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CONVERGE | Entertainment

7 Great Online Learning Tools for Kids at Home

May 11, 2020

If your new role as a parent is now teacher, these are for you.

Due to COVID-19-related school closings, parents are increasingly taking on the roles of teacher for an estimated 54 million children whose school hours now take place at home.

While the extra time together as a family can be rewarding, taking charge of a child's learning can also be nerve-wracking for anyone without a teaching background.

Thankfully, there are many online learning tools to lend a helping hand, from lessons and educational activities to ideas for creative breaks and tips for keeping kids engaged. The only prerequisites? Reliable internet and a willingness to try new things.

Delve into the Past

History channel offers a dedicated educational section called History at Home that features free videos and study guides for middle and high school students. The site's "This Day in History" section highlights important moments of the past, while the History Vault showcases documentaries for history buffs of all ages.

Enjoy Story Time at The Reading Corner

For children up to 10 years old, The Reading Corner presents videos-on-demand with two storytellers reading aloud new and beloved tales, accompanied by classical music and whimsical original drawings. With over 400 reading videos available in English and Spanish, kids can explore themes such as fairy tales, holidays and the changing seasons. The Reading Corner is available as a subscription on Cox Contour, so kids can curl up for story time while parents take a break — or join in to listen.

Teach Math with Music

Math doesn't come naturally to all. Students that are intimidated by mathematics can lose confidence in the ability to succeed in the subject. This causes misdirected fear of mathematics overall and that can be hard for a parent teaching their child math. Enter Make Music Count, an app that is not only effective but enjoyable. The Make Music Count curriculum is made to be fun, incorporating songs that students know and love. The musical application to songs on the piano provides a sense of gamification and eliminates fear.

Start Your Virtual Classroom 

A collaboration among educational publishers, non-profit companies and technology companies, Wide Open School is a free, online resource that spans classes across the curriculum, including art tutorials, math games and virtual field trips. Organized by level from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, the site also programs kid-friendly yoga, mindfulness classes and emotional health learning.

Parents can use the scheduling tool to program a well-rounded day, thanks to helpful tips on classes and activities that includes evening recommendations for the whole family. There are also live-streamed events from musicians, artists and teachers offering free lessons and concerts that students — and parents — can tune into online or on Cox Contour.

Let Common Sense Media Guide You

With more choices in TV and movies than ever, Common Sense Media makes it easier to pick content that's both entertaining and age-appropriate. The site's age-based ratings and reviews are available throughout the on-demand section on Cox Contour. Families can browse selections together to easily find child- or teen-friendly favorites, while parents can head to the Cox Digital Academy for more educational games and resources, including tips to help make online learning effective and fun.

Play Smart with BrainPOP

BrainPOP is a subscription service that offers some free content, including an interactive virtual microscope through which young learners can practice lab skills. Full of fun, educational videos and games, the site lets kids in grades four and up explore subjects and ideas in and outside the academic curriculum. In the Judicial Court, for example, kids can argue court cases, and many subjects offer similarly creative learning tools, such as creating concept maps or coding games and videos

Learn About the Wonders of the World 

At Wonderopolis, daily articles about wonders large and small aim to pique the interests of kids and parents alike. A "Wonder of the Day" might delve into the animal kingdom or spotlight contemporary topics — such as busking or the origins of Netflix — that make for good discussion. Best for older readers or younger readers making use of parents' help, the articles are accompanied by videos, mini-tests and suggestions for related activities and further discussion.

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