More links for parents suddenly homeschooling

American parents! How are you doing?! Are you surviving with all the kids home? I know, you love them, but it can be overwhelming when you’re not used to it.

Pennsylvania’s governor announced Monday that public schools will be out of session for another two weeks so parents may be further stretched and stressed about how to continue their children’s lessons. On Saturday I shared a post with some advice and ideas about how to tackle this hurdle.

I had already started writing another post to help parents in need of resources to help with educating their children during this time and planned to post it this week before I heard the news about the extended closure Of course, and luckily, many parents can either connect with their teachers online or were sent home with work for their children to do.

But, on the off chance some of you weren’t provided with these connections, I’m jumping off my previous post and adding a little more information and some additional links.

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If you have further links or know of bloggers, etc. who have lists of resources and ideas for parents who are homeschooling against their will (so to speak) let me know in the comments so I can include it in future posts.

When I mentioned Notgrass social studies/history curriculum this past weekend, one thing I didn’t explain is that it can be used to cover English and Bible as well because the curriculum (there are a variety of different sets for different ages to choose from) offers reading, creative writing, a “Biblically Thinking” assignment, and vocabulary.

The America the Beautiful curriculum includes various books on various subjects that can be read separately or at the same time as your daily reading to support what you are studying. These are usually classic books such as Homer Price and Little House on the Prarie and somehow tie into the history lessons the child is reading about. We have been reading other books , either for our local homeschool group’s book discussion (though we never made it to one of the discussions for various reasons) or on our own, so we have only read one of the suggested books so far (Homer Price, which we are currently reading).

Notgrass offers a variety of history curriculum for a range of ages (elementary to high school). It does cost, of course, but you could find the curriculum used on eBay or other sources (including a used homeschooling curriculum group on Facebook) and then sell it when you are done.

In addition to the resources I mentioned Saturday, we have also used Easy Peasy Homeschool in the past, which is a free homeschool site that can be used as a complete course or supplemental resources.

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For math, we are currently using CTC Math. This math site can be used for children of all ages, but we are currently using it for our 13-year old.  There are some things we like about it, but one we don’t like is that when the student completes their online assignment, the program does not show them what mistakes they made and how the teacher came to the answer. There is a subscription fee for this program, but you can choose the monthly option.

In the past, we have also used Teaching Textbooks for math. We are not using Teaching Textbooks at this time because we are waiting for them to upgrade so they no longer need to use Adobe Flash, which is being phased out of web sites in the next year and which browsers are now blocking, making accessing their lessons difficult for us at this time.

Someone has started a Google Docs link with a list of live streams and other online events and what time they are being held. Many of these are for younger students.

For my youngest, we use The Good and The Beautiful’s language arts curriculum (we haven’t used their math curriculum yet), which I mentioned Saturday, but I forgot to mention that we also use ABC Mouse, which I’ve heard is offering their service for $5 a month for the first two months because of all that is going on. We pay $10 a month to use it and it provides lessons to help toddlers, preschoolers and Kindergartners learn their alphabet, numbers and a variety of other subjects. It is all online learning and utilizes characters, games, videos and ebooks to educate.

My daughter loves it, but my one issue with it is that she likes to spend more time dressing and changing the appearance of her avatar than actually doing her school work, so I have to limit her fashionista time when we log on. We don’t use ABC Mouse every day. In fact, I don’t spend a super long time on set lessons with Little Miss. I find her attention isn’t great so short lessons broken up throughout the day are best for her. We also use everyday situations as an opportunity to educate.

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The past couple of weeks we have used a couple of the links I had provided Saturday and so far my daughter (who is a huge animal lover) has loved the live animal cams at the San Diego Zoo (she is in love with orangutans and the siamangs) and any of the lessons about animals on the Classroom Magazine that Scholastic is offering for free for the next 30 days.

My daughter has loved PBS’s Wild Kratts for a couple of years now and has learned so much about animals she simply regurgitates it now.  When we were watching the African Safari Exhibit live cam Monday I said I thought I saw some antelope and she informed me: “Normally they live on the Serengeti.”

I said, “Oh. Wow. Okay. Well, how many 5-year olds know that let alone can say Serengeti?”

She said, “Well, other 5-year olds don’t watch Wild Kratts like I do.”

So, there you go. Check out Wild Kratts streaming on Amazon with the PBS Kids app so your younger kids will know as much about wild creatures as my 5-year old does.

My daughter and I also spent a good amount of time watching the bald eagle on the live cam in Hanover, Pa., sponsored by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Just watching that eagle sit there on his/her egg (not sure if mom or dad was there Monday) was so relaxing and we plan to watch every day until, and after, the eggs hatch.

We have a bald eagle nest near us and people go to look at it, but some people yell and say we need to leave the eagles alone. They are afraid all the people looking (it’s off a main highway) will chase the birds from the nest, but they keep coming back every year so I don’t think they will. Plus, most people who take the walk to the area to see the nest are quiet and respectful, take a photo if they can, and then tip toe away. We may try to go see the eagles when the weather is better.

Michelle at Blessings by Me also suggested Super Charged Science for free and paid science lessons.

Here is another article listing tons of online learning options.

The Great Courses Plus is offering 30 free days of its online courses with the promo code FREEMO.

One of the only things I am loving about all of this craziness (because there is not much to love at all!) is that the tradition of reading to children is coming back by authors who are offering live readings of their books each night around bedtime.

Those you can follow include:

Andrew Peterson and his The Wingfeather Saga.

Miss Frizz Mobile Learning

Josh Gad on Twitter

Author Christina Sootornvant reading from her book Diary of an Ice Princess.

This site has list of a bunch of other authors/illustrators and celebrities doing the same thing.

For adults, or older children, who enjoy William Shakespeare and Patrick Stewart, he is reading one Shakespeare sonnet a day on his various social media sites.

There are tons of bloggers writing about their “suddenly homeschooling” or “continuing homeschooling” situation, including:

All Things Momma (who shares some ideas for entertaining your young children at home and educating them at the same time.);

and Kat at The Lily Cafe.

and, of course, Heather Dawn at Every Small Voice, who I mentioned in Saturday’s post.

If you have any other bloggers who are chatting about all this, please feel free to share their links in the comments and also share any other resources you know about.

Written by Lisa R. Howeler

As a writer, photographer and former journalist, Lisa R. Howeler writes a little bit about everything on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She self-published her first novel, A Story to Tell, in September 2019 on Amazon. She's a wife and a mother and enjoys a good John Wayne movie and a cozy Jan Karon book. She's also a freelance writer and photographer who is a contributor to various stock agencies, including Lightstock and Alamy. Her photography work focuses on documentary and photojournalism.

14 comments

  1. Our governor just closed our schools for the rest of the year. No big deal for us since we already homeschool, but some people are very upset about it. Especially the seniors.

    Thanks for this list! I’m saving a lot of these. I have to say I’m quite thankful for schools closing because there’s been a ton of free resources popping up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We tried CTC this week due to the free trial and signed up today as they are running a half price special. My daughter really likes it! Thank you for the recommendation! We are very relaxed and eclectic home schoolers (I was a Montessori teacher, mostly elementary for 23 years) so we use a variety of sources. We love Mystery Science too if you have not seen it. It always starts with a question posed by a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t heard of that, but am always looking for science support. Our homeschooling style is pretty relaxed and eclectic too, I wanted to be all organized and over the top but it stressed me out so much it started to do the same thing that traditional school did to my son, which was stress him out and give him anxiety. The relaxed, fly-by-the seat of our pants approach is working much better.

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  3. Your daughter is so cute! My son is 5 as well and like that when it comes to space. He knows the names of distant stars that I’ve never heard of and is probably the only kid in his class who can clearly tell you what gravity is, though his fascination with black holes sometimes scares me. I really love that you’re putting all these resources out there because it’s not just the school year that needs to be filled with educational opportunities now that schooling is done from home, but I, like my mom, believe a child should also be at least reviewing material over the summer so there’s no educational decay. So, if I don’t get around to using anything right now, there’s still the summer to learn new things!

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    1. I think I missed this comment! I love that he is so into science and space. My son loved that when he was younger too. Now he’s somewhat interested in science, though not as much as he used to be. Yes, we are going to be using summer as a time to review too. They waived requirements for homeschoolers, except our portfolio, but we are still doing school work. They’ve told us we don’t even have to show the portfolio but I have this feeling that when things settle down they will change their minds. I’m not taking any chances!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good idea! Right now, everything is chaotic, but things often change when the dust settles. I am a little surprised homeschooling requirements have been waived; I thought that would be untouched since schooling is done at home anyways. But I suppose that just shows how little I actually know about homeschooling. I do wonder at evolving interests as children grow up. It seems some kids are driven by early interests and others find new things as they get older.

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  4. I have a question 🙂 So I know your daughter is 5, but are you using the good and the beautiful’s math curriculum with her? I loved the look of it, but I didn’t (and still don’t!) feel like I have the time to dedicate to teaching it. (I was looking at it for my current 1st grader.) We are also using CTC and I really like it. But I really liked the look of the good and the beautiful’s math so I was just wondering how much time it actually takes and if it is worth taking a second consideration? 🙂 Thanks, Lisa! God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am actually only using The Good and the Beautiful for language arts. I didn’t know their math program was out yet. They incorporate a little math into the language arts but so far my daughter already knows what they are teaching which is simple number recognition. We are using ABC mouse, some workbooks I picked up (I can find the names) and CTC math for her math.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, I was just wondering 🙂 Trying to get a feel for how long it actually takes to complete a lesson. If its ten minutes, then maybe I would consider it for his second grade math curriculum…otherwise, I will stick with CTC, lol. I was only considering it because he is the child that “gets” math. It’s definitely his thing and I’m trying to decide if he needs more just because it will help him in the long run. Maybe I’ll just supplement with worksheets 🙂 I have lots, I just need to be more proactive with actually printing them out and getting them set up for him… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t tried it yet but may try over the summer to see how it works and If she likes it. My son gets math but haaaates it. Poor kid. I just hated math and never got it. I see numbers and my brain literally produces static like old TVs when they went out.

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