For most families, learning from home  isn’t the long-term plan. Some, however, may be interested in making an official full-time switch to homeschooling. While parents in all 50 states have the freedom to educate their children in the home, homeschool rules vary by state.

Homeschooling in USA

Keep in mind that students are considered officially enrolled in their current school, even if that school is not currently operating and has not provided other learning arrangements. If you are interested in officially switching to homeschooling during COVID-19, you’ll need to check your state’s enrollment procedures. In some states, there may be a deadline for making the switch.

To save you time, we created a free, Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling during COVID-19. Dive in to decide if this is the choice for you. 

Some families have asked, “Do parents get paid for homeschooling during COVID-19?” Traditionally, homeschooling families are responsible for the costs of their children’s education. However, 63% of parents say they would support a policy providing an “emergency” or “pandemic” Student Safety Scholarship to help families fund homeschooling or other learning resources when it is unsafe for their child(ren) to return to school for health reasons.

 

Can I switch to an online school?

Some families affected by COVID-19 have expressed interest in officially signing up for online school. Across the country, 375,000 K-12 students already attend online school in the U.S., and free online school is available in more than half of U.S. states. Online schooling usually offers flexible schedules that can accommodate a variety of health needs.

As with homeschooling, keep in mind that students are considered officially enrolled in their current school for the duration of the school year, even if that school is not currently operating and has not provided other learning arrangements. If you are interested in officially switching to online school, you’ll need to check your state’s enrollment procedures and deadlines. Some virtual schools may have already reached maximum enrollment, while others may be accepting students.

 

Get a free, step-by-step guide to online school here. 

 

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Hashtags 

You can also find more home education tips and resources on social media. Search these hashtags that educators and community members are using to share learning tips: 

#operationstorytime

#freeresourceloop

#teachertipscovid19

#togetherathome

#parentsarethenewteachers

#learneverywhere

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