Best resources for online learning and socializing for K and Pre-K?
July 22, 2020 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Calling all parents and educators! Where are the good online classes and resources to get kids engaged and interacting with each other? My kids (4 and 5) are going feral at home and I feel like I'm failing at their education. Help.

I don't have much hope that schools can safely reopen in the fall, and I don't expect my school district nor my preschool (run by wonderful people who are not at all competent with technology or teleconference software) to present much, if any, online replacement.
I'm thinking about a couple of options. My kids (4 and 5) need to learn and they especially need to interact with other kids, and I want to figure out what the best remote solutions. They don't have a lot of friends, and we just moved to a different community before the pandemic, so we don't even really know many local people.

So this is a broad question for the many parents and educators here:
  • Best resources for online classes for young kids? Art, science, music, story telling, anything. Ideally, live classes with remote instructors and small class sizes, but things like YouTube channels are okay too. Where are the kind, gifted educators running great online classes that get kids engaged with learning and interacting with each other? Willing to spend money!
  • Which online resources and forums should I be reading to get ideas from?
  • I'm thinking about organizing a "virtual co-op" with friends in the same boat, where parents rotate running a daily Zoom meeting and teach a class. Have you tried anything like this? How did it go?
  • What are you doing with your young kids stuck at home? What has worked well?
  • Should I be looking at homeschooling programs? My education philosophy is secular and STEAM-oriented, which I think maybe wouldn't mesh well with a lot of existing homeschooling material, but maybe I'm wrong?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl to Education (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
1. Are there kids in your immediate neighborhood the same age? If so, maybe you can try forming a social bubble with one or two families, and allow the kids to socialize - with masking, distancing, etc, whatever you feel comfortable with.
2. Join all the local FB/Nextdoor groups and ask around for what you want.
3. Check your local school district to see if they are offering homeschooling assistance/materials - my school district has this, and is providing homeschooling support of a sort. I'm not opting for that, so I don't know if it's any good, but it would be something to research.
4. Re: Zoom classes - my pre-K kid is on a daily Zoom right now for approximately 1.5 hours, and it is the max he can handle. Even with him sitting next to me while I work, I'm constantly having to get him to pay attention, and stop fiddling around with the tablet, etc. I would not suggest committing to more than 1 Zoom class per day, or at least, spacing them out a lot.
posted by toastyk at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2020

Two ipad apps that seem to be widely used in my area by parents of younger kids:

Khan Academy Kids
Teach Your Monster To Read
posted by aramaic at 5:36 PM on July 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Came to say Khan Academy is great!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:35 PM on July 22, 2020

Offline activities are welcome too! I think the solution to this is going to be a combination of all the available options.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:32 PM on July 22, 2020

Khan Academy has been a lifesaver for me homeschooling a 4 year old. The app is really engaging and my kid is clearly learning things from it. They have a nice mix of activities. Their schedules have also helped me figure out how to structure our days. I’m working, so we use the one for that (with more screen time/independent play) but they have options. It was a great starting point. The ones with the little pictures for the kids to follow along helped so much, my kid had “buy in” when he could see what we were doing.

We also do the weekly summer camp. They have dates but everything is available online whenever. I use the theme and their extra activities to fill in the learning time on the schedule. It’s also been pretty easy to find books we already have to fit the themes for reading time. My kid really likes the Circle Times and they have a good backlog on YouTube.

I’m hoping when the camp ends, I’ll have enough ideas to cobble together our own theme weeks going forward. It feels like having a structure has helped us both a lot, and made sure we get a bit of everything worked in each day.

We also got a giant pre-school workbook that my kid really enjoys. The first part is mostly just tracing. There are also so many opportunities throughout the day to point out counting or spelling, or talk about how things work. I use a lot of the above because I’m trying to fit it in between doing my job, but I think at preschool age they really do learn a lot just by hanging out and talking to them and asking them questions. We walk around the neighborhood and talk about bugs and plants we see. We do very simple art stuff, like he wanted to make “space” so we cut out all the planets (approximately) from construction paper and talked about them. Then we taped them to the wall in order. My kid loved that, and it was pretty fun for me too. A lot of the best things we do come from just talking to him and then figuring out a way to talk about or do whatever has his interest.

I hope this helped! I’ve been really in this for a few months now with a very extroverted child and we’re doing okay so far. Good luck!
posted by notheotherone at 12:58 AM on July 23, 2020

« Older How do I practice effective self-care during a...   |   Back to school - how not to get COVID from your... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments