Education at home can be fun

With schools canceled all over the country, many parents are feeling overwhelmed. Will my kids get behind in school? How will I keep them entertained for days, weeks, months? Should I be teaching them? How do I teach them? What do I teach them?

First, all the kids are in the same boat, so take a deep breath, and just let the first worry go. They won’t be behind, because no one is in school to get ahead of them. The schedule will just be adjusted. Pretend it is a mini-summer vacation a little earlier than planned.

There are many different educational websites available, and a teacher named Mrs. Farhney put together a wonderful list of virtual field trips for children:

• The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities and games. Kids.sandiegozoo.org
• Yellowstone National Park has virtual field trip where you can explore a Mud Volcano, Mammoth Hot Springs, and so much more. nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
• Explore the surface of Mars! They are updating from WEBVR to WEBXR now, but 360 Mode offers a digital view. accessmars.withgoogle.com
• Animal cameras: There are animal cameras at several different zoos. zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams, montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams, houstonzoo.org/explore/webcams, georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/beluga-whale-webcam also has georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/jelly-webcam, georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/beluga-whale-webcam and georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/indo-pacific-barrier-reef
• Virtual Farm Tour: farmfood360.ca is a Canadian site that offers 11 virtual tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs. farmfood360.ca
• U.S. Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, Ala.: You can watch the Saturn 5 Rocket on YouTube and more on this tour, thanks to a real father/son outing. youtube.com/watch?v=9Qe5RqyMNhc
• Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips: A few of the field trip topics are:
Polar Bears and the Tundra — discoveryeducation.com/learn/tundra-connections/
Social Emotional Skills — soarwithwings.com/videos/virtual-field-trip
STEM — boeingfutureu.com/
Manufacturing — manufactureyourfuture.com/VirtualFieldTrip/US
• The Louvre — Travel to Paris, France, to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip. louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne
• Great Wall of China — This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life. thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
• Boston Children’s Museum — Walk through the Boston Children’s Museum thanks to Google Maps! This virtual tour allows kids to explore 3 floors of fun. bostonchildrensmuseum.org/museum-virtual-tour
• Cincinnati Zoo — Every weekday at 3 p.m., they will have a Facebook live safari, featuring one of their animals on their Facebook page.

ABCMouse.com, an online, early education website, offers one-month free trial and is an excellent resource for teaching young children.

There are many free educational websites including: Switcheroozoo.com, funbrain.com, kids.nationalgeographic.com, pbs.org, reading.ecb.org, starfall.com, seussville.com, storylineonline.net, ABCya.com and Highlightskids.com.

Several local teachers in Okeechobee have offered their services to parents who are trying their hands at homeschooling and are struggling. Check Facebook groups, post and ask questions if you need help. What one mom or dad doesn’t know how to do, another may find easy, and vice versa.

Many parents are enjoying the time together playing board games with their kids or the kids are playing out in the yard. One mother said, “It’s like being back in the ’50s or ’60s.”

For everything there is a season, and this, too, shall pass.

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