Suddenly home schooling? Here are resources to help

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 10:00am

    Television producer Shonda Rhimes just wrote on Twitter what a lot of parents are thinking.

    Throughout March, school districts in southern, central, western and Midcoast Maine have closed for two weeks or longer as they take precautions against COVID-19.

    That has left thousands of parents scrambling, not just for daycare and childcare arrangements, but has also made them homeschoolers, ready or not.  And with libraries, YMCAs and other educational organizations shutting down by the day, parents need some help and guidance. While many districts plan on using remote learning to keep the students educationally engaged, there are other resources parents can access to engage their children educationally. Thanks go to Midcoast Collective Care, a collective of people wanting to help, as they have provided many of these resources on their Facebook group page.

    Free Babysitting

    What are single parents supposed to do? Or the two-parent household who must work, leaving students home alone? Five Towns Babysitting Task Force has set up an online database of volunteers around Camden-Rockport who are willing to provide free daycare, along with a form to sign up families in need of free child care. FMI: Details

    Free Internet

    Not every household has the ability to afford WiFi, leaving students home with no access to the outside world or educational resources. Charter Communications announced on March 13 that it would provide free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. FMI: Details 

    During the COVID-19 crisis period, the LTC Family of Companies (Lincolnville Telephone, Tidewater Telecom and LCI Fiber Optic Network) will provide the Internet services below for customers and residents with students at home (K-12 and college) who live in the Tidewater Telecom and Lincolnville Telephone areas. FMI: Details

    Comcast is offering wifi hotspots available nationwide due to the coronavirus. To find an Xfinity WiFi Hotspot, check the hotspot location map at wifi.xfinity.com or download the Xfinity WiFi Hotspots app from the App Store or Google Play.

    Free Educational Online Subscriptions

    Thanks to kidsactivitiesblog.com (a fantastic online resource on its own) they’ve compiled a comprehensive list of more than 100 educational companies offering free subscriptions to their programs while schools are closed. Access them here.

    Virtual Field Trips

    Just because we can’t travel right now, doesn’t mean we can’t see the world. Incorporate lessons into virtual travel to places such as the Galapagos Islands, the Great Wall of China, national parks, Ancient Greece or even underwater to a coral reef in the Bahamas. FMI: Virtual Field Trips

    Video Read-Alouds

    Children who can no longer be read to in-person can still be read to online.  Chris Van Dusen, a local author and illustrator, announced on his Facebook page he is offering a series of live reading his children’s stories The Circus Ship and If I Built A School. Teachers at The Miller School in Waldoboro are also offering video read alouds, which you can find on their Facebook page. Additionally, here are also 100 Free Video Read Alouds to engage your children. And artist Mo Willems is doing Lunch Doodles every day teaching kids how to draw.

    Hands-On Activities for Fidgety Kids

    Staring at a screen for hours doesn’t work for many kids, who need to use their hands or engage in physical play to learn. Here are some easy indoor activities for young kids using everyday materials found in your house. FMI: Indoor Activities

    Note: This list will be updated regularly with more resources as tips come in. Please send your tips to the address below with the subject line: “For homeschooling story”

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com