I’m not going to sugarcoat any feelings here. I’m scared. I’m scared of the pandemic, I’m scared of its toll on our world, I’m scared for my family, and I’m scared of our new “normal” that we are so quickly having to adjust. This is a time of uncertainty, and I’ve had moments of true fear and I’ve let it get me down. To get the best of me. To see only the darkness instead of embracing the light.
We’ve quickly been thrown into roles of stay-at-home-working-mom-teachers who may or may not be equipped to deal with much of that role.
But as we do in this beautiful life, we choose happiness. We choose the positive over the negative. We choose to be the calm and to be the light.
I read an article recently that described one of the major roles of flight attendants as they train for their roles is to remain calm in any and all situations. When there is excessive turbulence, who do the passengers look to? The flight attendants. If they are calm, the passengers remain calm. We get our relief and solace from them. Well today, we are the flight attendants. Our children are looking to us in these uncertain times, and here we are, pushing forward and choosing calm over fear, and embracing this new normal in these very bumpy times.
So I’m back to my little slice of the Internet to keep things light and random. Back to Growing Up Kemper to maybe help you keep a little normal and a little sanity in our lives. And what better way to get there than a few apps and websites that could make homeschooling our children a little more fun and a lot less stressful. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite apps and websites that I either used in my elementary classroom or currently use with my boys at home. They’re tried and true and great additions to help your child thriving outside of their classrooms.
Khan Academy Kids (free) – One of the very best apps to use through all subject areas: Math, Reading, Writing, Logic, Problem Solving, and open-ended drawing and storytelling. The animal characters help your children through this adaptive learning program that moves at your child’s pace through lessons, videos, and fun games. Parent’s Choice Gold Award and one of my favorites because no subscriptions and no ads.
Moose Math (free) – Kids solve math problems while working at different stores with the Duck Duck Moose characters. Rewards allow for them to build their very own city and decorate the buildings. I love it because there is a parent report card that shows where your child may need additional support and gives you great resources to help in those areas.
Teach Your Monster to Read (free on desktop, 1-week free trial on app but several games are always free) – Such a fun way to teach letter sounds and phonetics while completely engaging my boys. I’ve seen drastic improvements in Jackson’s early reading skills because of this app!
Learn with Homer (Free with in-app purchases) – I purchased this monthly subscription for Jackson last year and he’s loved working on his “Pathway” because of the funny characters or videos that disguise all the actual learning going on. 🙂 The letter tracing is difficult for little ones and does tend to frustrate him enough to skip through it, but overall he really enjoys the lessons, games, and loves the video library where books are read aloud.
Epic! Kids Books and Videos – (free, with in-app purchases) – This app has been nicknamed the Netfix of Kid’s Books because it has the MOST high-quality kids books and videos out there. It has over 35,000 books from Scholastic, Smithsonian, Macmillan, HarperCollins…you name it. Well-known books and series include Fancy Nancy, Flat Stanley, Warriors, Biscuit, National Geographic Kids, The Chronicles of Narnia, Batman, Goosebumps, Clifford, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Goodnight Moon, Big Nate, and many more. Our libraries are closed right now so take advantage of this selection!
National Geographic Kids (free on desktop) – You can truly spend hours on this website for the amount of information, pictures, videos, and games they have available to you. Anything from prehistoric creatures to Weird but True facts about Venus to science experiments you can try at home, this website is a wealth of amazing information for kids and adults alike!
Skyview – (free Lite edition, $1.99 for full edition) – Just put your ipad or iphone up to the sky and learn all about the stars and constellations all around you. On a clear night, it’s such a fun way to understand a little more about space.
Marco Polo Ocean (free) – Dive down into the ocean and learn all about ocean life, build a coral reef, create an aquarium, interact with species, and learn more about ocean life than I ever realized even existed. 🙂 A really cute game to learn and explore everything oceans.
Brain Pop Jr. (free content each week) – Each week, Brain Pop releases a new movie, as well as activities and quizzes, to their app. It ranges from science to art to technology. We love checking in each week to see what the video is about and learn a something new. This past week it was all about spring and the vernal equinox. Jackson got so much out of the five minute video and rewatched it multiple times for the silly robot, Moby. 🙂
Habitat the Game (free) – Users get to adopt a polar bear and then work to keep the bear alive and healthy by successfully completing events in the game and undertake real world actions. You complete the tasks and move through levels, increasing the health of their bear and earn badges on the way. Ultimately the goal is to save the world by improving the bear’s health. It’s an awesome game on animal preservation and how our actions can effect the wildlife around us.
Stay calm, shelter in place, and know that you’ve got this! We’re in this together and we will make it through. 🖤