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Learning with Your Children in the Times of Quarantine

I dedicate this post to my parents Marina Bolotina and Mikhail Goykhman who taught me how to learn by example.

Dear friends:

This is a somewhat unusual post and I will keep updating it as the time goes. I decided to share with you some ideas about what you might be able to do with your children during these times. I do not claim to be an expert on all issues related to education, but I know a little about how to learn online and how to learn WITH your children. I also know a lot about science and mathematics outreach, so I might have some ideas that will be helpful to you and your children.

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Notice, I do not think that expecting from the parents, guardians or grandparents to teach their children everything they would have been learning at school is realistic. The parents are already stressed due to this entire situation, many of them have to work from home, while their children do not have school or day care. So asking these adults to become “teachers of all trades” to their children might be too much. So what can the parents, guardians, or grandparents (or other family members living together) do? Maybe what is possible, is to use this time as an opportunity to LEARN WITH your children and show to them how YOU are LEARNING SOMETHING NEW. None of us is an expert in everything and showing your kids how you are dealing with the unknown, might be the best ever lesson you will give them.

I have taught many science outreach classes for gifted children and I found that a lot of parents asked me to attend these lessons. It was so inspirational to see parents and children learning together. The parents enjoyed learning with their children and often the children became their parents’ teachers. So maybe it is an opportunity to try something new – like learning something new together! Here are a few resources and this list will be growing. Please don’t forget to check very useful suggestions from other educators, parents and students that can be found under comments to this post:

1. Language Learning online:

    1. For example, Duolingo – is a great resource for language learning. if you always wanted to learn a new language, why not to do it now? It is a virtual community of learners – a great resource! I just found out that Duolingo developed activities for preschoolers. Check it out!
    2. Through Duolingo you can connect with people in different parts of the world and practice your language.

2. Science, coding, and mathematics learning online:

    1. The 75 Best Virtual Museum Tours Around the World [Art, History, Science, and Technology]
    2. PhET – extensive collection of interactive simulations in mathematics and science for all ages.
    3. National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (extensive Math resources for K-12)
    4. UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy – Hands-on challenges for the students and families and Online Science Education Activities for kids.
    5. A collection of hands-on experiments, many of which you can do with your children at home. These were created by my students – future science and mathematics teachers.
    6. Exploratorium activities – Exploratorium is a world-class science museum in San Francisco. They have lots of great ideas for science experiments.
    7. Veritasium – a great collection of science videos.
    8. A collection of experiments by Prof. David Sokoloff adapted for home use:  https://pages.uoregon.edu/sokoloff/HomeAdaptedILDs.html
    9. The Mechanical Universe – this is a collection of videos about great natural scientists, such as Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and many others. The series were created a few decades ago by David Goodstein and his colleagues at CalTec – the California Institute of Technology.
    10. The Platform Skills4u opens the resource for FREE till April 15, 2020.
    11. Khan Academy: It is a free resource with lots of opportunities to learn together.
    12. Math puzzles: https://www.mathsisfun.com/puzzles/
    13. NASA Resources for everybody
    14. Seven NSF-funded science, coding, and mathematics education resources.
    15. New series by Brian Green – Your Daily Equation with Brian Green
    16. Physics Teaching Resources compilation – click here.
    17. Environmental Education at Home: Find EE toolkits and activity guides, virtual park and museum visits, citizen science projects, infographics, and educational apps that require minimal outdoor time.
    18. Schmidt Ocean resources for children and parents.
    19. Coding resources for children (and parents):
      1. Codeacademy – Learn to Code for Free
      2. Best Coding Tools for Middle School students:
      3. AI Education: A free online YouTube course on building robots.
      4. Gupshup is hosting various free webinars on incorporating bots into the WhatsApp platform.

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3. Online learning for young, old and older:

    1. Keep Learning a BC Resource: https://www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/
    2. 300+ free online courses that might be of interest to students, parents, and teachers.
    3. The Great Courses by the Teaching Company. Use can use a free trial option to see if it is good for you. I loved the courses I took with them.
    4. Scholastic Learn At Home”.  To learn more about Scholastic visit this site
    5. The virtual humane education classes for pre-K to 12th grade are being offered to teachers and parents free of charge, and include fun and engaging activities, storytimes, sing-alongs, and more.
    6. Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade has a virtual museum component with English text.
    7. NSF-Sponsored Museums – virtual museum experience can be found here.
    8. Virtual School Day: Over 100 free live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”. We have received exceptional ratings from thousands of parents and students. 
    9. Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps will be a week-long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. These live, interactive classes will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors’ platform. We already have 200 camps scheduled for the summer.

4. Arts, literature, museums, and general culture:

    1. Amazing musical resources by leading opera houses worldwide: check the Metropolitan Opera, the Opera House in Wienna and many other resources. A lot of them offer music for free for everybody now.
    2. Film and Theatre Courses free online.
    3. There are many free theatre productions online. Why not to see theater productions with your children? This is going to be something you will remember. For example, see free theatre resources from Alberta.
    4. Learning arts and crafts online – learn something new with your children – from cooking to knitting, building models, or doing other amazing things.
    5. 12 World-class Museums You can visit online.
    6. Children’s authors read their books: https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-author-activities/
    7. UBC Chan Centre – online talks: https://chancentre.com/talks/

5. Audio books and Digital Books:

    1. I subscribe to Audibles, but many platforms now offer free audiobooks. Check it out or share it with me and I will post it.
    2. Many libraries have free audiobooks. Check them out. You might find amazing resources for your kids and for yourself.
    3. Podcasts: I am listening to Sam Harris and other podcasts. Maybe you can listen to some of them with your children. There are many great topics and not all of them are about the pandemics. Notice, many of the podcasts are free or are free now.
    4. Online book libraries: Manybooks.net, popular Free online books.
    5. American short stories for children – an amazing collection to use while reading with your kids.

6. Digital editing platforms and resources for creating digital content:

  1. Content Creation platform Clipchamp  (30 day free offer). To find out more about their offer https://clipchamp.com/en/blog/2020/clipchamp-covid-19-free-offer/

7. Exercising at home:

    1. Even if you have to stay at home, you can do lots of amazing things right next to your couch. Check 50 best online resources you can find online: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/free-online-workout_b_7722024
    2. 12 at home workouts to do with your kids

8. Cooking and doing crafts with your family:

  1. Online resources: https://tasty.co/article/melissaharrison/cooking-with-kids
  2. Free cooking classes for kids: https://coolmomeats.com/2015/08/31/chopchop-cooking-lessons-for-kids/

I will keep adding resources here. Please help me out and I will add them.

Be healthy and keep learning!

Regards, Marina

15 Responses to Learning with Your Children in the Times of Quarantine

  1. Maureen Bayless

    Thank you!

  2. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Dear Maureen, you know a lot about it. I am sure I have forgotten or omitted things, please let me know what I should be adding. Keep well 🙂 M.

  3. Mannie

    Thank you so much, this is a fantastic resource!

  4. Mannie

    I have been using this one with my 6-year old:

    “Scholastic Learn At Home”

    https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

  5. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am including it.
    Best wishes, M.

  6. Victoria Larsen

    Marina, here are some more ideas. For Math, the CEMC from University of Waterloo has an online forum- Grades 7-12

    https://cemc.uwaterloo.ca/resources/courseware/courseware.html

    For Science, there are some great websites. I love Global Problem Solvers. It is available in multiple languages. There are a series of videos that can be explored.
    https://www.gpstheseries.com/fr/

    The website Science Buddies links to the series from Global Problem Solvers. The first STEM Design Challenge is perfect to do at home. Not too challenging to access materials. Students could film their project and submit to teacher.

    https://www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/global-problem-solvers-lesson-plans

    These resources also fit in well with a film on Netflix. “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”.
    https://youtu.be/nPkr9HmglG0
    Watching educational movies and documentaries is also a way to continue learning and an awesome way for families to connect.

    Finally, teachers can use online tools such as Google Classroom or Office 365 OneNote. These tools can be used to add content and provide direction to students. Teachers can easily embed video and website links.

  7. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Thank you so much Victoria. These are great resources!!! I hope the students, teachers, and their families will benefit from them!!!

  8. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Additional resources shared with me:

    Please share to families with young kids:

    Since many kids are/will be home from school, sharing an awesome list of ideas from a parent who homeschools.

    Online resources:
    – BrainPop
    – Curiosity Stream
    – Tynker
    – Outschool
    – Udemy
    – iReady
    – Beast Academy (Math)
    – Khan Academy
    – Creative Bug
    – Discovery Education

    YouTube Channels:
    – Crash Course Kids
    – Science Channel
    – SciShow Kids
    – National Geographic Kids
    – Free School
    – Geography Focus
    – TheBrainScoop
    – SciShow
    – Kids Learning Tube
    – Geeek Gurl Diaries
    – Mike Likes Science
    – Science Max
    – SoulPancake

    Lots of board games, library books (and Kindle), tinkering/upcycling with household junk, etc.
    Some resources to help with kids at home:

    *Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.

    https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

    *Pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums.

    https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

    *This is the awesome free curriculum that we use. Everything from preschool activities to 12th grade is here!

    https://allinonehomeschool.com/

    *List of thinking games by grade: https://allinonehomeschool.com/thinking/

    **More awesome free learning websites that we like to use**

    https://www.starfall.com/h/

    https://www.abcya.com/

    https://www.funbrain.com/

    https://www.splashlearn.com/

    https://www.storylineonline.net/

    https://pbskids.org/

    https://www.highlightskids.com/

    https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

    https://www.coolmath4kids.com/

    http://www.mathgametime.com/

    https://www.uniteforliteracy.com/

    http://www.literactive.com/Home/index.asp

    http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/

    https://www.switchzoo.com/

    https://www.seussville.com/

    https://www.turtlediary.com/

    https://www.e-learningforkids.org/

    Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think may benefit from this

  9. Kelley Axelson

    Thank you Marina,
    This is amazing!

  10. Aurelia Kinslow

    Hi Marina, these are great resources thanks. Did you know that Duolingo also has an app just for children? It’s called Duolingo Kids. I’m at home with my 5 year old, and we are a Francophone household. My daughter loves using Duolingo Kids in French, because while she understands the words, she is getting a fun and interactive introduction to reading and writing. She loves to lead it while I’m next to her, and show off the “sticker” collection of the rewards they earn for each unit.

  11. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Dear Aurelia, I found out about the Duolingo for pre-schoolers today. This is wonderful news. Thank you for reminding me to include this information. I wish you and your family all the best! I am sure many kids will remember these times in a positive way as they get extra attention from the family members.

  12. Aurelia Kinslow

    You’re welcome! The Duolingo Kids app is designed more for elementary school children, although I use it for my preschooler since she’s fluent in French. Another language app geared towards elementary school children that’s gotten good reviews is Fabulingua. This one uses stories to teach Spanish.

    Also, I wanted to share this: The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities; available here: https://www.weareteachers.com/virtual-author-activities/

    Al the best!

  13. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Thank you Aurelia. This is wonderful. I am learning Spanish now and would love to check the link and the books. Amazing information. Thank you.

  14. Jonathon Brzycki

    I genuinely enjoy examining on this site, it has got good articles . “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” by Lord Kelvin.

  15. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    I am very glad it is of interest to you. Best wishes, Marina

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