School at Home During COVID-19: Resources for Parents

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It’s been weeks since my kids schools closed. While adjusting to this new “normal,” I’ve also been trying to figure out how to be a teacher for my first grader and preschooler.  

Now, I’m sure anyone with older kids is having a harder time than I am. (I can only imagine trying to teach long division or—shudder—chemistry.) But trying to teach a kid who thinks I don’t know the first thing about how to use her reading textbook can be frustrating. Don’t you…read it? 

I say all this not to garner your pity (though that would be welcome!), but to say—I see you out there. You’re juggling it all. You’re now your child’s parent, teacher, best friend, neighbor that rides the bus next to them, coach and more. It’s hard. And as long as you’re taking care of the mental health, safety and wellbeing of your family, you are doing enough 

All that said, here are some resources I’ve found useful in figuring out how to keep my kids happy and engaged—with schoolwork and other activities—during this time. Hopefully something on here can help you out too. 

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Homework & Testing Help and eResources Great for working on projects that require research or verified sources, or just finding a book to read, listen to, or watch. For children of all ages and their caregivers.  

Carnegie Museums From Home – With links from the Museums of Art and Natural History, Science Center and Warhol, your kids can go behind the scenes, paint like Andy Warhol, check out an amphibian party with a scientisttry some NatureLab activities and more. 

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s Museum At Home  Videos bring maker activities from the Museum and MuseumLab straight to your screen. 

The Children’s Book Council’s Publisher Online Resources – Bring to life the books you have around the house or eBooks you find through carnegielibrary.org.  This list of links takes you to free resources, activities, discussion guides, teacher guides and more produced by individual publishers. Some activities require a printer, but many others don’t. 

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer’s Facebook Music Concerts Two-time Grammy Award Winners Cathy and Marcy are CLP favorites! They’ve even trained our Children’s Librarians on how to integrate music into kids’ events. Here they’re offering free Wednesday evening Facebook concerts that are family-friendly and tons of fun!

Common Sense Media’s Wide Open School – With both offline and online options for kids in preschool to 6th grade, this collection of resources can be broken down by grade levels and by subject matter, including “emotional wellbeing. My family loves Go Noodle for brain breaks and National Geographic animal videos. 

PA Parent and Family Alliance #HomeTogether Resources – This broad range of resources is compiled by Alliance, an organization which seeks to elevate and connect the voices of families of children, youth, and young adults who have social, behavioral, emotional, and learning challenges. From videos of children’s stories in ASL to live bald eagle webcams, there’s tons to explore for all families. 

Phipps Conservancy’s Let’s Move BINGO – Challenge the kids to get BINGO on this online card. Creative reimagining can change “went to a fitness class” to “did a fitness class from YouTube.” The whole family can get moving together. 

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Dance the Story – Little ones can “Dance the Story” with Education team member Kerra Alexander on Facebook. 

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Creative Connections – These quick virtual learning tools are designed by Trust Arts Education Teaching Artists for learners of all ages. They use materials you may already have around the houseActivities include visual arts, movement, music, and more 

Pittsburgh Public School’s Virtual Out-of-School Time Opportunities Many of PPS’ 120 Out-of-School Time providers are working virtually to support students and families. Choose from a long list of options for at-home activities, video sessions, and more.

Stay In and Read! from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – My daughter perked up and got motivated when I told her the Library had invited her to do a reading challenge. Download the Beanstack Tracker app to make logging books a breeze. For all ages. 

WQED & PBS’s Resources for Emergency Closings –This curated collection of resources organized by grade and subject area includes videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home. 

What resources have you found useful during this time? Let me know through the Library’s social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Teenspace on Instagram. I could use the help!

A child reads a book in a cozy spot.

Read books. Connect with the Library. Challenge yourself!

Stay In and Read!

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