Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Free and paid at-home education resources
Keep your kids busy and engaged while home from school.
With many schools closed across the country in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, parents are left wondering how to structure their children’s days at home. It’s important to note that any at-home education you might work on with your kids won’t officially count toward their progress in school — unless you’ve gone through the necessary steps to legally homeschool your child.
However, keeping your kids engaged and on a schedule while schools are shut down can be beneficial to their overall development, not to mention help keep you and your family sane while stuck at home. Fortunately, there are a number of free educational resources now available that parents and children can access online.
Where to find at-home education resources
1. Check the school’s website
Start by touching base with your child’s teachers, principal and school website to see if online learning packets or other materials are available. Many districts also provide at-home education tips and grade-by-grade lesson plans for parents.
2. Use free education websites
In addition to the various free online learning resources that have always been available, many formerly paid subscription options are now being offered for free. Below are just a few free online educational resources you can use.
- Book Creator App
- Ascend Math
- Voces Digital
- Big History Project
3. Watch webinars online
Lots of creative webinars, podcasts and other learning opportunities are now available for free online. A few children’s authors and artists even offer virtual programs to help keep kids occupied and engaged:
- Mo Willems: “Doodles” webinar
- Jarrett Krosocka: “Draw Everyday” webinar
- Keri Smith: Daily exploration prompts on website and Instagram
Khan Academy and Mystery Science also have lots of instructional videos available on their websites for free.
4. Take virtual field trips
Just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you and your kids can’t still explore the world. Google Arts & Culture has over 2,000 museums available online for you to visit virtually. Check out these virtual tours of everything from zoos to museums:
- San Diego Zoo
- Cincinnati Zoo
- Yellowstone National Park
- Mars Curiosity Rover
- Louvre Museum
- Great Wall of China
- British Museum
5. Check out e-books
Give these free electronic resources a try.
- Epic! Reading App: Ask your teacher or school librarian to give you free remote access.
- SimplyE: Use your New York Public Library card to access.
- Project Gutenburg
- Magic Keys
- Gateway to the Classics
- Oxford Owl
- Amazon’s Free Kids eBooks
At-home education tips for parents
- Set a schedule. Part of the benefit of “homeschooling” your kids while they’re away from school is keeping them on a set schedule. Map out daily and weekly plans to keep everyone on track and prevent boredom. There are lots of free sample schedules available online. Or make your own based on your family’s specific needs.
- Start with one subject. You don’t have to knock out your kid’s entire school curriculum the first day they’re home. Pick one subject that your child enjoys or needs extra help with on Day 1, have an age-appropriate lesson and then take a break. Build upon your progress each day, lengthening or shortening individual lessons or schoolwork hours as you see fit.
- Tailor lesson durations to different age groups. A 6-year-old isn’t going to sit still and pay attention for an hour straight, but your middle-school student should be able to. Schedule lessons in bite-size chunks throughout the day to keep children engaged.
- Incorporate bedtime reading into your routine. At-home learning doesn’t always have to be formal. Bedtime reading is a great way to incorporate reading and writing skills into your child’s day in a relaxed environment, while encouraging imagination and creativity.
- Let screen time double as educational time. Take advantage of the many informational, yet entertaining documentaries, movies, shows and other material available on Netflix, YouTube and other platforms.
So many free online at-home education resources are now available to help parents and kids. Take this as an opportunity to spend quality time with your kids that you wouldn’t otherwise have. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, you’ll find tons of ideas on the related Reddit forum.
Thinking of making the switch to online school permanent? Compare your options with our guide to K–12 online education.
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
With unemployment on the rise, here’s how to protect your finances
Pause repayments, look for low-cost relief to cover expenses and other tips to keep your finances healthy while unemployed.
Chase First Banking review
A bank account for kids that helps your child develop healthy money habits early on. Powered by Greenlight.
25 books, films and podcasts about Indigenous histories and cultures
A list of recommended resources to uncover the “other side” of American history.
Goalsetter Cashola card review
The Cashola card can help your kids save, but is it right for your family?
Best 3D printers in 2020
Whether you’re a student or an industry professional, we broke down the best 3D printers to suit your needs — from budget options to accessible features.
Time4Learning homeschool review
A flexible, secular online curriculum with multimedia lessons and automated grading.
New loan directly pays your child care providers each month
The new KidVantage child care loan offers a hands-off way to make room in family budgets.
Are you a remote worker? We may have found your next home base
These countries are welcoming remote workers from the US.
Acellus Academy online private school review
A self-paced online curriculum that uses engaging and professionally recorded videos.
Connections Academy online public school review
This online public school offers a rigorous curriculum featuring live learning sessions with teachers and classmates.
Ask an Expert