Military families around the world are starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus on their families. Some have seen PCS orders being halted, travel plans being canceled, and schools closing down for undetermined amounts of time. But if there is one thing military families do best, it is plan for the unexpected just in case. We asked experts in homeschooling, military family homeschoolers, for some of the best activities and educational apps for temporary homeschooling during coronavirus quarantine, and they delivered.
If schools in your area are closed due to the coronavirus quarantine, the administration will probably give families the opportunity to do virtual classroom lessons or online coursework. Some families who are already experiencing their schools being shut down have noticed, however, that virtual learning for children in elementary school is extremely difficult as much of that coursework is most effective with teacher interaction. They have also noted that there seems to be a bit of a “learning curve” for both teachers and students as they adjust to virtual learning and teaching, including technology glitches and inadequate resources while in a virtual location.
When asking homeschooling parents for some tricks, tips, advice, and resources, many of them stated that trying to set a rigorous homeschooling schedule might not be worth it for such a short period of time. “Don’t worry too much about doing the same coursework as they do in school. Make it a time for fun learning experiences, or even make it a staycation,” suggested one homeschooling mom.
However, many parents who don’t regularly homeschool want to make sure our kids are engaged and continuing learning even while they have a bit of an unscheduled break, or at least have an idea of things they *can* do if they start to go stir crazy. Aviano Air Base, Naval Air Station Sigonella, United States Forces Korea, those stationed in Bahrain, and those stationed in Washington state have already experienced school closures. Some of those closures will continue for a few weeks, while there is some chatter that some schools (like the ones in Bahrain) will continue to be closed through the rest of the school year. Here is a list of learning apps and free curriculums you can use during temporary homeschooling during coronavirus quarantine:
Learning Apps and Free (or Cheap) Curriculums You Can Use During Temporary Homeschooling During Coronavirus Quarantine
- Online Middle School from Excel High School – Fully accredited online middle school & high school programs awarded the 2023 Homeschool Seal of Approval.
- Khan Academy– This is a free, online curriculum and resource tool for students of all grade levels. It offers courses, classes, and materials for different ages and subjects.
- Outschool– Starting at just $5/class, this online virtual learning platform has classes of all topics for age 3 to 18. They have classes on sight words, music theory, robotics, and more. There are even fun classes like Harry Potter and the Wizard Writing School, Math of Mythical Art: Using Math to Draw Dragons, and Video Game Design Coding.
- EasyPeasy– This Christain-based online homeschool program offers online reading materials and coursework without the need for supplies. It has courses in math, science, art, foreign languages, music, PE/Health, and more. They even have courses for high schoolers.
- Teach My Monster to Read– This free online phonics and reading game is fun for the littlest ones in your family. It can be done on the computer or you can download the app to your device, making it a fun and engaging experience for their learning.
- Acellus Homeschool– This online homeschool program does come at a cost, but you can opt to pay monthly if you choose. It has courses for children in kindergarten through 12th grade in math, language arts, science, social studies, as well as some elective courses like coding, ecology, and music.
- Tutor.com– Free tutoring and homework help for military families for grades kindergarten through 12th grade
A Full List of Resources for Temporary Homeschooling
ALL SUBJECTS GAMES and ACTIVITIES
Online Christian Homeschooling from Northgate Academy. Experience an accredited, flexible online education where your child can grow academically, and spiritually in the comfort of your own home.
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschooling is a complete or partial free curriculum for all ages and stages.
Khan Academy offers a collection of courses for children ages kindergarten to 12th grade for basic subjects like math, science, and literacy as well as extracurriculars like languages and arts.
This extensive list of indoor activities for busy toddlers is great for those who still have littles at home while trying to homeschool older kids.
Play with your favorite PBS show characters and learn, too, with games and activities. You can also watch their favorite shows.
123Homeschool4Me has over 300,000 FREE printable worksheets from toddlers to teens for all different subjects.
Ideas for crafts, activities, printable worksheets, and more all sectioned by themes, seasons, and more by All Kids Network.
Math and reading games for PreK through 6th grade with ABCya!
Math, language arts, typing, spelling, and geography arcade-style games for children in grades first through 6th grade with Arcademics.
Voice-based learning with Amazon Alexa and Bamboo Learning. Children are able to do reading comprehension, math, and music by talking through Alexa.
Fun games, recipes, crafts, activities with the popular magazine, Highlights Kids.
ClickSchooling brings you daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help your kids learn.
Science, math, ELA, and other educational games for kindergarten through 12th grade without Breakout EDU.
CK-12 offers courses, tutorials, and online textbooks in science, math, photography, and more.
If your child prefers hands-on and paper activities versus digital learning, Curriculum Associates has free printable K-8 reading and math activity packs available in English and Spanish.
Digital learning content for preschool through high school including lessons, videos, and tutorials.
Discovery K12 is an online homeschool platform and curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade. All main subjects are covered, plus extra-curriculum courses.
Facts 4 Me is a safe research site for elementary-level readers. They are offering free 24/7 access using the codes below:
USERNAME: read (case sensitive)
PASSWORD: read (case sensitive)
HippoCampus has over 7,000 free videos in 13 subject areas.
Izzit has entertaining and educational videos for all levels and subjects as well as teacher’s guides and current event lessons.
Teachers Pay Teachers has free and paid-for printables for PreK through 2nd grade. Some are individual worksheets while others are full lessons or thematic units.
Little Parks Company is a library of free printables coupled with activities for children up to 6 years old.
Not sure where to begin? Super Charged School has daily lessons and educational activities that kids can do on their own. They also have lessons and teaching tips for reading, writing, math, science, and more.
Scootpad is a personalized curriculum in math and ELA for grades K-8. It is now free through the end of the school year and aligns with many state standards.
Looking for full curriculums? Pebblego is a curricular content hub specifically designed for K-3 students.
Quizlet has quizzes, flashcards, and activities for students to practice and master whatever they are learning including science, languages, math, arts, and more.
Wonderopolis has short videos and readings that answer various burning questions for students. There are also vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions.
Zearn is a K-5 curriculum that builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students.
A Better Way to Homeschool offers a quick-start resource to help families pull together a plan for surviving the next 1-2 months at home with their kids, but it can also be a time of slowing down and enjoying kids as they learn. It is designed for preschool through 8th grade
READING and WRITING
Disney Story Realms– Take your place in your favorite Disney stories and play games with the characters you know and love. Available on iTunes and the Google Play store.
Marvel Story Realms– Take your place in your favorite Marvel stories and play games with the superheroes you know and love. Available on iTunes and the Google Play store.
Spelling City makes spelling fun for all ages with games and activities.
Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss.
Storytime is kicked up a notch when famous actors, actresses, and authors read some of your child’s favorite books at Storyline Online.
Reading comprehension skills like previous knowledge, visualizing, summarizing, and more are made fun at Into the Book.
Common Lit gives reading passages for grades 3-12 with reading comprehension and discussion questions.
Dog on a Log Books gives fun printable board games, activities, and more for phonics and reading all using evidence-based methods. It can be customized to any student’s needs including creating flashcards for other subjects.
SquigglePark provides engaging reading games for grades 2-8 that combines strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages to create a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game.
Magic Spell is a carefully crafted spelling adventure.
Bring your writing to the next level. Noredink is an online curriculum that builds better writers.
Reading Eggs is a popular website that has games, activities, and videos that help children learn to read.
Novel Effect makes storytime a little more fun for kids (and grown-ups too!) As you read out loud from print books (or ebooks!) music, sound effects, and character voices play at just the right moment, adjusting and responding to your voice.
Paragraph Punch teaches students how to write a paragraph through an interactive online tutorial.
ReadWorks is an online resource of reading passages and lesson plans for students of all levels K-12.
The Shurley English Program for grades K-8 provides a clear, logical, and concrete approach to language arts.
The Sight Reading Factory has sight-reading and sight-singing practice exercises that make learning sight words fun.
Spelling practice is made fun with Spellingcity. It is free right now with code VSCFree90.
Good and Beautiful has course sets (Levels 1–5) that combine and thoroughly cover phonics, reading, writing, spelling, literature, grammar, punctuation, art, and geography—all in one easy-to-use, beautiful course.
Math Score has math practice for all ages- from counting to algebra and geometry.
Daily math activities for the entire family that are fun and engaging. There is a story and then a few math riddles of different levels so everyone can join in.
Engaging math activities and online games for children in grades 1st through 6th with Boddle Learning.
Dreambox is a kindergarten through 8th grade online math program that looks at how a student is solving problems to adjust accordingly and build a unique learning path for them.
Webisodes and full lessons from the popular textbook publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Webisodes include real-life uses of math and famous actors.
Stuck on a math problem? At Math Celebrity you can simply enter your math problem or search term, press the button, and they show you the step-by-step work and answer instantly. For 2nd grade through college.
Math Playground has elementary math games, logic puzzles, and educational resources.
Homeschooling is a great time to learn more than just regular school subjects. Next Gen Personal Finance has plenty of free resources, games, learning resources, and lesson plans for teaching personal finance.
Droplets is a language app made just for kids from the parent company of Drops, this tool will help your child learn a new language with visual aids and fun games.
Babbel– This language app makes learning a new language fun and easy and gives you real-life language skills.
Chalk Academy provides Chinese and Korean learning activities as well as resources and activities for teaching children in bilingual homes.
Con Juguemos gives vocabulary, grammar, listening activities, and games in a variety of languages including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean, and Latin.
Practice foreign language skills in Spanish, French, German, and many more with Duolingo.
Rockalingua has music-based Spanish live lessons, videos, games, songs, worksheets, and more.
Curoisity Stream has thousands of documentaries on different subjects, topics, and areas of interest for your children. It’s a great way to contine their learning in an engaging way.
Travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip.
This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life.
This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
Read More: Coronavirus Update: What You Need to Know
Big History Project provides online history classes for all older kid ages preteen all the way through adults.
Country Reports gives 35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world.
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Find out at Carmen Sandiego with videos, stories, and lessons in all subject areas.
Project Explorer has free videos from around the world for grades 3-12.
NASA Kids is a great website for future astronauts and space lovers. Kids can complete missions, watch videos of outer space, and play games. They also have examples of STEM activities you can do at home.
The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games.
Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover with this recording of the Rover’s exploration of Mars with Google.
This Canadian site FarmFood 360 offers 11 virtual tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs.
Play games and learn all about animals with activities from Switch Zoo. You can even take the learning further by building biomes and get lesson plans for your homeschooling experience.
National Geographic has games, videos, information and books on geography, animals, cultures, and regions.
Club SciKidz gives daily free science or cooking experiment to do at home with your kids. Great for all ages.
Mystery Science offers sciences lessons for kindergarten through 5th grade.
If your child did Maker Station at their school they will love being able to continue doing it at home. Maker Stations is giving 3 free weeks of maker stations to keep your children creating at home! Each challenge includes simple instructions using materials around the house, QR code video resources, and a student recording sheet.
Everyday Earth has interactive videos for earth science-based curriculum which can act as a supplement to other lessons.
Instructables has 3D printing projects and coding projects, involving math and other K-12 subjects
Science at home can be really fun. Elemental Science has 80+ at-home science activities.
Concord has a collection of hundreds of free K-12 STEM resources, from standalone models and simulations to short activities, and week-long sequences of curriculum materials.
Science Spot has science projects that can be completed with or without internet access, allowing kids to step away from the computer for learning.
Next Generation Science is a video game focused on middle school-aged students where students directly engage in scientific phenomena as they solve problems.
MIDDLE SCHOOL and HIGH SCHOOL
Looking for something for older kids? Here are some high school chemistry topics from the American Chemistry Society.
Biology simulations and games that are perfect for middle schoolers up through high schoolers.
Read More: How to Choose a Homeschool Curriculum
If your older children are on hold for ACTs, SATs, or other standardized tests, BWS Education Consulting has test prep worksheets for many of the standardized tests. Prep for SAT, ACT, and more.
Geometry practice and online tutorials for older children with Can Figure It.
Classroom Cereal offers grammar practice games and activities for middle grades.
Chemistry games and activities for middle schoolers can be found at Play Mad Games.
Looking for a little advanced education for high schoolers? Coursera has a list of free classes from leading universities and companies in all different areas of study.
Delta Math gives a wide range of math content from middle school through AP Calculus.
The Great Courses has tons of classes for older teens or adults in a wide arrange of topics and interest areas. They are great for extended learning or just to expand on a topic your child has an inherent interest in.
Dr. Roger’s Math Neighborhood has videos on higher-level math with detailed solutions to more than a thousand publicly-released College Board SAT Math, Subject Test Math Level 1, and Subject Test Math Level 2 problems.
Fiveable is an app that has resources for AP students including live reviews, live trivia, and study guides.
Do you need resources for AP students? Macro Learning has free resources like lesson plans, test practice, and study guides for AP courses.
The University of Colorado has science and math labs and simulations that are great for bringing concepts to life. There are also teaching resources for homeschooling parents and teachers.
Positives Physics is an online physics problem and video bank designed for conceptual, standard, honors or AP1 physics.
Sepupl HS has science simulations, scientist profiles, and other digital resources for middle school science and high school biology.
MUSIC and TYPING
Music lessons and practical exercises in rhythm, melody, and more with Music Lab.
Read More: How We Get Back to School as a Homeschooling Family
Music Theory has introductory and intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers, and calculators for those who are missing their music lessons or want to start.
Improve your typing skills while competing in fast-paced races with up to 5 typers from around the world with Nitro Typing.
Prodigies is a colorful music curriculum for kids in 1st through 12th grade that will teach your kids how to play their first instrument, how to sing in tune, and how to understand the language of music!
QuaverMusic is offering free access to general music activities to all impacted schools, including free student access at-home.
Smart Music has music practice for those who have already been introduced to an instrument and are working on developing their skills.
There are two websites for keyboarding practice- Typing.com and TypingClub.com.
Fluency and Fitness has educational brain breaks to help students review essential literacy and math skills, while getting in some exercise. There are over 900 videos to help your child keep learning at home and burn off some extra energy. Fluency and Fitness is great for older elementary and middle schoolers in grades 4-8.
Need to get some wiggles out? Go Noodle has movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.
Little Twisters Yoga has free at-home kids yoga lesson plans.
Cooking is a great way to learn math skills, culinary skills, literacy, and science. Nomster Chef has illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook with their grown-ups. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math, and science.
KiwiCo has quick and easy at-home project kits mailed right to your home. They are curated for kids 2 and older, all the way through middle school.
SworkIt has kid-friendly workouts — choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout.
Many children are missing their therapies, but OT Toolbox offers at-home occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy resources designed to build skills in children through movement and play.
Looking for more ideas? We found plenty of apps, websites, games, and activities for children of all different ages and grade levels on Pinterest.
Follow our board here to get some more ideas.
RELATED: 11 Kid-Friendly Alternatives to YouTube
Activities and Games You Can Do while Temporary Homeschooling During Coronavirus Quarantine
- BrainQuest games– these fun question-and-answer games can spark conversations, discussions, and make learning fun. They have BrainQuest games for preschoolers up through 8th grade
- Board Games– Homeschooling families recommended playing board games which can enhance math skills, reading skills, and cooperative play
- Card Games– Cards are a great way to have fun while enhancing different math skills. Here is a list of 15 card games you can play with the kids.
- Educational Documentaries– Almost every streaming service has educational documentaries available. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about what the kids were learning at school either- you can watch something that simply interests them in a fun and engaging way.
- CNN 10- Available on YouTube, these 10-minute shorts are quick documentaries and informational clips about different topics. You can watch an interesting short and then have a discussion afterward, letting the learning take you and your kids into different areas of topic and research.
- Audible.com– If you have an Audible subscription, you can let educational books (biographies and non-fiction, or even fun fiction that they love) play in the background while they do a fun and low-key activity like build with LEGOS or color.
RELATED: Is Homeschooling Right for Your Military Family?
Other Tips to Help Your Non-Homeschooling Family Get through Temporary Homeschooling During Coronavirus Quarantine
Many of the homeschooling families recommended making this time a fun learning experience. If your school is only scheduled to be closed for a short duration of a week or two, don’t worry about setting up a homeschool schedule. If your school is looking at something more long-term, consider creating a basic routine with plenty of breaks in between. Here are some helpful tips from military family homeschoolers in regards to this time of transition:
- Set up a flexible schedule but one that has some sort of routine to it if you think you might be doing this long term. Otherwise, take it in stride, have some fun together, and engage with activities and topics that interest your children rather than force a strict schedule.
- You don’t have to spend the same amount of hours teaching that they are in school. Much of the school day is transition time (plus lunch, recess, and specials), so the actual instruction time is quite a bit less than the 6 or so hours they are at school.
- Do an activity for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, and then switch to something else. If your kids are really engaged in something, let them keep at it. But if they are getting antsy, make a change.
- Have a checklist of tasks to complete for the day. Let your kids check things off so they feel more accomplished and so they have an idea of what they should focus on throughout the day.
- Schools may close down but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay home. Of course, it is a good idea to avoid large crowds (this wouldn’t be the time to visit Disneyworld) but you can still do things like nature walks, trails, bike rides around the neighborhood, and small group gatherings (if everyone is healthy)
- Work together with your neighborhood and fellow parents if possible. Some parents may be better at working with younger children, while others have the skill set to focus on higher subject levels for older kids. If you live in base housing, chances are that you’re all in the same boat, so work together to help create a fun and educational experience for everyone as long as it’s safe to do so.
- If you have children in varying different grade levels, you may want to consider staggering activities. Create a block of time where you will help your older child with math, science, or another subject while the younger children play LEGOS, watch an educational documentary, or play outside and then switch to focus on a subject with your younger children.
If you are looking to set up some sort of schedule, albeit a fluid one, here is an example of how your morning could go:
- Morning Math (15-30 minutes)
- Guided reading or literacy work (15-30 minutes)
- Snack break
- Science or social studies (15 to 30 minutes)
- Educational documentary
- Outdoor play or free play
- Writing (15 to 30 minutes)
- Art activity or free play
- Computer work (if applicable)
RELATED: From Mainstream Classroom to Worldschooling
Here are some tips and advice from homeschooling parents that have gone through the transition of traditional school to homeschooling:
“You just need to realize that their routine has been interrupted so they are going to be a little chaotic, just be patient. Also, video games count as homeschooling!”
“Reading: Go to the library and pick out a couple of books. Or if you want to avoid public pick some books you already have, or get some from Amazon. Free read! Let them read whatever they want. Make it fun. Make a reading fort out of sheets and chairs.
Writing: Do some freewriting each day. Put a timer on (10 to 15 minutes) and tell them to write whatever comes to mind for that time. The only rule is they have to keep writing. No stopping, don’t worry about spelling- just put thoughts on paper. Also, story cubes are fun.”
“Just make it fun. Watch educational programs, play games, try and get into nature if you can too”
“For managing having kids home all day, I like to break things up and completely shift gears every 30 minutes or so. For example: do work at the table, then some reading out loud, some free time or outside play, then move onto quiet reading, then into a hands-on activity, then on to journals/writing, etc.”
“I feel that if a kid is stuck in the same position doing the same thing for too long, it leads to wandering minds and misbehavior. But if you can say, “Ok- now let’s get up and move around” or “How about we lay on the couch and you can listen to me read this chapter?” then the day goes smoother.”
“This is temporary, so make the best of it. If you want to do formal schooling, keep it to an hour or two per day at the absolute most. But the suggestions about documentaries, reading, playing games- that’s going to be more impactful since it’s all engaging.”
Some quotes have been edited for clarity and length
If you find yourself truly wanting to explore the idea of homeschooling for your children, or that the curriculums and coursework provided by your school are not effective for you family, check out the Time4Learning Homeschool Standards by state to ensure that you are meeting state standards and requirements.
Military families and civilians who utilize traditional schooling may find themselves a bit lost on how to help carry along their child’s education with school closures. Most schools will have something in place for parents for in-home education, but since this is a novel experience, some schools may not be as well-equipped as others. In addition, some students, like elementary-age students, may not fare as well in a virtual setting compared to a classroom. These educational apps, activities, tips, and advice for temporary homeschooling during coronavirus quarantine will help supplement your at-home curriculum as well as create a steady routine that will help make the days run smoother.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out Homeschooling on the Road: What I Packed and What I Should Have Packed