So the schools may be closed and the kids are home. It doesn’t matter why this is happening. It could be a snow day or a little bit of pandemic-driven social distancing. Either way, you now have to deal with doing your job from home while also taking responsibility for your children’s education.
The good news is that there are a lot of educational apps and websites out there to make that job just a little easier. The bad news is that picking out which opportunities of e-learning for kids are actually good isn’t straightforward. To help get you started, here are apps and tools we think are the most helpful to educate your kids while they are stuck at home.
We are big fans of Khan Academy and if you didn’t bother reading the rest of this list you’d still be armed with just about everything you need for the home education of your children.
Khan Academy offers a totally free, comprehensive K-12 online learning facility. In fact, it also covers some advanced placement and early college content for those of you blessed with a young prodigy in the home.
Khan Academy has spent years refining their content and exercises, resulting in a very polished and effective learning experience. There’s a mobile app (on iOS and Android) or you can simply use the web interface. There are also tools with e-learning for kids for both parents and teachers to oversee the progress of the student and plan out their learning schedule.
Khan Academy can be used as a way to reinforce existing schooling, but it can also act as a replacement, as it was originally envisioned as a way to bring quality education to parts of the world where it isn’t very accessible.
While Khan Academy is free to use, if you’re in a position to do so, you can support them via donations and make sure other children also benefit from this priceless learning resource.
If you haven’t checked in on Google Earth lately, you may be forgiven for thinking it’s nothing more than a (admittedly amazing) 3D map of the planet. While Google Earth may have started out as an online 3D atlas, it’s evolved into one of the best pieces of technology to educate your children with.
For one thing, it’s a wonderful way for kids to learn through exploration. They can freely roam the digital globe and discover places naturally, which is a powerful way to learn. However, Google has created guided tour tools and offers curated lists of the best ones to choose from.
There are also simple games and tie-ins with franchises such as Carmen Sandiego. Google Earth deserves to be on any list of e-learning tools for kids.
It’s hard to put a number on how valuable public broadcasters such as PBS or the BBC are for quality education. In the past shows like Sesame Street have helped children become literate and numerate, with a smattering of good morals, through the medium of TV. In the modern internet age that legacy continues through the internet and mobile applications.
PBS has a long history of quality educational programs and there are two PBS Kids apps you should definitely consider if your children are in the right age group.
The first is PBS Kids Games, which includes more than 100 mini games that cover subjects like science, mathematics and literacy. The content is guaranteed to be safe for toddlers and young children. There are also offline games, so you don’t have to worry about mobile data.
The second app is PBS Kids Videos which is a streaming app with their catalogue of kid-friendly educational shows. Unlike YouTube, you can safely leave your little ones to watch anything on this app, since it’s carefully designed to be completely inoffensive. With genuine educational content and good life lessons to boot, this app may save your sanity and edify your sprogs.
A good dictionary is essential for students of any age, but the typical tome from Oxford or Merriam-Webster may be a little too dry and technical for youngsters. This is why the Kids Wordsmyth dictionary is worth a bookmark or an app installation.
It’s definitions are written in simple language and often include a cute illustration to demonstrate the point. Another great feature of Kids Wordsmyth are the curated vocabulary topics. That turns it into more than just a companion app, but a mainline learning app in its own right. Topics such as “The Human Body” and “Everyday Life” will help build the vocabulary of both first- and second- language English-speaking children.
The only real negative thing we can say about the site and its apps that support e-learning for kids is that they could do with a modern lick of paint, but there are no issues navigating or reading the content, so really we shouldn’t complain about this minor issue.
Common Core Standards
The Common Core Standards describe exactly what skills and knowledge a student should have at every stage of the K-12 process. It’s meant to make it easy for educators to plan, test and grade students, ensuring that everyone conforms to the same basic education level.
It also means that if you’re taking on the role of teacher for your own kids, you need to have a map of the Common Core Standards to make sure everything is being covered properly.
MasteryConnect (on iOS and Android) has done us all a favor and created an app which shows you a simple yet comprehensive overview of the entire Common Core. You can see exactly what’s expected of your children at each phase of their education. Older kids can even use this app to look for gaps in their own mastery.
It’s not the sexiest tool on this list, but you may quite literally be lost without it if your own kids need to conform to Common Core.
Some People Just Like To Watch the World Learn
There has never been a time in history where e-learning for kids was more accessible than today. The internet has broken down the barriers between kids and knowledge, but they still need firm guidance to turn that access into actual knowledge. Starting with the tools on this list, you now have the power to provide that guidance and, with a little luck, also manage to create some peace and quiet.