School’s Out for Coronavirus: Top Free Homeschool Tools

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused schools to close across the world. Unfortunately, this includes Classroom of Hope’s schools as well. Slowly, some students have started to return to their classrooms, but the vast majority of students are still learning from home.

Many are turning to online teaching to keep students engaged. However, not all students have access to this option. Online teaching requires a dedicated teacher (and school that can continue to pay them) and a reliable internet connection. Unfortunately, this isn’t a reality for many schools worldwide.

To help address these crucial gaps in education, resources are appearing for families new to homeschooling. In fact, there are so many tools available now that it can be overwhelming. For many, the question of how to continue education from home adds yet another challenge to an already difficult time.  

Classroom of Hope’s mission is to provide access to quality education to students in developing countries. With schools closed, we can’t currently do that in person. But we can help students and parents navigate this new challenge!

Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite FREE homeschooling resources. We’ve tried to include tools for all different ages, backgrounds and levels of internet access. 

How to Homeschool During Coronavirus

First, Take a Deep Breath

Everyone in the world is struggling through this pandemic together.  No one expects that parents will suddenly be able to offer the level of education that teachers can. So breathe, and remember that you’re doing your best.

Okay, But Where Do I Even Start?

Start slow. Realize that even two to three hours per day will make a difference.

Talk with your children and decide which subjects to focus on. Math, Science, and Language are usually core subjects. Are there other fields that they enjoy, or need more practice with?

Grade 3 Teacher: Khang Kanha Ti Na (12) solve a maths problem on the balckboard

Figure out how your student learns. Are they best with hands-on activities and games, or by doing worksheets? Educational videos? Do they need structure or are they self-disciplined?

Evaluate your resources. Do you have reliable internet access to watch live stream classes or videos? If not, can you view lessons and basic web pages online? Do you have a computer or a smartphone? If you don’t have internet access at home, is there somewhere you can get online and print worksheets?

FREE Homeschooling Resources during COVID-19

Each tool listed below has pros/cons and different audiences. Some are only available for certain age groups, some for certain school subjects. Most need some degree of internet access, but some offer offline options.

For Reading Practice
(Pre-K through Year 8 Reading Levels)

The International Children’s Digital Library provides free access to children’s literature from cultures around the world. 

Their collection includes over 4,000 books in 59 different languages! There are even books offered in multiple languages. 

The website is child-friendly and easy to navigate. It’s also available in various languages. You can sort by location, language, subject, and more. Books are not downloadable – readers open up one or two pages at a time, and you need internet access. The site is available on a computer or a smartphone, and file sizes are small.

This is a great option for young readers, including non-English speakers or English-Language-Learners!

For Downloadable and Printable Worksheets (Kindergarten through Year 6)

K5 Learning was founded by parents to offer quality educational tools for their kids to use at home. They offer online lessons for a charge, but what we love are their free worksheets!

The website offers free mathematics and reading worksheets. Reading options include comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. You can sort worksheets by topic or by level. Each downloadable PDF includes an easy answer key and can be printed out! 

You don’t have to make an account to access these worksheets. There are reminders on the website to start your 14-day free trial, but this isn’t required to access the free worksheets. 

This site is great for elementary level English-speaking students. The ability to download and print worksheets makes this a good option for families with limited internet access.

For Parents Who Want More
(K through Year 5)

Hand2Mind is a great resource for parents who want more complete lesson plans. This site normally charges for educational tools. However, in response to COVID-19, they’ve started to offer some great resources for free.

Free weekly schedules for K-5 students include daily lessons and activities. Worksheets on mathematics, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths), and literacy are downloadable. Each also includes an answer key, and they’re all available in both English and Spanish!

For parents that don’t feel like they have the time to take on the full weekly activity schedule, that’s fine. Each of these worksheets can also be used individually. 

The site also has great resources for parents who are new to teaching at home. They provide guides for educational activities and advice on how to establish a daily routine. Just make sure to stay on the “Hand2MindAtHome” part of the website, where the free resources are.

For Kids Who Want to Play While They Learn (Pre-K through Year 6)

ABCya is based on the belief that children learn better when they’re having fun! This website’s 400+ fun and free educational games can be sorted by grade level, by subject, or even by how they relate to common standards for each grade level.

The free version of this website is only available on a desktop computer (the app costs money), and has ads. The games require strong internet access.

This can be a great option for children who need a break from worksheets! 

For Students in the United Kingdom

BBC Bitesize is an incredible resource for UK learners aged 5 to 16+. This site offers guides written by teachers and mapped to follow the curricula of the UK. They provide online daily lessons and videos. They also offer parent toolkits and further resources.

For secondary students, lessons on this website follow specifications for main exam boards. These curricula are even broken down by region, with a choice of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales. This allows students to continue preparing themselves for large exams from home.

Most lessons are only available on the website, instead of being downloadable. There are a lot of videos and games rather than worksheets. Lessons are offered across a wide range of school subjects, including electives like music and history. 

For UK students with good internet access, BBC Bitesize seems to have everything. Being backed by the educational system and aligned with national testing is a big perk!

For Literally Everyone

Khan Academy offers “free world-class education for anyone, anywhere”. (Sounds like our mission!) This not-for-profit offers free lessons across all areas of study for Pre-K through college. Their classes include videos, articles, practice questions, tests, and more. Even better – no ads!

You need an email address to create a personalized (free) account. This account allows you to track your progress, make learning plans, or save lessons for later.

The best part of Khan Academy is its global accessibility. The platform is accessible in 40+ languages. We were amazed to see that this includes demo sites of Burmese, Bahasa Indonesia, Swahili, and Thai! What an amazing possibility for some of our CoH students.

In addition to its desktop site, Khan Academy has apps for Apple and Android. Through the apps, students without consistent internet can download videos to learn offline.

This is a great option for secondary and tertiary students who want to continue to learn from home. It is also a possibility for non-English speaking students to continue studies in a wide variety of subjects. 

Honourable Mentions

BrainPop offers playful videos and interactive assignments for all major subjects of study (K-8). They also have special platforms for English-Language-Learners. However, their free access offer only goes through June 15, 2020. 

CorbettMaths has a basic website offering printable math worksheets with accompanying videos, quizzes, and answer keys. This is a good resource for students looking for extra practice in mathematics.

Ed Helper and Have Fun Teaching are both websites with lots of free printables. Both sites offer great child-friendly tools for reading, literacy, mathematics, and more. However, neither site offers answer keys, which would make it difficult to check students’ learning. 

And Now, Another Deep Breath

The resources we’ve mentioned in this blog are just a few of the many tools that are available to parents today. It can be overwhelming to see them all, and to think of how best to put them into practice.

These tools can be used separately or together to create the right options for your students. The most important takeaway is that you don’t need to start from scratch when it comes to education at home. 

Be patient with yourselves and with your students. Remember that no one expects you to become a teacher overnight. Do what you can during this time, but be sure to find your own balance. And eventually, schools will be back in session! Students have already started going back to school in some parts of the world.

We’re waiting eagerly for that day that all Classroom of Hope supported schools are reopened. Until then, be sure to follow us for more advice and resources as we navigate this new time together.

Dombokbon Grade 2. The teacher Som Ban helps Panna (8) in a writing lesson.

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