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Back to school: K-12 online courses, activities to continue learning under coronavirus

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It’s back to school season in the United States. But as coronavirus pandemic When it covers the entire country with 4.4 million reported cases at the end of July, the education will look different this year for many students. Many American schools have decided to reopen with “mixed” learning models as teachers and parents look to CDC guidance on how to proceed.

To continue learning (and to save yourself from yet another screening of Frozen 2 at Disney Plus), here are several free or discounted online learning resources that pre-K-12 students can complete from home. If you are looking for even more, this post also has a comprehensive list of training companies that offer free subscriptions due to school graduations.

Comprehensive curriculum


Scholastics teaches at home program $ 6 per month includes educational activities for children ages 4 to 10, or Pre-K up to fifth grade. Parents can work with their children on age-appropriate lessons in combination with a story or video. The interactive lesson develops basic skills such as literacy, science, mathematics, social emotional learning and vocabulary.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free online learning platform that offers exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard for topics such as math, science, computer programming, history, art history and home economics. It also has specialized content from NASA, the Museum of Modern Art, the California Academy of Sciences and MIT. In light of the recent school closures, Khan Academy released daily schedules for students in pre-K to grade 12 to follow from home.


Outschool offers live online courses for students ages 3 to 18 who are subject to public school closures. The 10,000 plus classes conducted via video chat cover subjects in English, mathematics, social studies, science, coding, health and well-being, music, art and world languages. You can search for courses by length (from one class to an entire semester), format (live online or flexible schedule), subject, age range and day or time frame. It is free to create an account at Outschool, but the course price may vary. For example, you can join a summer garden club that meets twice a week and the cost is $ 12 each week.

Varsity Tutors

Varsity Tutors offers a free program called Virtual School Day, which includes live, online courses and educational resources for K-12 students. Students can receive more than 30 hours a week of live online instruction, with classes led by tutors who have experience in the course subject and virtual learning. Core lessons include math, reading, writing and science, while enrichment courses include topics such as national park history and science careers.

Calvert Homeschool

Calvert Homeschool provides 30 days of its Class 3 to 12 Homeschooling curriculum free of charge for parents and guardians. The curriculum includes videos and interactive lessons and free placement tests for students.

Peanuts worldwide

The company behind Snoopy and Charlie Brown offers free teaching materials for students in grade K-8 to learn STEM, language, art and social studies along with the beloved Peanuts characters. Lesson plans were created by curriculum specialists at Young Minds Inspired, as well as in collaboration with NASA.

Comcast Xfinity Education

If you are a Comcast Xfinity customer, you can now find almost 2000 hours of programming and thousands of free titles by class level. Get access to all these options by doing a voice search for “education”.

New York City Department of Education

The New York Department of Education released a free 10-day multi-subject curriculum for each grade level prior to K-12. Although it focuses on New York City’s general school district – the largest in the country – the materials are general enough to be applied to a range of students across the country.

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Previous learning activities, videos and games

PBS Kids newsletter, video and gaming apps

PBS Kids launched a new free weekly newsletter with activities and educational games for students ages 2 to 8 to complete from home. The PBS Kids video app is also available on mobile, tablet and connected TV devices and offers on-demand training videos and a livestream from PBS Kids around the clock, with no subscription required. In addition, the PBS Kids Games app contains almost 200 educational games that can be downloaded for offline play.

Learning to read and reading comprehension

ABCmouse.com, Adventure Academy and Reading IQ

Age of Learning provides a 30-day free trial for children at ABCmouse.com and ReadingIQ. The company’s mobile app Adventure Academy comes with a 49% discount on its annual subscription. ABCmouse.com is a comprehensive pre-K curriculum through Class 2. Adventure Academy is an educational multiplayer online game for elementary school students, with thousands of learning activities covering reading, math, and science. ReadingIQ is a digital library and reading and reading platform for children under 12, with thousands of books to choose from.


The audiobook service Audible has a large collection of free streaming audiobooks for children, including JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.

Read more: Audible adds Harry Potter, Beedle the Bard with Jude Law, Bonnie Wright

Storyline Online

A website for children’s literature from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Storyline Online, streams videos with award-winning actors reading children’s books with illustrations. Each book contains a supplementary curriculum developed by an elementary school educator, which aims to improve comprehension and oral and written skills, especially for English-speaking students. Celebrity readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more.


Rivet is a free, AI-based children’s reading app and website created by Google’s experimental workshop area 120 that encourages reading practice with 3,500 plus free books for children. The books are designed to develop readers between 5 and 10 years old. They are available in the App Store, Google Play Store and Amazon app store, and on the web via Clever.


The digital education company Achieve3000 offers free, differentiated online learning resources for teachers and students in grades PreK-12. Find all the free resources for distance learning on their website.


Storytelling School with The Moth

The Moth posts a video twice a week with a story and a teacher’s guide. Students can listen and discuss what they have heard with parents or teachers and find reflection questions and journal suggestions. Find each story on The Moth’s website.


Prodigy Math

Prodigy Math is a free online math platform used by more than 50 million students, teachers and administrators, which enhances math skills by playing video games. For $ 5 per month for an annual subscription, parents can get their students extra in-game features, benefits and rewards, as well as access placement tests, learning goals and progress reports.


Mystery Science

In the midst of school closures, Mystery Science has opened its most popular science lessons for Class K-5 for students and parents to access for free. The lessons range from fully digital mini-lessons to complete lessons that include a practical activity. All are designed to use simple necessities that families probably already have at home.

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Language Learning


Duolingo is a free language learning app that helps children (and adults) learn a language through short, game-like exercises. It motivates you to continue learning with a “streak” feature that tracks the number of days you have reached your goal. For $ 10 a month, you can subscribe to the Premium version with an ad-free experience and downloadable lessons.

Read more: The best apps for language learning 2020


The Babbel language learning app gives students a productive way to spend time at home or brush up for school. The app’s minimalist layout and 15-minute lessons help prevent a new language from feeling overwhelming. You can use Babbel for free or subscribe monthly for $ 13.


Language learning platform Busuu has free live language teaching via its YouTube channel for students aged 5 to 14 years. Live tuition is currently available in English, Spanish and Chinese. And more will come soon, according to the company.


Droplets, the app for children from the language learning platform Drops, now contains new functions for distance learning and virtual classrooms for students aged 8 to 17. Through the Droplets app, teachers can create an account where up to 50 students can create profiles. Droplets offer 37 different languages, and lessons can be as short as five minutes.

AP classes

Five Able

Fiveable is a free social learning platform for high school students and teachers focusing on preparation for advanced placement tests. It has live streams, trivia battles and questionnaire forums for students to get in touch with teachers in 15 AP subjects in English, STEM, history and social sciences.



Outside of formal art classes on platforms like Outschool (mentioned above), students and parents can find a number of free art classes and lessons on YouTube. Author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka hosts daily drawing classes and animator Mo Willems hosts daily cartoon classes. Art Sherpa also has a number of painting studios on YouTube.

Virtual field trips

Travel to art museums around the world through Google Arts and Culture. You can also visit the San Diego Zoo, Yellowstone National Park and the Great Wall of China.

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