Even more free resources for home-schooling during the coronavirus crisis

Lisa Tolin

This list of home-schooling resources is being updated as more resources become available.

With schools closing to stop the spread of coronavirus, you may find yourself working from home with a new side-gig: teacher.

If you're new to home-schooling, you're probably wondering how you can help your kids learn and keep them occupied while you work. Is it possible to avoid a screen time free-for-all and keep your sanity?

With everything from free lessons from Scholastic to a daily doodle with Mo Willems, these free home-school resources will help:

1. Set up "school"

Your child's school may have learning packets or classes via Google classrooms or Zoom. Check with your child's teacher or principal for guidance for a free home-school curriculum.

Looking for a home-school daily schedule? This quarantine home-school schedule template is a start.

You may want to try to follow your child's regular school schedule, or decide on a plan with a family meeting. These printable schedules let you plan out your day.

Keep in mind younger children may only be able to focus on a task for 10 or 15 minutes. Take lots of movement breaks, sing songs and get outside when you can.


2. Watch webinars

Mo Willems, of "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" and "Elephant and Piggie" fame, is hosting "lunchtime doodles" at 1 p.m. EDT.

Jarret J. Krosoczka, author of the "Lunch Lady" graphic novel series and the National Book Award finalist "Hey, Kiddo," is hosting daily drawing webcasts on YouTube at 2 p.m. EDT for all ages.

Author and illustrator Grace Lin ("Big Mooncake for Little Star") is posting tutorials and readings on her YouTube channel.

Khan Academy is a great, free resource for instructional videos on many topics.

Mystery Science is offering free science lessons during school shutdowns.

TED-Ed has video lessons and series by top educators, made into animated videos for kids.

The Kennedy Space Center is having live presentations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Facebook Live at 9:30 a.m. EDT for younger children, and 1 p.m. for young adults.

NPR's Ari Shapiro is hosting weekly classes on current events, with an assignment Monday and discussion Thursday.

And Sesame Street is offering special resources during the crisis, including a virtual hug from Elmo.

3. Play some read-alouds

Some of your children's favorite authors are offering daily read-alouds during the crisis. This list of read-alouds from We Are Teachers is full of resources, and Kidlit TV has a library of read-alouds and activities.

Mac Barnett ("Sam and Dave Dig a Hole," "Mac B: Kid Spy") will read daily at 3 p.m. EDT and Oliver Jeffers ("Stuck," "Here We Are") at 2 p.m. EDT.

Peter H. Reynolds, author of "The Dot" and "ish" has daily Facebook Lives.

Kate Messner, author of the new middle grade novel "Chirp" and picture book "The Next President" with Adam Rex, shares an array lessons from other authors on her website.

Romper put together "Operation Storytime" with read-alouds from enough authors to fill a virtual library.

Authors who are planning new read-alouds and lessons are sharing their schedules in a google doc created by literacy advocate Olivia Van Ledtje, and more are sharing resources with the Twitter hashtag #kidlitquarantine.

And major children's publishers, including Penguin and HarperCollins, are planning daily read-alouds and activities.

4. Use free educational websites

Many educational websites are offering free subscriptions during school closures. The Facebook group Amazing Educational Resources gathered them into a public spreadsheet. It includes resources for reading, math, history, Chinese, coding, music and more.

Scholastic learn-at-home is offering free online resources during the crisis, including 20 days of lessons for grades pre-K to 9 and up to three hours of lessons a day.

The education company Hand2Mind launched a new Learn at Home platform with streaming lessons for grades K-5 and downloadable STEM activities.

Open Culture has free textbooks, movies and audiobooks and links to free online courses from professors.

Prodigy Math, which is used by many school districts, has free video game style math learning. And the language program Duolingo offers free online learning tools. And the website CK-12 has age-appropriate lessons in all subjects for different grades.

For young children, Bright Horizons created a library of free resources for infants up to school-age kids.

For high schoolers, Fiveable is a free resource for Advanced Placement class learning and test prep.

Outschool, which offers live online classes in small groups, is offering free classes to those affected by school shutdowns.

Encantos Learning Hub has tools for bilingual education and geography. And Ed Helper provides free daily workbooks for Pre-K through high school.

5. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts

Audible announced a free Audible Stories website with audiobooks for children of all ages. Everything on the site is free, with no login or membership required.

The streaming audio service Pinna is offering families and teachers two free months of access to their audio streaming service for kids ages 3-12. To activate, go to Pinna and use the promo code: PINNA4KIDS.

There are plenty of educational and entertaining podcasts for kids, including NPR's WOW in the World, Story Pirates and Brains On! Story Pirates also introduced a creators club with free digital resources.


The Story Seeds podcast shows the creative process in real time, with kids and authors collaborating on story ideas. And Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest with author Adam Gidwitz ("A Tale Dark and Grimm") offers safely thrilling spooky tales.

The But Why? podcast includes an episode to explain what's happening with coronavirus to kids.

6. Check out Ebooks

Many libraries are closing, but online resources remain available. Check Libby, Kanopy, SimplyE and Hoopla to get free resources with your library card.

The Epic! reading app announced Monday that it would be free to parents for the rest of the school year. To unlock free at-home access, students and their families need a digital invitation from a teacher or school librarian, who can sign up free to provide access to their students and even assign books to read remotely.

Google's reading app Rivet is free and designed to help children from kindergarten to third grade learn to read.

VOOKS, an online streaming library, is offering a month for free during school shutdowns in addition to resources and lesson plans.

The educational resource publisher Twinkl is offering its library of more than 630,000 educational resources for free to residents of the U.S. Just enter the code USATWINKLHELPS to gain access.


Time for Kids is also offering its digital library for free during the crisis.

7. Print activity sheets

Many children's book authors offer free activity sheets on their websites. Jarrett Lerner, author of "Enginerds," is creating new worksheets every few days that let kids finish a comic or complete a drawing with their own silly ideas.

Author/illustrator Elise Gravel also made some new (relevant) worksheets, like make your own silly virus.

Your local independent bookstore may be shutting down but offer free delivery or limited pick-up hours. Consider open-ended activity books along with reading material that your child loves.


The Tinkeractive workbook company is offering a free, downloadable workbook page on its website each day. And the Dr. Seuss website Seussville has free printable activities and recipes.

Dictionary.com has created a new Learning at Home center for all ages, and is posting a kids word of the day on social media.

8. Get physical

With kids kept indoors more than usual, don't forget to provide plenty of wiggle time.

The Kidz Bop YouTube channel has dance-along videos. Mark Kanemura, a former backup dancer with Lady Gaga and contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance," is offering virtual dance parties on Instagram.

Cosmic Kids Yoga has free (and wildly entertaining) yoga resources for young children. And Go Noodle features short videos to get kids moving.

A fitness coach in the U.K. is offering "fitness with Joe" P.E. classes during the crisis.

Just because you're quarantined doesn't mean you're under house arrest. Take your work outside and let the kids dig, or just observe nature. They can track what they see in a science notebook.

Tinkergarten, the outdoor early learning program, is offering Tinkergarten At Home for families with weekly activity ideas and other resources.

9. Be creative

This whole exercise is going to require loads of creativity for any parent, and it's a great opportunity for kids to get creative, too.

For a little music education, a number of children's musicians are hosting regular singalongs. Find a full list of playtime playlists.

DC Comics is starting a DC Kids Camp with activities from its authors and illustrators Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. EDT on its Instagram and Twitter accounts. Parents can also sign up for the DC Family Newsletter to get daily activity ideas.

Keri Smith, author of the "Wreck This Journal" books, is creating daily exploration prompts at her website. The Rebel Girls team is launching Rebel Girls at Home, including a digital download of their "I Am a Rebel Girl" journal, podcasts and activities from their books.

Illustrator Carson Ellis is providing illustration prompts on Instagram.

Author Kate DiCamillo is providing weekly writing prompts on YouTube. Bonus: Writing time for kids is quiet time for parents.

Author and illustrator Dan Santat is giving kids a chance to earn "badges" during the pandemic, with extra points for leaving parents alone to work.

America's Test Kitchen Kids is offering free recipes, activities and experiments for kids during the coronavirus crisis. Raddish kids also offers resources and recipes for kids, and is giving away some free meal kits.

Sign up for the PBS Kids newsletter for more activities to try with kids.

National Geographic Kids also has quizzes, puzzles and games. And Quizlet provides free learning games and tools.

KiwiCrate has free educational resources and DIYS on its website.

For something hands-on, the builders program Girls Garage has started Tool School on Instagram.

10. Find educational screen time

If your kids Netflix, you can chill (or get some work done). And there are plenty of quality films to get you through quarantine.

Commonsense media keeps a list of the best documentaries for kids.

For an all-family TV break, shows about cooking and travel can be great cross-overs.

Amazon Prime added dozens of free streaming shows for kids, including "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," "Arthur" and "Pete the Cat."

Be kind to yourself; remember this is temporary and no one expects perfection. If you make good use of the new Disney Plus streaming service, your kids may remember it as the best school year ever.