026: Homeschooling During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we shelter at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have been thrust into the role of ‘accidental homeschooler’. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with this gargantuan task, have no fears—we’re here to help!

In this episode, Megan—a homeschool parent—and Phia—a homeschooled student—share their best tips, tricks, and soothing advice for frazzled parents. (Including Megan’s brilliant trick to keep her toddler entertained for up to 90 minutes at a time!)

Don’t forget to check out Megan’s detailed list of helpful, mostly-free homeschooling resources at the end of the show notes. Thank you for your help, Megan!

We hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe during this challenging time. While it’s not an ideal situation, we’ll do what we can to make the best of it, together. Please listen to our COVID-19 message for our brief thoughts on the pandemic.

Click to view transcript

Thanks to EQ Bank for sponsoring this episode of Explore FI Canada. The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account reimagines banking by offering a competitive everyday interest rate, plus the flexibility of a checking account, along with free transactions, no everyday banking fees, no minimum balances and fast, cheap and fully transparent international money transfers and more—all from a single account. Visit exploreficanada.ca/eqbank to learn more.

Hello and welcome to Explore FI Canada podcast. Join us as we sit with other Canadians at the round table… to discuss, and sometimes argue, about financial independence in Canada!

Money Mechanic 0:51
All right, good afternoon. It’s Money Mechanic with you on Explore FI Canada. And of course, with us as usual is co-host Chrissy.

Chrissy 0:59
Hello, how are you Money Mechanic?

Money Mechanic 1:01
Doing quite well. I’m quite happy to be an introvert at home with my dogs and my wife right now, making the best of things. We also have a new co-host for this episode. Megan from my fair city of Victoria. Welcome, Megan.

Megan 1:16
So happy to be here.

Money Mechanic 1:17
Great to have you here and returning to the show. Once again, one of our favorites, fan favorite, is Phia! Hi, Phia.

Phia 1:25
Hey, guys, thanks so much for having me back.

Money Mechanic 1:28
Always a pleasure. And today we figured we better address some of the issues that are facing most of us these days in an uncertain times. I’m here to learn along with the rest of our listeners because I don’t have children and I don’t have the challenges that many of you are facing with childcare and homeschooling.

Money Mechanic 1:48
But luckily we do have some people with some experience that we can hopefully share with you the listeners and make life a little easier and more fun and we’ll see get through this together as a community Chrissy, you’ve got some kids at home, so does Phia, and so does Megan. So I’m gonna let Chrissy start off with where she wants to go.

Chrissy 2:11
Yeah, well, well Money Mechanic thought of this episode as an idea and I thought it was a fantastic idea because with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, a lot of kids are out of school. They, well, it’s spring break right now, but they will be out of school after spring break ends.

Chrissy 2:28
And we need to find a way to keep their education going, even if their schools don’t open up again. And we thought of Megan and Phia because they both have experience with homeschooling. Megan homeschools her four children and Phia was homeschooled herself as a child growing up.

Chrissy 2:45
And I know you’ve mentioned in the past that you have considered it on and off for your own children now Phia, so how about we start with you? What are your feelings on homeschooling now that you may have no choice but to homeschool your kids for the next little while?

Phia 3:01
Well, it’s it’s definitely going to be an interesting experience. I’m looking forward to it. Actually, I’m looking forward to the challenge of finally being kind of forced to make a make a move on this homeschooling decision that I’ve been pondering for the last little while.

Phia 3:17
But I think it will be a lot of fun. I will be writing a post on it in the next couple months, but I think we have decided to move forward and homeschool our youngest he’s just about to turn three. So as we get a little closer, we’ll start him in the homeschool process.

Phia 3:33
And our oldest has decided that for now that he’s really enjoying where he’s at in school. So he’s going to actually stay in the public school system. So we’ll have our toe in each pond so to speak.

Chrissy 3:44
I like that. It’s an interesting way to do it, and it’ll allow you to compare the differences between the two setups.

Phia 3:52
Yeah, it should be a really interesting contrast, kind of get an experience from both perspectives and then couple that with my experience being homeschooled as a child. And so I’m hoping to get a little bit of the best of both worlds and hopefully bring some opportunities to my kids from from both perspectives.

Chrissy 4:08
Mm hmm. And how about you, Megan? I guess it’s not really a huge change for you with the kids being out of school. How are you managing during this time with your homeschooling?

Megan 4:19
You know, it’s kind of interesting, because everyone has that idea that nothing’s changed for me. But actually, we had a lot of extracurriculars in the community. So those have all been canceled, which means in the beginning of the year, I had planned you know, what the kids will be learning all throughout the year…

Megan 4:35
And heavily based on things that they could go and do in the community, you know, programs at the local university and music classes and all sorts of teams and things like that.

Megan 4:46
So everything is canceled now, so I am a little bit more prepared than someone who’s been thrust into this just in this last week, but still, you know, I have some work to do as well. Refiguring out learning plans and all of that for for my own kids.

Chrissy 5:03
That’s interesting. I’m glad that you’re here to tell us that I wouldn’t have thought being someone who’s never been homeschooled and hasn’t actually been close to anyone who homeschools. That’s fascinating that yeah, you are definitely affected if you’re stuck in the house and can’t get the kids to these extracurriculars.

Megan 5:23
Yeah, absolutely. I think it kind of brings us all together in that even seasoned home schoolers are going to be scrambling just a little bit right now, you know, not as much as the overall community, but it does kind of bring us all together in that we all need to work together and support ourselves in this wild time that we’re all in right.

Megan 5:42
You know, all of our kids are going to go a little bit stir crazy together from a safe distance. So yeah, it’s it’s tricky, but we’re gonna work through it. I’ve got some ideas I’m bringing into the podcast and we’ll chat it out and hopefully give the listeners some good advice. Some, some ideas. Anyways,

Chrissy 6:01
That’s great. Do you want to start with some of the ideas that might be more actionable for listeners who are stuck at home with the kids and want to help them not lose all the learning that they’ve acquired over the year?

Megan 6:14
Yeah, absolutely. So I first I just I really want to say, this is not homeschooling, what most people have been thrust into. This is kind of a last minute attempt to deal with a pandemic, not a seasoned and non-stressful parent sitting down and casually choosing which curriculum might work for each of their children.

Megan 6:40
You know, the kids are going through this huge period of transition and possibly stress if they know what’s going on. And even if they don’t know what’s going on, they might be picking that up from their parents.

Chrissy 6:52
And as I’m sure every parent knows, you know, a stressed child is not an easy to reason with or teach child so I know that a lot of my friends who have kids who are now thrust into this homeschooling life or kind of saying, like, how could you possibly have been doing this for years, this is insanity! I can’t get anything done. They don’t listen! I give them a workbook and they just cry.

Chrissy 7:18

Megan 7:19
I’m getting a lot of that from my friends. And I just, I really just want to put it out there that that is not what homeschooling is. That’s not what it has to be for anybody out there. There’s this idea that kids when they’re in school are just sitting neatly in rows of desks and working on their workbooks and they just sit calmly and listen to the teacher.

Megan 7:42
And it’s just not like that. Not even in school. It’s not even in the best of circumstances when the world isn’t going through this stressful time, right? It’s not like that in classes either. There have been some studies done on the actual amount of learning time that happens.

Megan 8:00
In an entire day at a school, and it’s less than two hours, which you kind of think like how is that possible? But if you think about it from the point of the teacher, right, how much of that time is transition time getting kids to Okay, settle down, it’s time to start listening…

Megan 8:19
And you know, they might read a book and then it’s time for recess and everybody goes outside but before they can go outside, they all have to get ready and that takes you know, 15 minutes and then they come inside and it takes another 15 minutes to put their stuff away and get back to their desks and and all of this right all throughout the day, all of these transitional times.

Megan 8:38
So when you actually sit down how much time are kids learning especially little kids, right high school is a little bit different. But but the the younger kids who you can’t just put with a workbook and expect them to get all this stuff done.

Megan 8:52
They’re not actually sitting and learning for the eight hours a day that they’re that they’re at school. So I just really want to reassure people parents that if your kids are crying because you’ve been trying to get them to do math for an hour, just take a break, you know, take a…

Megan 9:07
Don’t… if if the crying has started, the learning has stopped. And no matter how much you try and calm the situation, they’re they’re not going to learn at this point, they’ve already reached that point of meltdown, you can try and say it’s okay, you know, we’re going to work together.

Megan 9:23
But if they’ve gotten to that point where it’s getting emotional and they feel frustrated, just stop, you don’t have to learn within the period of nine to two each day, right? You can do a little bit here and a little bit there.

Megan 9:37
And you can be strategic with the nighttime stories that you read them as you’re putting them to bed. You can be talking about math problems while they’re having their bath. You can go for a family walk and talk about the types of trees that you see.

Megan 9:53
It doesn’t have to be workbooks that you’ve ordered online that are teaching, you know, common core math. And that’s the only way that you can do things. I think there’s a lot of that that thought process out in the community right now that it has to be something that came from their teacher or came from a an organized curriculum where you get it.

Megan 10:13
And they’re supposed to do this many sheets per day kind of thing. Learning doesn’t need to be like that. And you can maintain everything that your kids have learned up until this point, finding ways that work for those kids specifically, this is kind of a golden opportunity to take things that they’re interested in and be strategic and how you talk about those things.

Megan 10:36
You know, if you have a kid who’s really interested in dinosaurs, and you know that they’re trying to figure out multiplication right now. Well, you can talk about dinosaur mating habits and if two dinosaurs have three babies twice a year, how many dinosaurs Is that right?

Megan 10:55
Like, I think it just kind of requires a mind shift as to how we’re going to teach the kids because this isn’t normal times and you haven’t had months to sit and prepare, and ponder and discuss with your kids, what do they want to learn…

Megan 11:12
And, you know, talk to homeschooling communities and figure out the best curriculums, it just doesn’t have to be like that. This is just a time to kind of come together as a community. I’ve got a ton of resources that we can put into the show notes to share with listeners. And yeah, we’ll figure it all out together.

Chrissy 11:30
Well, I think that’s a really reassuring message that, especially with that, if you really think about it, they’re only getting about two to three hours of education in a full day of school. So that really takes the pressure off as a parent to hear that.

Chrissy 11:44
And I want to ask Phia, is that what you found growing up as a kid? Did you find that your learning could be spread out and it was a lot less pressure than you’re finding in the public school system?

Phia 11:57
100% Chrissy when I I was doing homeschooling as a kid. Oftentimes my workday where I actually was doing, schoolwork would probably be about to up to a maximum of four hours of work. And that included even when I was in my later years of high school.

Phia 12:14
So and on top of that, I, one of my favorite things about being homeschool that I loved was, I would always negotiate with my mom every year when I would start school and when I would finish, and she started to get really free with how I would do that.

Phia 12:29
And she would just tell me well, as long as you get your work done, you can start it and you can finish it whenever you want. So I would often start my school year in late October, and I would finish in early February or March. So it was not only a shorter day, but it was a shorter school year as well.

Chrissy 12:46
That’s interesting.

Phia 12:48
Yeah, it was a huge bonus to me, but it does. It does always amaze me how much work you can accomplish in a home setting when you’re able to sit down and do focus work without all those transition periods that Megan was talking about.

Phia 13:02
And also too, you’re able to work at your own pace. So if you need to spend a little bit more time on one topic, but you’re really efficient at another you can you can cater to that whereas, you know, your traditional teacher has to be, has to work with a whole group and attend to that group’s entire needs and can’t be so learning specific.

Phia 13:20
So when I think about the circumstances of COVID, it’s almost like, it can be a really intimidating thing for parents to all of a sudden be like, Oh, my goodness, I’m now responsible for my child’s learning for the foreseeable future.

Phia 13:31
But when you break it down to you know, I, if I can get my my child learning for two hours out of the day, separated doesn’t even have to be two hours straight through like Megan mentioned, it’s a much more bite sized chunk of time and then looking at it as I don’t need to recreate the school setting.

Phia 13:50
It’s totally okay. If I use this as an opportunity for my child to learn in a different way. So whether that’s, you know, doing your reading question comprehension and math through something as simple as playing Scrabble or another board game or learning how to play crib, or, or doing research online, around a topic that they’re interested in or cooking.

Phia 14:12
Maybe cooking is a great way to get them reading recipes planning, looking for ingredients and doing math in terms of measurements. So it doesn’t have to be as structured or as formal as we envision as parents when we think about a school setting.

Chrissy 14:25
Mm hmm. Now, since you have that experience, as a high schooler, who was homeschooled, I’d like to ask you about that because I’ll ask Megan about the elementary school years because that’s what she’s in right now. But as someone who did the high school curriculum at home, do you have some practical tips for parents who have kids in this age range who are or are in later elementary school years?

Phia 14:48
Yeah, I would say from a high school standpoint, it really depends on your child’s personality. homeschooling is really well suited to kids who are generally self motivated and self discipline. In those later years that makes it very easy from a parenting perspective if your child is, is that kind of natural traits tend towards, you know, sitting down and wanting to finish their work first.

Phia 15:11
But I think for older kids, especially through this process is if they’re that type of personality, great, you’re going to have an easy time with this, they’re just going to get the work done. And that’s all there is to it. But if there’s a little less desire to do that, to get into it, I would say a for me, for one, I would say this is a great opportunity for parents to let their older high school kids sleep as long as they want to.

Phia 15:36
That’s something I’m extremely passionate about is the topic of sleep and rate, the way our public schooling system is set up, it is really not conducive to allowing teenagers to sleep in their optimal circadian rhythms. So use this as an opportunity to let them sleep and if they don’t wake up until 10 or 11. That’s okay.

Phia 15:54
And they might wake up and be that much more efficient and that much more focused and willing to get some work done. Then breaking it up through the day, just like you would with elementary kids, they don’t have to sit there for four or five hours and get all their work done, you know, breaking it up and giving them opportunities to do really focused work.

Phia 16:10
And then step away is probably the ideal way to create a learning environment anyways. So giving them a chunk of time where the expectation is, you know, you do your work, and maybe then that chunk of time is rewarded with some screen time or an opportunity to chat with friends.

Phia 16:27
Maybe online instead of seeing them in person right now. But, and then also a really great opportunity to really cater to your older child’s interests for for my oldest, he’s about to turn 11. So he’s not quite quite in his teens yet, but he’s a huge fantasy boarding.

Phia 16:48
So for me, a challenge that I’ve planned ahead for him is to start to do some research around the origins of skateboarding, how that came about what he can learn About the most famous skateboarders, what he likes about them their tricks and that type of thing.

Phia 17:05
And that gives them an opportunity to take a topic, he loves, that he’s not going to be able to research and learn about in school, per se, and really delve into it, and then come back to me and present those findings.

Phia 17:16
And so that’s going to help him in terms of his reading his comprehension, his research capabilities, and then he’s gonna have to present it to me in an articulate manner, and work on his presentation skills. So you can kind of tailor these opportunities to your kids interests, and where they really like to learn things.

Phia 17:32
And the reality is, is in doing that, you’re probably going to be covering like a broad spectrum of learning skills and content.

Chrissy 17:40
I love that. It just gets my creative juices flowing, thinking about how to handle things with my own kids. And so we’ll go back to Megan now. Thanks for those high schooler and those preteen tips via Megan, you’re in the thick of the elementary school years.

Chrissy 17:55
What are your actionable tips that you can share with parents to get kids started with learning at home and just getting through this tough time?

Megan 18:05
Actually I have a bit of a spread from toddler all the way to teen so I have a whole whole different idea kind of for each bracket because you can’t treat you know teenagers the same as you would treat toddlers who need constant watching and motivation.

Megan 18:22
So one thing that I wanted to add for the the teenager thing from Phia is that my son does not enjoy mornings at all which completely fits into her let them sleep theory it’s absolutely it’s brilliant. I completely agree. My son does almost all of his learning after I’ve gone to bed for the night.

Megan 18:43
He’s a major night owl he will stay up sometimes until midnight working on his schoolwork and he just leaves it on the kitchen counter for me to check when I get up in the morning. He likes kind of the quiet dark period of the evening and when he’s trying to work on anything during the day with all of his younger siblings running around, it just does not work for him at all.

Megan 19:06
So that’s kind of one thing is don’t be stuck in one time period throughout the day and think that your teen has to learn during those same school hours because they don’t this is a great opportunity to be as flexible as they possibly want to be.

Megan 19:23
It’ll take a little bit of de-schooling or unschooling is some of those kind of common terms where kids are adjusting from being out of school, which is very gogogo, very loud, very chaos, right? And then they’re all of a sudden at home and they don’t really get that slow, slow down period to adjust to a homeschooling life.

Megan 19:43
So I would say, people who have just been thrust into this in the last few days or weeks, just don’t have high expectations of anybody, you know, take that time and kind of let’s say like, Okay, this is the new reality.

Megan 19:57
How can we kind of calmly build ourselves into this? Don’t try and go from no schooling at home to all of your schooling at home and expect that that will work. But there are ways that you can do things for especially elementary kids.

Megan 20:11
Like if you have elementary kids, this will be reasonably easy if you can let go up your expectations because there are so many ways to learn and maintain learning that they’ve already done at their schools.

Megan 20:26
And you just build on that at home without having to reinvent that wheel. So that doesn’t necessarily mean workbooks. It can some kids like workbooks. I have one daughter who just cannot get enough like worksheets, coloring books, little educational games and board games and things like that.

Megan 20:45
She can’t get enough she just soaks it all up, but none of my other kids are like that. So that’s kind of another thing is if you have multiple kids be prepared to do different things for each one. But for elementary school kids, there are a minute million apps out there for computers and tablets and phones.

Megan 21:05
Tons of them are free. We will put a whole link a whole list of them in the show notes for people to check out. Even the ones that are normally not free, have in this coded situation come together and put out their apps for 30, 60, 90-day free trials, anything. It’s great. Absolutely great.

Megan 21:26
So for some of my favorite ones, there’s one called Prodigy Math, which is like a video game. So if your kids love video games, this is where you want to go. It’s they kind of follow maps and complete quests and things but they get into these kind of fake magical battles.

Megan 21:46
And in order to have kind of like a win in your battle, you have to be able to answer questions. So Prodigy is amazing because they do a little assessment when your kids first sign up. To see exactly where they’re at, and then they will tailor the questions specifically to where that child is right now and where they need to end up by the end of their grade level.

Megan 22:11
And then in the parent section of that account, you can see reports, this is where your child is really excelling. And ahead of the curve. This is where your child is struggling. They’ll break down examples of the questions that your kids are struggling with. How many questions they answered how long they were on it, like it’s just incredibly detailed. Yeah.

Chrissy 22:30
Can I ask, is something like that, is it tied to the Canadian or BC curriculum? Because my kids once used a math app. I think it was called Splash Math, but it was tied to an American curriculum. Do you know if these ones are tailored at all to different provinces or to Canada?

Megan 22:47
Yeah, so Prodigy Math is American. There are Canadian ones, but I don’t like the reports on those as much. So what I often will do in another section of the parent section is you can specify exactly what you want them to be working on.

Megan 23:02
So you take your child’s curriculum what they’re supposed to be learning in the year. And then you can select it from Prodigy Math and you insert those questions. So instead of Prodigy Math going through its regular rundown of the order that questions might go in or the types of questions that they’re getting.

Megan 23:20
Instead, it follows what you’ve specifically told it to do. So it’s got like an automatic and manual kind of version that you can follow. But I have some Canadian ones as well just my kids aren’t as super into those. Another one if your kids are needing to work on reading is called ABC Mouse, or also Reading Eggs.

Megan 23:45
And those normally are paid subscriptions. Prodigy Math is free. You can pay for an upgrade but the basic program is free but ABC Mouse and Reading Eggs are normally paid but are currently helping out the community and and allowing free signups.

Megan 24:04
And those are kind of similar ideas. So it’s a video game that you’re following along, and there’s stories and all of that it gets more complicated as the grade level goes up. And there’s reports and all of that. So if you have an elementary aged child that enjoys electronics, you’re basically set.

Megan 24:23
You can set up everything like this and then you can you know, work from home or whatever while they’re doing that, of course, it’s better to be hands on your kids might be more engaged if you’re able to kind of sit with them and and make it like a family thing.

Megan 24:37
But I work from home so I understand that sometimes you can’t sit with them or you can’t do the, the the suggested way of doing it. And when you need those breaks, or, you know, if you’ve got a cold and you just don’t feel up to it.

Megan 24:52
Well, there are programs out there so many supports, especially for elementary kids, not as many for high school kids, but by that age, they’re a little little bit more able to design their own curriculum anyways or sit and read a book and write a report whereas if you’ve got a kindergartener that’s just asking too much. Yeah,

Chrissy 25:10
Yeah, absolutely. Well, those sound like fantastic resources. Phia, what about you, as far as looking into it for your own kids? Are there any useful resources that you’ve come across or any tips that you like to share?

Phia 25:25
I think one of the most useful resources I found from a parent perspective is actually just going to the BC Government website and looking at the curriculum called core competencies. So when Megan’s talking about those learning outcomes as a parent, sometimes we’re not always familiar with what is my child actually supposed to be learning in grade two, in English?

Phia 25:46
What are they trying to teach them there when you really boil it down to a Coles notes idea. And if you go to that website, it has everything broken down by subject and by grade in terms of the ideas and core competencies that they want each student to achieve in that given grade.

Phia 26:02
And I think from a parenting perspective that can be really helpful in actually taking the pressure off and realizing that, okay, this is these are things that I can accomplish with a lot of things I already have at home, I don’t need to go and buy a bunch of products or a bunch of curriculum where I don’t need to have a bunch of workbooks available.

Phia 26:21
Like Megan mentioned, there’s so many things here at home we have that can teach these outcomes, that it can really take the pressure off and intense start a parent’s wheels turning in terms of okay, how can I approach this?

Phia 26:35
And how can I teach it in a way that’s tailored to my individual child and their interests. So that’s actually one of my favorite resources. And I go to that website all the time and visit it and look at the outcomes just for inspiration and guidance in terms of how to structure our days, and what I want to try and incorporate into their learning process.

Phia 26:54
And from there, I’ll be honest, over the next few weeks, I’m really hoping to utilize everything that we have here at home and just our backyard and some of the nature walks we have around us to give my kids the learning outcomes that they’re they’re expected to meet over the next weeks and or months.

Phia 27:13
And utilize that to give them more individualized, outdoor-focused learning plan rather than rather than utilizing stuff online. I think my kids are going to spend enough time with screens over the next few weeks, I’m really trying to do an outdoor style of learning for them in the planned the planned activities that I have.

Chrissy 27:38
Now, do you have any thoughts on, Megan, how organized parents need to be in order to do this because it feels like like you said, we’re being thrown into this and it’s hard to ramp up really quickly. So how can parents ease into this and figure out what to do?

Megan 27:54
How well I would like to say that I’m an organized homeschooler but the reality is that I’m not, I don’t think it’s really possible to follow the schedule that pretty much every home parent home learning family sets in the beginning of the year that seems to always die off…

Megan 28:11
For any of my homeschooling friends anyways, a few months into it, because our kids are changing and learning and growing. And they’re just dynamic little beings, right? So you can set kind of an idea as to how you want to do this.

Megan 28:26
But even from week to week, their interests change sometimes from day to day, you know, they’ll be absolutely obsessed with this one thing, and then two days later, they don’t care at all and you just ordered all of these online resources, right? You just ordered all the books.

Megan 28:43
I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me. So I would say like, don’t put that pressure on yourself to write you know, sticker charts or anything like that. Just kind of see where your kids are at, look for consistencies in their interest.

Megan 29:00
If it seems like something that’s going to last for quite a while, then yeah, you might want to order some books on that subject or find, you know, science projects about that thing or, or whatever you might want to build on that.

Megan 29:13
But sometimes they’re just mentioning something in passing. And homeschoolers especially tend to be always looking for things that their kids are interested in. So, I myself have grabbed on to some ideas that my kids might mention at dinner, and then by the next morning, they’ve completely forgotten about it.

Megan 29:31
So I would say like, let go of that idea that homeschoolers are particularly organized because the majority of us are not that organized. We have a loose idea of what we need to do each week or each month. Like Phia said, based on that BC Government curriculum, learning outcomes, but how we get there can be a little bit different.

Megan 29:54
So we’re mostly looking for opportunities to talk about things that might be In that in those learning outcomes, we might, you know, we might have a variety of books, it’s a little bit harder now with all of the library’s closed.

Megan 30:09
But you know, there’s a lot of library apps that you can download, and you can get ebooks and audiobooks for your kids on subjects that they’re interested in. And then just kind of have a loose idea. Honestly, don’t don’t write plans, they’ll be quickly forgotten, especially in the chaos of people trying to work from home and educate their kids like, you know, give yourself some grace in that organization section.

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Chrissy 31:24
I’ll move on to my next question after but I just want to check in with Money Mechanic to see if as a non-homeschooler, do you have any, or not even a parent, do you have any questions that you think someone who’s completely new to homeschooling might have?

Money Mechanic 31:40
A well it’s been fascinating listening so far, actually. I’ve just not as much of questions as just things that are occurring to me as we chat through this and I love that. There’s Phia that brought up cooking at home and that’s such a great idea.

Money Mechanic 31:52
If you’re not active in the kitchen, that’s a you know, learning how to measure and how to read and put a recipe together and that got me thinking well if there’s any kind of take advantage of this time if there’s DIY projects around the house that depending on the age you children, they can help you with.

Money Mechanic 32:06
I mean, learning how to use a tape measure and read measurements. And, hey, we still use the imperial system for a lot of tape measures. So learning fractions, and there are so many little things around the house that probably get washed away in our busy lives.

Money Mechanic 32:19
And now there might be time to do and yeah, I think they could be educational experiences for your kids, maybe they don’t usually participate in that. So that’s just one of the things I was thinking along the way.

Money Mechanic 32:29
Maybe think about how many things there are even around our house. I mean, we’ve got jigsaw puzzles and like you said, there’s games and books and crib. That was such a great suggestion, too. That’s a really good counting game.

Phia 32:41
I’ll follow up to that, Money Mechanic because I think you’re you’re bang-on. Like them, as you start to turn your mind towards that. It’s like, Oh, you know, I could take this time to teach my kid how to use the laundry machine and how to sort their lights from their colors and how to use the dryer and how which clothes to hang.

Phia 32:56
Like, there’s such an opportunity for learning and sometimes we get so focused on our traditional thoughts about school that we forget, there’s learning opportunities in every environment, you know, learning how to clean a bathroom is a wonderful lifestyle for kids to have.

Phia 33:09
And if maybe that hasn’t had, you haven’t had the opportunity to do that maybe this is the time you learn how to scrub the toilet and clean the sink and mirrors. You know, there’s, there’s all these things around our house, you know, someone some people might say, I’m suggesting we turn COVID into an opportunity for child labor.

Phia 33:25
But it’s a great time for your kids to start to kind of recognize and learn more about what goes into a household now that they’re going to be spending more time there. So I think it’s a really great point you have especially about the DIY stuff, like what a great opportunity to get in there and start to learn about tools and safety.

Phia 33:42
And as you mentioned, fractions and measurements, like it’s endless once you start going down that road.

Chrissy 33:47
Yeah, that really opens up to my next question where I was going to ask both of you, Megan and Phia, what kind of message would you give to parents to help them take the pressure off because this is going to be stressful and we’re not trained to be teachers.

Chrissy 34:02
What is it, if you boil it right down? What is it that kids really should be doing for this final term of school that they’re likely going to miss?

Megan 34:10
Well, I would say that that depends on the child’s age, if they’re about to graduate high school, and there are credits that they never got a chance to fill or something like that, that’s gonna be a lot harder than a child who is trying to learn their letters and kindergarten, that kind of thing.

Megan 34:27
So it does have to be a little bit… individual advice. Giving homeschooling advice is a little bit like giving financial advice where it’s hard to give that to the masses and have it fit everyone situation. But there are homeschooling communities in well, pretty much every community across Canada.

Megan 34:48
There are social gatherings now online, but if you go to things like Facebook, and there’s you know, there’s definitely ones in BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan that are I’ve seen that have resources of seasoned homeschoolers who know hey, you know, this is our province’s curriculum…

Megan 35:10
Here’s where you can find that or this is their requirements for graduation in this province, or these are the social studies projects that are supposed to be worked on each year, that kind of thing. So lean on those seasoned professionals online, and they’ll be more than willing to help.

Megan 35:30
I mean, homeschoolers in general, are a very welcoming community and have been answering a lot of questions from our friends and family who are now in this with us, right? So mostly, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Don’t put too much pressure on the kids.

Megan 35:46
This is a chaotic time and it’ll require a little bit of depressureization. Give a little bit of grace to yourself so that if it doesn’t work one day Just one day your kid wakes up in a foul mood and they refuse to do anything. That’s okay. Even if it lasts a week or two weeks, that’s okay.

Megan 36:09
Because especially in those younger ages, when they decide to learn something they can learn in the snap of a finger, you know, they’ll decide one day, okay, well, it’s time to learn my letters, and they’ll have them all done within a few hours.

Megan 36:24
So when a kid sets their mind to something, whether that be something you want them to do, or something you don’t want them to do, they’re gonna go for it, right. So your job is to just kind of look for those opportunities. When your kid is in a great mood.

Megan 36:37
That’s when you want to have those conversations. And if you only get 15 minutes of homeschooling in a day done, that’s okay. Because the next day, it might be two hours spread throughout the day or four hours or I have one daughter who will just take as much as she can get so and there’s a lot of ways to go about it too.

Megan 36:55
There’s a lot of board games that you can play that teach math and English English and social studies and science, those are all available on Amazon, we’ll put together a list for the show notes, things like that, that can connect the family are amazing and your kids will learn more if they feel like they’re interacting.

Megan 37:14
But for those parents who are working from home and just don’t have the time to be able to sit down and work through it, the alternative to that is either homeschooling during the evenings and weekends or during your lunch break when you don’t need to be working. Or to also lean on those apps and websites that kind of put the whole package together for you when you just don’t have time to do it yourself.

Chrissy 37:36
That’s fantastic. Those are great tips, how you, Phia? What what would you like to share with parents to help them take the pressure off, but do what they can to help?

Phia 37:45
Totally I would have to echo a lot of what Megan said there and that, obviously, if your child is in grade 11 or 12, there are going to be some additional considerations you’re going to want to take in terms of where they’re at and have they met their credits, particularly grade 12.

Phia 38:00
And fortunately, I think there’s going to be a lot of online resources and help for any children, or any teens who haven’t met those credits to be able to get those in to ensure that they graduate, if they’re in grade 12 this year, so I think that’s a separate beast all in of itself.

Phia 38:13
But for every other child under that age range, I would say to all parents listening to this take the pressure off entirely. Your child is not in a grand scheme in the big picture of life, your child is not going to be at a disadvantage because they missed three or four weeks or three or four months of schooling.

Phia 38:36
Up to this point, they’re truly not. And so as a parent, if all you can do is help them continue to practice their reading, and practice their math, you’re, you’re they’re going to be fine. If you can just cover off those two things and give them opportunities to work on it, learn it and practice it.

Phia 38:52
They’ll be just fine. So I think Megan’s absolutely right, take the pressure off. You don’t need to figure out how to give your child, deliver your child an honour roll curriculum over the next couple of months, just take it as an opportunity to do things a little bit differently.

Phia 39:06
Interact, hopefully as a family more than we ever have the opportunity to, in our usual day to day lives and create learning opportunities in those experiences. And I think your child will probably take away a lot more by doing that.

Phia 39:20
And for parents who are working from home, I would say, and this all depends on your children and how they interact together. But if you have multiple children, and they do interact well together, teeing them up together to work in teams, while you’re getting work done is an awesome way for an older child to teach a younger child and reinforce their own learning as well in the process.

Phia 39:41
So for instance, for my oldest one of his things that he loves to do is read books to his younger brother. And so giving them a timeframe when he can do that for his younger brother is is ideal and the same is true of math.

Phia 39:53
He loves to do math problems with his younger brother, and that just reinforces his skills for him. So using your children to occupying each other in the learning environment and in the learning atmosphere can give your older child a sense of confidence and, you know, being the person in charge and getting an opportunity to show what they know, sometimes, depending on the relationship, younger siblings will just eat up that opportunity.

Chrissy 40:16
I love that. Those are fantastic. And Megan, what about you? I’ll turn it now to non-homeschool time. What are your suggestions for surviving the next few weeks or months?

Chrissy 40:30
Just as a parent who might have to be working or might have to be busy preparing things just to get the house set up? Because everyone’s at home, what are your suggestions for parents who are having a hard time keeping their kids occupied?

Megan 40:44
Oh, that’s a tricky one. I’ve never really mastered that, even with having intentionally done this to myself here. But it’s constantly changing right depending on kids ages and their moods. Sometimes like Like what Phia suggested they’re working together and I have them team up and entertain each other while I have to take a phone call or record a podcast.

Megan 41:09
Right now, they’re playing board games, you know. And I have relaxed a little bit on my rigidity of homeschooling and having everything be educational. But at the same time, I’m strategic what I’m bringing into the house, because sometimes if they have the option of sitting and watching TV for 10 hours, they would definitely do that.

Megan 41:32
So during the times when I don’t want them to be doing that, I turn off the Wi Fi, I have Shaw Blue Curve, so you can turn turn off like individual devices and that kind of thing. So the TV is disconnected. You know, the, their tablets have only the games that I want them to be playing.

Megan 41:51
So I’m strategic with what I’m downloading on there and the goals that I’m trying to get them to achieve. So even when they’re having kind of downtime. And they have no idea that this is learning time, it still kind of works for me.

Megan 42:05
There’s a ton of board games that they can play together and, and they don’t know that that’s anything but fun. So they that kind of works as well. But in regards to parenting while you’re trying to get work done, except that that won’t always work, except that kids will come in to your to your office and need to chat with you or you’ll need to break up a fight every now and then.

Megan 42:29
So give yourself a little bit of grace as to how much time you’re expected to work, you know, maybe plan to start, start your day a little bit earlier or a little bit later than you normally would if you’re in an office because you’ll be taking kind of mini breaks throughout the day to deal with things that they need to be to have dealt with.

Megan 42:48
And for little kids. You know, my toddler he’s the most demanding of course because he’s a toddler. And something that I find really works if I absolutely have to finish a report or something will actually put him in the bathtub with toys and I bring my laptop into the bathroom.

Megan 43:05
And I will type and do whatever I need to get done because I find kids, especially little kids, when they’re outside or when they’re in the bath, they’re very happy and they don’t want much from you, right you know, sit back far enough from the bathtub that you won’t get your computer splashed.

Megan 43:23
But other than that, I can buy myself an hour sometimes an hour and a half sitting in the bathtub. Whereas if out, outside he tends to dart more right so I can’t sit and just really focus and get what I need to get done.

Megan 43:36
I need to be there helping him climb up rocks and do all that kind of stuff. But in the bathtub, he’s contained and happy. And he’ll take multiple baths a day and he just…

Money Mechanic 43:46
Wrinkled! But… raisin-like after an hour and a half in the tub!

Megan 43:53
Yeah, you know, buy stocks in like that bubble bath companies… it’s fine, it’s fine! That buys me a lot of time like he would be happily take two or three baths a day.

Megan 44:04
So if I have something I absolutely have to get done, and I cannot get my older kids to entertain him or for whatever reason, he’s just in a cranky mood, put him in the bath, and I bought myself quite a while.

Chrissy 44:14
I wish I’d known you when my kids were little I could have used that many days.

Megan 44:20
My best trick!

Chrissy 44:22
Phia, what about you and and, Mike, you’re, you’re retired now. But you will be spending a lot more time with your kids than you expected in the coming months. So how are you planning to survive this time?

Phia 44:33
Yes. So I have a few. I have a few ideas on different things we’re going to try to do. So I’ll run them down quickly for you. But we’re also under the unique circumstances right now with a double challenge of coming up with stuff to do is that our youngest actually broke his leg a couple weeks ago.

Chrissy 44:49
Oh, no.

Phia 44:50
Yes. So, I know. Poor guy. He’s in a cast and lay won’t be out of it for a couple more weeks yet. So we’re trying to be creative about different activities. But one of the ones that I am going I’ve been prepping for and we’ll be doing over the next couple weeks is we’re going to do some tasting challenges.

Phia 45:08
So Chrissy and Money Mechanic, you know this about me, but I’m a bit of a wine fan. So I decided to take that tasting idea and apply it to other food items that I can share with my kids. So we’re going to do a chocolate tasting of a bunch of chocolate.

Phia 45:24
And we’re going to talk about the different flavors that we detect and each one and what we like about them what we don’t like about them. And we’re going to do that with some different fruits and some different vegetables as well.

Phia 45:34
And then a few different recipes that they’re going to help me make that we’ll do over the coming weeks. So I thought that would be a fun way to hopefully expand their food horizons a little bit and get them paying attention to what flavors they see in food and what comes out…

Phia 45:46
And and get them articulating how how they sense that so that’ll hopefully be something fun for us to do. And it’s it’s cast-friendly for my littlest who, who… Oh, Megan, as you were talking about baths there. I was thinking, oh I miss bath time, so much!

Phia 46:03
No baths, just sponge baths right though. So a couple more weeks and we’ll be back to baths but so that’s one of our favorite ones and then we are going to be close to the water it’s chilly but we’re gonna be close to the water for a little bit of this.

Phia 46:17
So we’re going to do some time out on the beach and building sandcastles and some construction and design efforts. Even though it’s cold, they’ll happily play in the sand and do that and maybe some campfires at night. So we’ll do those things and throw a little bit of fresh air into the mix and hopefully keep them from getting too cooped up and us as well.

Chrissy 46:39
Yeah, well, it’ll be nice for all of us. Keep in touch and just check our online communities to maintain our connections with people and to see how they’re doing and if they have any tips if we’re starting to go a little stir crazy in our houses.

Chrissy 46:56
These are lots of great tips for parents and non-parents alike. So Money Mechanic, do you have anything else you’d like to add before we close off?

Money Mechanic 47:04
Well, I’m just find it interesting that, you know, with all four of us here that are into personal finance and seeking financial independence, that was one thing that didn’t come up was take the time now, because we know there’s some web of a lack of financial education in the schools…

Money Mechanic 47:18
That now could be the time where you, depending on your child’s age, of course, but about how personal banking works, how compound interest works, you know, how credit cards work, all these little things that we kind of take for granted as parents or as adults.

Money Mechanic 47:33
That could also be an interesting topic. If you frame it properly. Of course, I’m sure it could be quite boring, but I’m surprised none of you brought that up. Because I’m sitting there going, that’s what I’d be doing.

Phia 47:45
Totally! You know, what’s funny about that, Money Mechanic, is that I spend so much of my time planning how to teach my kids about that outside of school hours that I totally missed that today and discussing it but I think it’s I think it’s a great point and I think it’s a great opportunity. To do exactly that.

Megan 48:01
There are board games for that, too. I’ll put those in the show notes. These are gonna be the most robust show notes anybody’s ever seen!

Chrissy 48:09
Thank you, Megan. That’s fantastic. I look forward to seeing them as a parent.

Money Mechanic 48:15
Well, I’m glad, well, it sounds like Megan just volunteered to do the show notes.

Megan 48:21
I’m on it.

Money Mechanic 48:22
Yeah, I don’t have a whole lot else to add to that. I think there’s some great information in there. And our listeners can always reach out to us and to Explore FI Canada.

Money Mechanic 48:30
And I know there’s lots of resources online, I’ve been noticing that a lot of teachers have been posting that if people need resources, they can get in touch with them and things like that. So we’re just really lucky to be in a in the digital age where so much stuff is accessible to us these days.

Chrissy 48:43
Yeah, I agree. Well, thank you, Phia, and Megan, for joining us. This was fascinating for me, even as a parent, and someone who knows a little bit about homeschooling… this, there were lots of actionable tips in here.

Chrissy 48:56
And you really did help to take the pressure off of me and hopefully lots of other parents that they don’t have to go to the ends of the Earth to try to provide a replacement education for their kids. Just getting them involved in everyday life may be enough just to get us by to the end of the school year.

Chrissy 49:14
And hopefully in September, they’ll be ready to start and schools can open again and everything will be pretty much back to normal. Let’s hope… yeah.

Megan 49:22
Fingers crossed.

Phia 49:22

Chrissy 49:23

Phia 49:25
Thanks so much for having me on guys.

Chrissy 49:27
Thank you.

Money Mechanic 49:29
And well before we sign off, of course Phia blogs at her site. Why don’t you plug that before you go,

Phia 49:36
Oh, for sure. www.Freedom101.ca and you can find my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest from there.

Chrissy 49:43

Money Mechanic 49:44
Right on, and thanks for your your first official co-hosting opportunity. Megan, you were fantastic as always.

Megan 49:50
I had a great time. As always.

Chrissy 49:53
Thank you, both of you.

Transcribed by Otter.ai

Thanks for listening. You can find all our show notes at exploreficanada.ca.

If you like what you’re hearing, help us grow by sharing the show with friends and family. Please subscribe and leave us a comment or review on your favourite podcast directory.

You can also find us at our own blogs: figarage.ca, canadianfire.ca, or eatsleepbreathefi.com. Our music today was provided by Purple Planet.

We’ll be back with another episode soon. We’ll talk then.

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking through our links.

175+ Homeschooling resources

Thanks to Megan for sharing this amazing list of resources.

Activites and crafts

  1. All Kids Network: crafts, activities, mazes, dot to dot, etc.
  2. Highlights Kids: fun games, recipes, crafts, activities
  3. The Color: online digital coloring pages
  4. A Dime Saved: 45 Cheap Indoor Activities for Kids

Animals and nature

  1. SwitchZoo: play games and learn all about animals
  2. National Geographic Kids: geography and animals
  3. National Geographic Young Explorers: a magazine designed specifically for kindergarten and first grade students. Children can listen to the magazine being read to them as they follow along with the highlighted text.
  4. Earthquakes for Kids: learn all about earthquakes
  5. Farmer’s almanac for kids: date, weather, moon phase, etc.
  6. My First Garden: guide to gardening for kids

Applied design and technology

  1. EdgertonCenterMaker Resources for K-12: 3D printing projects and Coding projects, involving math and other K-12 subjects
  2. 3 Free Weeks of Maker Stations (Google Doc): keep your children creating at home! Each challenge includes simple instructions using materials around the house, QR code video resources, and a student recording sheet.
  3. Codecademy: learn to code
  4. Scratch: draws students of all types into coding and lays a foundation for future learning
  5. Kodable: coding for ages 4-10
  6. Kids Think Design: explores careers in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, book design, product design, film and theatre, architecture, animation, and environmental design.

Board games

Note that some games are no longer available online—you may have better luck finding them used on Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace.

Finance board games

Math board games

Spelling board game

Geography board game

Ebooks, audio books, and entertainment for kids through free library apps:

Fun and games

  1. PBS Kids: play with fave PBS show characters and learn too
  2. Seussville: read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss
  3. Breakout EDU: K-12 educational games


  1. Country Reports: 35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world
  2. Google Earth: all sorts of learning here if you dig in
  3. GeoGuessr: tests kids’ geography skills. Using images from Google’s Street View, it plops players down in the middle of the street and asks them to figure out where they are.

High school

  1. BWS Education Consulting: test prep for SAT, ACT, etc.
  2. The Great Courses Plus: classes for older teens or adults
  3. Fiveable: resources for AP students including live reviews, live trivia, and study guides!
  4. Marco Learning: resources for AP students
  5. Brainscape: over a million flashcard decks for every subject, entrance exam, and certification imaginable.


  1. Big History Project: online history classes for all ages preteen through adults
  2. Bunk History: digital archive of history
  3. Mission US: An interactive way to learn history
  4. WhatWasThere: allows students to type in any city, state, or country to view an archive of historical photographs and other documents. It’s a unique way to help them learn about history.


  1. Campus Difusión: resources for Spanish practice
  2. Chalk Academy: Chinese learning activities
  3. Conjuguemos: Vocabulary, grammar, listening activities and games in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Korean, and Latin
  4. Duolingo: learn foreign languages
  5. RockAlingua: music-based Spanish Learning
  6. Memrise: 22 languages to learn


  1. Starfall: phonics skills
  2. Storyline Online: have kids books read by famous people
  3. Into the Book: games to get “into the book”
  4. Classroom Cereal: grammar practice for middle grades
  5. CommonLit: reading passages for Grades 3-12, with reading comprehension and discussion questions
  6. Dog on a Log Books: Printable board games, activities and more for phonics and reading all using evidence-based methods. Can be customized to any student’s needs including creating flashcards for other subjects.
  7. Dreamscape: Engaging reading game for grades 2-8 that combines strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages to create a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game.
  8. : A safe research site for elementary-level readers. They are offering free 24/7 access. USERNAME: read (case sensitive). PASSWORD: read (case sensitive).
  9. Magic Spell: a carefully crafted spelling adventure
  10. No Red Ink: Online curriculum that builds better writers.
  11. Novel Effect: makes storytime a little more fun for kids (and grown-ups too!) As you read out loud from print books (or ebooks!) music, sound effects, and character voices play at just the right moment, adjusting and responding to your voice.
  12. Paragraph Punch: Teaches students how to write a paragraph through interactive online tutorial
  13. ReadWorks: an online resource of reading passages and lesson plans for students of all levels K-12
  14. Shurley English Program: for grades K-8 provides a clear, logical, and concrete approach to language arts
  15. Sight Reading Factory: sight reading and sight singing practice exercises
  16. Spellingcity: free with code VSCFree90
  17. The Good and the Beautiful: course sets (Levels 1–5) that combine and thoroughly cover phonics, reading, writing, spelling, literature, grammar, punctuation, art, and geography—all in one easy-to-use, beautiful course.
  18. Spelling Training: Grades 1–4
  19. Fun Phonix: phonics worksheets for kids
  20. Free Children Stories: free stories online for ages 3-12
  21. Reading Eggs: phonics and learning to read
  22. The Story Starter: randomly generates 356,300,262,144 story starters
  23. Grammaropolis: work on the 8 parts of speech


  1. Funbrain: math and reading games
  2. Math Score: practice from counting to algebra and geometry
  3. ABC Ya: math and reading games
  4. Arcademics: math and language games
  5. Bedtime Math: math as a fun part of your daily family routine
  6. Boddle: elementary math through Grade 6
  7. CanFigureIt Geometry: a unique way to teach and learn geometric proofs
  8. Curriculum Associates: free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs
  9. Delta Math: a wide range of math content from middle school through AP Calculus
  10. Dreambox Learning: K-8 online math program that looks at how a student is solving problems to adjust accordingly and build a unique learning path for them.
  11. Mr. Roger’s Math Neighbourhood: higher level math series… online video series with detailed solutions to more than a thousand publicly-released College Board SAT Math, Subject Test Math Level 1, and Subject Test Math Level 2 problems.
  12. Math @ Work: math videos with lessons, real life uses of math, famous actors
  13. Math Celebrity: enter your math problem or search term, press the button, and they show you the step-by-step work and answer instantly. 2nd grade through college.
  14. Math Playground: elementary math games, logic puzzles and educational resources
  15. ScootPad: adaptive curriculum in Math and ELA for Grades K-8
  16. Xtra Math: math practice
  17. Zearn Math: K-5 curriculum that builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students.
  18. Mangahigh: play basic games to reinforce math skills and compete against the computer or others
  19. Math Playground: games, logic puzzles and brain builders
  20. Grid Club: math games galore
  21. Numberphile: short videos about numbers that help kids explore complex math topics and make math more fun.


  1. Varsity Tutors: lots of free resources here
    • Virtual School Day: Nearly 200 free, live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”. We have received exceptional ratings from thousands of parents and students.
    • Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps are a week long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. These live, interactive camps will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors’ platform. We already have 300+ camps scheduled for the summer and 2,000 families per day signing up.
    • Adaptive Diagnostic Assessments: Measure a student’s proficiency and identify strengths and weaknesses in hundreds of subjects. Get an effective learning plan along with free tools to improve.
    • Varsity Learning Tools: More than 250,000 free practice problems in over 200 subjects. Also available as mobile applications.
  2. Bamboo: voice based learning… learn through Alexa
  3. ClickSchooling: daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help your kids learn
  4. cK-12: science, math, social studies
  5. PlayMada Games: chemistry
  6. Coursera: Tons of free classes from leading universities and companies
  7. Curriki: Digital learning content for preschool through high school
  8. Scholastic Learn at Home: day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.
  9. Discovery K12: online homeschool platform & curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade. All main subjects are covered, plus extra curriculum courses.
  10. HippoCampus: 7,000 free videos in 13 subject areas
  11. Carmen Sandiego: videos, stories, and lessons for all subject areas
  12. Izzit: entertaining & educational videos for all levels and subjects
  13. Khan Academy: online education program for toddler through high school
  14. KiwiCo: Quick & easy at home projects curated for kids 2 and up
  15. PBS Learning Media: pre-K-12 digital media service with more than 30,000 learning materials
  16. PebbleGo: curricular content hub specifically designed for K-3 students
  17. Project Explorer: free videos from around the world from grade 3-12
  18. Quizlet: for students to practice and master whatever they are learning
  19. RedT Kids: critical thinking resources for K-6 students
  20. The OT Toolbox: at home OT, PT, and ST resources designed to build skills in children through movement and play.
  21. Wonderopolis: Short videos and readings that answer various burning questions for students. There are vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions.
  22. 450 Ivy League courses that you can take
  23. edX: 2,500+ online courses from top institutions
  24. Fun Brain: miscellaneous games for all subjects, K-8
  25. Turtle Diary: Pre-K–5 games for all subjects
  26. youngzine: news and more for kids
  27. Alcumus: specifically designed to provide high-performing students with a challenging curriculum appropriate to their abilities
  28. Crypto Club: immerse yourself in cryptography
  29. Magic Treehouse: interactive games based on the book series
  30. Songs for Teaching: a large selection of fun songs to help teach preschool and kindergarten students
  31. Super Simple: resource section includes free flashcards, coloring pages, worksheets, and other resources for children, teachers, and parents.
  32. Overcoming Obstacles: life skills curriculum for students in grades K-12. Their resources include strategies for teaching social and emotional skills.
  33. Cool Kid Facts: gives your child access to educational videos, pictures, quizzes, downloadable worksheets, and infographics. They can use these to learn about geography, history, science, animals, and even the human body.
  34. US Mint: your child can play games, learn fun facts, and find out how to turn coin collecting into a hobby.
  35. Ben’s Guide: this interactive website, hosted by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, allows your child to see the ins and outs of the U.S. government by taking a series of learning adventures with none other than Benjamin Franklin.

Music and art

  1. Chrome Music Lab: music is for everyone
  2. Mindful Poetry Moments: poetry and music
  3. Music Theory: introductory and intermediate music theory lessons, exercises, ear trainers, and calculators.
  4. Prodigies: a colorful music curriculum for kids 1-12 that will teach your kids how to play their first instrument, how to sing in tune & how to understand the language of music for free.
  5. QuaverMusic: free access to general music activities to all impacted schools, including free student access at-home
  6. Smart Music: music practice transformed
  7. NGAkids Interactives: an entertaining and informative introduction to art and art history.
  8. Met Kids: a wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art
  9. Artsology: helps kids learn to appreciate the arts by providing them with the opportunity to play games, conduct investigations, and explore different forms of art.
  10. Virtual Musical Instruments: lets kids play instruments online. Instruments include the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, and bongos.
  11. Theta Music Trainer: a series of online courses and games for ear training and music theory.

Personal finance

  1. Next Gen Personal Finance: scads of free resources, games, learning resources, and lesson plans for teaching personal finance.
  2. Banzai: exposes students to real-world financial dilemmas to teach them the importance of smart money management.

Physical education

  1. Fluency & Fitness: Educational brain breaks to help students review essential literacy and math skills, while getting in some exercise. Find over 900 videos to help your child keep learning at home and burn off some extra energy. Our site is best used for ages 4-8.
  2. Go Noodle: movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts
  3. Little Twisters Yoga: free at-home kids yoga lesson plans
  4. Sworkit Kid-friendly workouts: choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout.


  1. Busy Toddler: indoor activities for busy toddlers
  2. Preschool Express: crafts, activities, bulletin board designs, and finger plays for early education teachers and parents to use with kids.


  1. Have Fun Teaching relief packs: free PDF printables
  2. The Canadian Homeschooler: free printables library for Kindergarten through Grade 5 for those kids that love worksheets
  3. 123 Homeschool 4 Me: 300,000+ free printable worksheets from toddlers to teens
  4. Literacy with the Littles: free Printables for PreK-2nd Grade
  5. Little Spark Company: free printables library with activities for children 0-6

Reources for parents

  1. Educational Opportunities from Home (Google Doc): a well-organized resource with dozens of links to online learning websites, with all of the subjects in tabs, and organized by grade level
  2. KidsActivities.com: list of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings
  3. A Better Way to Homeschool: a quick start resource to help families pull together a plan for surviving the next 1-2 months at home with their kids, but it can also be a time of slowing down and enjoying kids as they learn (preschool through 8th grade).
  4. Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool: every course you could possibly want to homeschool preschool–8
  5. Easy Peasy All-in-One High School: every course you could possibly want to homeschool for high school


  1. Chem Matters: high school chemistry topics
  2. Backpack Sciences: hands-on elementary science videos
  3. Biology Simulations: helps students to learn about biology and practice data analysis skills
  4. Club SciKidz: daily free science or cooking experiment to do at home
  5. Go Science Girls: 100 Fun Science Experiments / Science Fair Projects for Kids
  6. Mystery Science: K-5 science lessons
  7. Nomster Chef: Illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook with their grown-ups. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math, and science.
  8. Elemental Science: 80+ do at home science activities
  9. Supercharge Science: daily lessons and educational activities that kids can do on their own
  10. PHET Interactive Simulations: science and math labs and simulations from the University of Colorado Boulder
  11. Positive Physics: an online physics problem and video bank designed for conceptual, standard, honors or AP1 physics
  12. SEPUP (The Science Education for Public Understanding Program): Science simulations, scientist profiles, and other digital resources for middle school science and high school biology
  13. The Concord Consortium: a collection of hundreds of free K-12 STEM resources, from standalone models and simulations to short activities and week long sequences of curriculum materials.
  14. Science Spot: science projects that can be completed with or without Internet access
  15. TYTO Online: next generation science video game focused on middle school where students directly engage in science phenomena as they solve problems.
  16. Chemicool: learn all about the periodic table
  17. Nasa Kids’ Club: Space science for kiddos
  18. Steve Spangler Science: tons of science experiments that you can do at home
  19. The Happy Scientist: just explore, have fun, and learn some science along the way
  20. Cells Alive: learn all about cells
  21. The Biodigital Human: a human visualization platform that allows students to explore the human body in really cool ways.
  22. Smithsonian Kids: no need to travel to one of the Smithsonian’s zoos or museums—this website brings your child everything from live video of the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Learning Lab right to their screen.
  23. Nasa Climate Kids: covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals.
  24. Ask Dr. Universe: a science-education project from Washington State University. Kids can send Dr. Universe any question they may have about history, geography, plants, animals, technology, engineering, math, culture, and more.
  25. Weather Wiz Kids: from rainbows to tornadoes and winter storms to tsunamis, meteorologist Crystal Wicker breaks down the fascinating world of weather.
  26. Innerbody: explores the 11 bodily systems in depth. With interactive models and detailed explanations, this website will help them learn more about the internal mechanics of the amazing human body.
  27. EveryDay Earth: interactive video earth science based curriculum supplement
  28. Smithsonian Ocean: this educational website hosted by the Smithsonian Museum takes a deep dive into ocean life.


  1. Nitro Type: improve your typing skills while competing in fast-paced races with up to 5 typers from around the world.
  2. Typing Club: Keyboarding practice
  3. Typing.com: Keyboarding practice

Virtual tours

  1. The San Diego Zoo: amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour!
  2. Tour Yellowstone National Park
  3. Access Mars: explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover
  4. FarmFood 360: 11 virtual tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs
  5. The Louvre website: travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at the Louvre with this virtual field trip.
  6. The China Guide: this virtual tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life.
  7. The British Museum: tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies

Resources from other FI bloggers

Here are more articles from some of our favourite FI blogs. You’ll find plenty of great ideas to keep your kids learning, busy, and entertained!

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6 Replies to “026: Homeschooling During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

    1. I agree—they’re pretty amazing and very comprehensive! We had a great time with both of you and appreciate you taking the time to come on the show again. 🙂

  1. I really appreciate these. I have one question, though. Megan mentioned a reading computer game and I am not sure which one that is. She said abc mouse and one other. What was the other one?

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