3 Fun Learning Sites to Keep Your Kids & You Sane

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It’s the digital age, and it’s a good thing! Can you imagine doing this all in the 90’s? Well, I did. We had a “little” thing called the Great Ice Storm that took out power, heat, everything for several weeks to millions of people. You know what we had to do for schooling. Nothing. Nothing at all. HA! We played board games, read with flashlights, and ice skated all over our little town. But, now’s a different time. We have the ability to do remote learning. OR at least we will all figure out how to have this ability after this event.

Even though I worked in television broadcasting for over a decade, my family has steered away from having personal technology devices for our children. I understand what the advantages are, we just believe our school system provides the opportunities on the devices already, and therefore we do not need to use that screen time at home. Now here we are, in the “Coronatine,” doing remote learning full-time, and juggling one laptop. So, there may be a tablet in our future, but for now we are thankful for sharing.

Getting the hang of remote learning.

Our school district has some pretty incredible teachers helping parents get the hang of remote learning.  Here I’ve put together some of the digital tools we are using to keep learning fun and interesting at home. Feel free to leave any you’ve found beneficial for at home learning, in the comments. We can all learn together.

Khan Academy’s schedule for school children.

This is quite a wonderful link to click on if you’d like to keep your sanity while moving from Mom with school children to, Mom who homeschools. A schedule! Many of us parents have become overwhelmed in part because we’ve thought we had to have the kids “in school” from 8-2:30. Guess what? We don’t. The kids can still get their learn on, and you can still make crafts, cook together, play outside, and maybe catch a movie or do some singing and dancing in the kitchen.

See their schedule here.

While you are checking out Khan Academy’s schedule don’t forget to sign up and get the app too! This is a non-profit educational site I’ve had my children use from 3 years-8 years old. They all like it. And, you’ll be able to take advantage of the partnership Khan Academy has made with Disney Imagineering. I would suggest this link for middle-school and up, but with enough help from parents, you may be able to dive in sooner. It’ll allow your children’s creative juices to flow while they build their own characters and storylines.

Highlights for Children.

You may remember this as Highlights Magazine from our childhood. I used to love going to the dentist or doctor’s office waiting area, as a child, and playing the hidden pictures game. Online Highlights has loads of free printable workbook pages. Here are some links for pre-k through second grade.

Epic access!

Visit this website to get instant access to almost an unlimited supply of age appropriate reading material. Not only will you find your favorite books, you’ll find new favorites. Maybe your child isn’t much of a reader yet. No worries! There are options for 5 & under on up to 12 years. Plus, the titles can be read to you, or you can read them. This is a nice option for all ages. Plus, I’ve used it to increase our listening skills, and discussion of our reading.

We have a Bluetooth light bulb in our kitchen. Often times I’ll turn it on and link to it while we are making and setting up lunch together. I had Epic read “Larry Bendeco Johannes von Sloop” by Larry V. All four kids (even the baby) and me were entertained by this story as we listened and made sandwiches. Then, while we ate, we were able to talk about the story together. This was fun! We were all involved in the silliness of it all.

You’ll also see your child will be quizzed at the end of some of the stories. This is a good opportunity to check-in how comprehension is going. In addition to books, your pupils will have access to videos, comics, epic!originals, and endless suggestions. AND, titles are constantly being added.

Talk to your educator.

They get free access, and then you do too. Your teachers can also suggest titles for your child, and “send” them titles. Or, try it free for 30 days and then pay the monthly fee. You’ll end up wanting it, and using this resource! EPIC!

Mix it up a bit!

If you have the time to mix things up with a movie it’s a great way to snag your little pupils’ attention again! Amazon Prime now has the ability to rent or purchase my favorite learning sets from Rock N Learn. My children cannot get enough of them! It’s simple and fun learning put to catchy rock, or even rap, for kids. Honestly, I can belt out the songs right along with them! There are complete sets from preschool (including my favorite of the set- Nursery Rhymes), the beginning of learning to read, shapes and colors, and then on up the chain of math and sciences. It really is a great way to learn.

Don’t forget the limits.

It is important to remember the rules of screen time. In 2016 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) created guidelines for parents to limit screen time for children.

Some of these guidelines include:

  1. Avoid screen time under 18 months
  2. 18-24 months choose high-quality programming with educational purpose (examples are PBS kids)
  3. Age 2-5 up to 1 hour per day of high-quality programming
  4. Age 6 plus, limit screen time. Make sure media time does not interfere with physical activity and sleep.
  5. And designate media free times (like meal times) and locations at home (such as bedrooms).

Don’t be afraid to get involved with your kids.

Step out of the learning digital box and get your hands dirty! Craft together. Cook together (this is a great way to practice reading and math). Read together. Cuddle to 90’s movies (Beware! Preview them first! I was shocked at the language in family movies back in our day. But somehow, we all survived.) Play board games. Color. Play with blocks (they call some of this activity STEM learning now). Play music of all kinds. Sing to it! Dance in the kitchen. Introduce your children to your childhood. Make memories together.

This is bonus time.

When normally we would all look back in 5, 10, 15 years, and say “I wish I’d had more time with them.” “I wish I could’ve done XYZ.” This is your chance. Yes. We are juggling work, and childcare, and anxiety over our health and money and food and our children and their education (I can go on). BUT, this is time that would’ve been given to someone else. You know what I always say! Soak it in! Cherish this time. And when the time comes that all the kids go back to school, maybe you’re returning to the office, you’ll look back and still wish you would’ve done more, but maybe you’ll also think “we were the lucky ones.”

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