Year 2020 has so far been a hectic year especially for Ontario parents amid an ongoing teacher strike and the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. On March 12, the Ontario government announced the closure of all publicly-funded schools for two weeks following March Break to curb further spread of COVID-19, making it an extra long March Break for students. A day later, several municipalities also announced the closure of recreation centres and libraries. It is a difficult time for parents who now need to adjust their plans, while finding ways to support their children’s learning in a safe environment. Our staff at TeachRequest recognize that online tutoring (which we are now piloting) and online self-learning may bridge the gap for now. For the latter, we wanted to share some of the best online educational resources we know.
Catch up on school learning through online courses, lessons, and practices
With the school year cutting short due to COVID-19, parents ought to prevent the so-called “holiday slide” or “learning loss” of their children by keeping them engaged with academic lessons and exercises. There are many great websites that offer online courses, and here are our picks based on school board recommendations:
- The new Learn at home online platform which the Ontario government recently launched in response to COVID-19 provides ministry-developed online learning resources to elementary and secondary students. The TVO resources may be of interest to younger children, while the High School Courses – Keep up with studies page offers teacher-facilitated online courses for independent learning to high school students.
- Khan Academy is one of the most popular and comprehensive free online learning platforms. While it mainly focused on math originally, it has expanded to science, programming, and other topics. The use of video instructions and practices is engaging to students – some teachers even incorporate it into their lesson plans.
- Prodigy takes an interesting approach in teaching grade 1 to grade 8 math, by gamifying the learning experience with engaging story line and interactive graphics. It is free and used by many teachers as a homework supplement.
- MathIsFun offers great explanations of math concepts of all grades.
- Scholastic Learn at Home provides 20 days’ worth of active learning journeys designed to reinforce and sustain educational opportunities for pre-K to grade 9 students.
- While schools are closed, Audible has made story streaming available to kids for free.
- Sesame Workshop has launched a Caring for Each Other site which provides a wealth of free learning resources (games, activities, eBooks, videos) that parents and children can enjoy together.
There are also some great options that require a paid subscription with some free resources:
- Brightstorm offers learning resources for high school students to appreciate complex concepts through their videos. You can find their videos on their YouTube channel.
- IXL offers drill-type math and English practices for K-12 curriculum. Your child can try out the free practices first and decide if a subscription is beneficial.
Spark curiosity and learn something new everyday with educational YouTube channels
In recent years, YouTube has found its fame as an effective educational tool. There is a dedicated channel called YouTube Learning with playlists on topics ranging from science to history, but this is just one of the many starting points for learning on YouTube. To help you get started, we have put together a list of some of the best educational channels:
- For young children (2 – 5 years old), channels such as Sesame Street and Peppa Pig are the staple to keep your kids busy learning for hours. There are also a lot of English sing-along channels such as English Singsing that are super fun and educational.
- For all general topics, channels such as Ted-Ed, Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic will surely pique your child’s interest.
- For science and technology, channels such as WIRED, SciShow and AsapSCIENCE, New Scientist offer well-made, factual, and informative videos on the latest news in these fields.
- There are numerous channels for learning English and learning French, with different levels of difficulty and target audience. Finding a favorite can be subjective, so your child should try a few and find one that interests him/her.
Learn more about COVID-19 through infographics and videos
With COVID-19 being the hot topic these days, children may have doubts about what they’ve heard and how they feel about the situation. Numerous organizations including UNICEF recommend parents to talk to their children about COVID-19 to give them assurance of the situation and teach them protective measures. Here are some excellent resources to help you drive the talk with your younger children or motivate your older ones to do their own research:
- The Government of Canada website provides informative factsheets and infographics. You and your children can download them as PDF and print them at home.
- The Guardian News YouTube channel has an informative video on what COVID-19 is, while the SciShow YouTube channel has a video that discusses what it means to have COVID-19 categorized as a pandemic.
Keep learning and exploring
We hope that these resources will help you keep your children engaged throughout March Break. That being said, online resources tend to be self-starting in nature, and it is important to match learning activities to the school curriculum. If situation allows for in-person, one-on-one tutoring, TeachRequest has excellent OCT-certified tutors who can help create personalized lesson plans and track your child’s learning progress. We are also exploring the option of online one-to-one tutoring in light of our current situation. Please contact us if you are looking for an effective tutoring option that will help your child succeed in academics and beyond.
If there are topics that you would like us to cover, please drop us a message! Thanks for reading and be sure to check the TeachRequest Blog regularly for updates.