Online educational resources for Sonoma County parents

To combat learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, here are some online educational resources for kids and teens.|

Are you panicking at the thought of having to spend weeks teaching your kids from home?

Have you seen your friends posting impressive bell schedules and elaborate plans for every hour of the day? Online Japanese? Yoga practice in the mornings?

With schools closed across the nation and families sheltering in place, Sonoma County parents are trying to figure out how to keep their children's minds stimulated while squeezing in a little work from home.

Experts agree that long breaks in education can lead to less retention of information, especially for high school students and especially in the areas of math and science. According to the Brookings Institute, during summer breaks, students forget approximately one month's worth of material they have learned during the school year.

To combat learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, here are some online educational resources for kids and teens.

English Language Arts - Among the hundreds of online resources provided by the Sonoma County Library and California State Library is Teaching Books, a collection of interactive materials such as lesson plans, readings, interviews, story maps and vocabulary lists to go with award-winning children's books. Selections include Madeline L'Engle's “A Wrinkle in Time” and John Lewis' graphic novel on the inauguration of Barrack Obama, “March.” Although the full texts of the novels are not available through this site, e-book and audio book versions of many of the titles are available through the Sonoma County Library. - Fine tune your writing skills. No Red Ink is a free resource for online writing and grammar practice. - This educational e-book site has made their entire collection of books free during the COVID-19 pandemic. The electronic children's books include books in Spanish, historic titles, books on crafting and biographies on musicians and athletes. Have your kids read a title and write you a detailed book report while you catch up on emails with clients.

STEM - Structured like a classroom lesson, this site is a solid resource for math and science instruction as well as a variety of other subjects. For children ages 2 to 18. - Purple Mash is a website designed for children ages 3 to 11 with colorful graphic tools for learning coding, animation, art, math, spelling and grammar. The activities are formatted like games, so your kids won't even know school is in session. - Offers online “FlexBooks” for students of science and math, plus online lesson plans for parents and teachers. Excellent source for science and math textbooks, but also has social studies, photography and language arts. Watch their helpful video for parents and teachers on how to teach from home using their online collection of materials. Also available in Spanish. Sonoma County Library card holders have access to's vast library of video tutorials. The collection is heavy on STEM skills like javascript, html, Photoshop, CSS, Python, Illustrator and more. Most of the collection is geared toward adult learners, but it would be appropriate for tech-savvy teens.

Omni Calculator - Scientists and researchers established the platform with hundreds of math and physics calculators. Topics range from ecology and chemistry to food and sports.

History & Social Studies - During the coronavirus pandemic, Academy4SC is offering free videos on various topics including psychology, rhetoric, logic, reasoning and economics. Each video comes with an explanation of the topic as well as a lesson plan. For students in grades 6 through 12. - Improve your child's critical thinking skills and tackle the big issues with KQED's media literacy site for middle and high school students.

Foreign Languages - Have your kids play interactive language games with their peers through the Duolingo website and free app. Duolingo offers 30+ languages including Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hindi and High Valyrian (for all of you Game of Thrones fans out there).

Mango - What a more structured language lesson? Mango is heavy on conversation skills and reading assignments to advance language skills quickly. Languages include Spanish, French, German, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and more. Access it at

Art, Music & Drama - Get some artistic inspiration from the masters. Google Arts & Culture paired up with over 500 museums from around the world to provide virtual tours of their most popular collections. Some of these collections date back to the prehistoric era, so technically it's a history lesson, too. - Looking for some art projects you can complete at home? You may not know it but your home contains a treasure trove of art supplies. Visit the website for a list of crafty projects using washers, buttons, fabric swatches, ribbons, jars, plastic bottles, cardboard tubes and more.

Drama resources - The teachers at Black Box Education have put together this list of exercises and online tools for students of theater. Find it at

Chrome Music Lab - Make music learning fun with these interactive hands-on exercises and games.

Fitness - Learn to move like the Avengers, dance like an animal or do a hip-hop routine. Les Mills is currently offering free dance workouts for ages 4 to 16 (and they are fun for moms and dads, too). - Colorful worlds and cool characters, yoga and mindfulness made easy for kids ages 5 and up. Videos include Harry Potter yoga and five-minute brain breaks.

Other Resources - Don't have computers for everyone? This homeschooling resource site offers free print-out flash cards, quizzes and worksheets in a variety of subjects for students from pre-K to grade 12.

Learning Express - Grab your Sonoma County Library card and log in to this amazing website, at, for practice tests for elementary, middle and high school students. Tests range from grade 5 geometry practice to SAT and ACT exam prep.

In Spanish - Escolar is a Spanish-language resource for native Spanish speakers, bilingual students and students learning Spanish. It offers the same great materials in Britannica School but in Spanish. Access is provided courtesy of the California State Library. The number one home-schooling app for students en español, Academeons offers a 30-day subscription for their collection of learning games for primary school students in math, Spanish, English, science, geography and history.

Special Needs Students - This academic website for students with special needs is offering free access to its entire cloud platform of apps for blind, low vision, deaf and reading-impaired students. Try out the highly visual and fully audible typing tutor, games, flash cards and study apps.

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