As a part of measures to control the spread of the current coronavirus pandemic, schools around the world have been shuttered. At least 56 countries have shut down schools nationwide with an additional 17 states imposing localised closures. In Hong Kong, schools have been shut since January. While these policies have been implemented necessarily with the health and safety of children and youths in mind as Covid-19 continues to spread globally to infect more than 182,000 with over 7,100 deaths, it is also keeping over half a billion (516 million) students away from education, according to the United Nations education agency UNESCO.
So how can we avoid compromising children’s right to education and learning in a safe, healthy and danger-free way during the coronavirus pandemic? Just as some of us are lucky enough to be able to work from home in order to maintain social distance during this time, we can also use digital resources to support children learning from home. To help, we’ve scoured the interwebs and the messaging boards to put together a comprehensive home learning guide. Below, our compilation of the best free English-language education resources you can access online, organised them by child age.
For Younger Children (Pre-school / Early Primary)
Scholastic Learn At Home
Scholastic has recently launched their Learn at Home website that offers daily courses for students from pre-kindergarten age to around primary level 6 and higher. It is geared towards the United States education system but the material is in general applicable globally.
Anti-Colouring Book Collection App on iPads
The Anti-Colouring Book app is a concept created by Susan Striker, which encourages the child to use their imagination and critical thinking skills instead of giving kids a ready-made drawing to passively fill in. It’s a great tool especially for younger children to foster creativity and self-expression (without creating a mess at home!).
Nat Geo Kids
National Geographic’s Kids is a website full of home-friendly activities, projects and quizzes for younger children to play at home, especially useful if parents want to engage children in fun educational games in their spare time.
Mystery Science offers easy open-and-go lessons for kids, covering the K-5 science programme suitable for children from kindergarten to primary level 5.
Red Ted Art
Red Ted Art is more of a recreational activity for younger kids at home, but helps with little arts and crafts projects that are relatively hassle-free.
For School Students (Primary / Secondary)
Khan Academy is a great online web-page with videos, content and teaching guides for various subjects, especially for maths and computing for all ages from primary to secondary level. While it does follow the United States grading system, much of the material on the site is covered across conventional curriculum in many countries.
Hong Kong Education City, a government-backed organisation, has uploaded a series of online learning resources and timetabled courses on its site suitable for local primary and secondary school students in Hong Kong.
Prodigy Maths is a maths game-based educational tool suitable for younger students following the United States school system, though much of the material is also covered in the British primary school curriculum.
Education App on iPads
Education has created an app compatible with iPads and other tablets, which offers the same resources that are available on its website. They have over 30,000 teacher-crafted learning activities that are synced up with the school year, so many of the materials that your kids will learn in school will be on their library, from worksheets to songs, age-appropriate books and exercise books.
Seneca Learning is a good resource for those revising for GCSEs or A-Level exams across almost every subject, with lots of free revision content available. It is also useful for children following the British primary and secondary education system with courses suited for KS2 and KS3 as well.
Scratch is a simple gaming programmer that many students learn to use during their ICT lessons. It is developed by the MIT Media Lab, and helps young people learn to think creatively and use their reasoning skills to create an interactive story, game or animation of their choice.
Duolingo is a personalised language learning platform suitable for all ages. It allows users access to interactive learning games, vocabulary tests, grammar explainers and more. Available on its website but can also be downloaded as an app for mobile devices.
TEDEd is the education arm of the infamous TED Talks, where users can access video lessons on a number of topics, especially in history, science, psychology, politics and current affairs. More of a supplementary resource for secondary schoolers.
For University Students & Adults
FutureLearn gives users free access to hundreds of courses across a wide range of subjects from the healthcare and medical sector to business management and languages or law. Many of these courses are catered to older students from secondary to university level, though there are a selection of study programmes for teens aged 14 and up.
Open Learn is an online resource created by Open University, which everyone can access. It is primarily geared towards adults with various university-level subjects, courses and projects, but some topics such as environmental short-courses or masterclasses could be interesting for younger students aged 16 and up.
Ivy League Online Courses
The 8 Ivy League universities in the United States – Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Colombia and Pennsylvania – are offering around 500 total free online courses across multiple online platforms. Free Code Camp has made a list of these university-level courses here, which can be explored by category.
Open Culture is a platform filled with free textbooks, movies and audiobooks and links to free online courses from professors all over the world.
Resources for Parents With Kids At Home/Homeschooling
K5 Learning is an educational platform founded by parents who wanted better learning tools available to their kids for home use. The site has thousands of free reading and maths worksheets for parents to use at home with children from kindergarten to year 5, and some online lessons are available for free as well, though many are licensed and can be purchased from their site.
Oxford Owl For Home
Oxford Owl For Home is created by the Oxford University Press, and is a collection of education materials to support teaching from home. Contains thousands of free teaching resources such as storytelling videos, digital books, downloadable worksheets and teaching notes for parents and teachers.
Parenting / Activity Ideas Weekly Email Subscription
Parents can subscribe to Mila Devenport’s free weekly email that delivers indoor activity ideas for parents of kids aged around 4-12 years old to help support their virtual schooling. Sign up for the mailing list here.
Enrichment Activities is a website recently created to help parents who are staying at home with their kids. It is a useful guide tool collating all kinds of activities for kids to do at home while you’re working, and you can search by age, time, how much parent involvement it requires and whether you’ll need any digital devices or not.
Read our earlier news coverage of Covid-19 and tips on prevention here.
Lead image courtesy of iStock Photo.