Explore academic enrichment for your e-learners.
GoPeer.org pairs vetted college students who attend top-tier universities with students between the ages of 5–18 for 1-to-1 online tutoring lessons. They charge per hour (packages available at reduced costs) for tutoring, but offer 2 tutoring hours per family at no charge. No credit card. No subscription. Just tutoring for your student. In this season, arranging for academic assistance could be challenging. Most tutors work in-person and are not set up for online assistance. For GoPeer, this is what they do. This GoPeer blog post explains more about their methodology and tools.
Check Community Unit School District 200’s “Summer Choice Boards” for Early Childhood through 12th grade summer activity ideas.
All Souls Choir member, Kathy Green, suggests checking out Education.com‘s in-home resources. This sensational website is offering their resources for free during this season while students are e-learning. The site has resources for Preschool through 5th grade in the areas of Math, Reading, Science, Social-Emotional, and Social Studies, and includes independent study packets, as well as games and puzzles. This is an especially great resource for eager learners who aren’t getting enough learning opportunities!
More Resources for Educators & Parents
In a season when educators and parents are stretched in every way, All Souls Choir member and gifted education expert, Kathy Green, shares that the National Association for Gifted Children has turned to education experts and partners for recommended resources. Check out their recommendations if you’re looking for more resources.
Lots of School Closure Resources
The Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented shares some terrific resources for educators, parents, and students.
Smithsonian Distance Learning
The Smithsonian is committed to supporting teachers and their students around the globe as they face unprecedented new learning challenges. Especially check out their “resources for caregivers.”
CODING, THINKING, AND PUZZLING:
PITSCO presents Coding:
Check out the coding resources (on-line & for purchase) from educational resource company, PITSCO.
Full STEM Ahead!
Boolean Girl presents a free, live, instructor-led, online series. Both girls & boys, aged 8-18, will enjoy learning to Code, Build, Invent, and Animate through age-appropriately tailored episodes.
NASA STEM @ Home
Explore the resources the National Aeronautics & Space Administration provides for K-12. Check out their pictures of the day, and opportunities to Build It!, Solve It!, Launch It!, Color It!, Play It!, and Read It!
Prufrock Press, a leading resource for gifted, advanced, and special needs learners, offers an eBook of logic puzzles, math bafflers, word bogglers, and more, especially for grades 3-6.
Weekly Dose of Curiosities & Puzzlements
SCIENCE & OUTDOORS:
Construction & Building
Check out these STEM projects for kids. There are some simple paper construction projects, as well as hands-on ways to learn about environmental crises like oil spills. Lots of links on this page!
Stay-at-Home Energy Activities
Commonwealth Edison offers some interesting videos & activity sheets for grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and high school. Lots of information about solar energy and where power comes from.
Make your own scavenger hunt! Adults can make a list of things to find, or kids can make predictions regarding what they will find (maybe at Lincoln Marsh?). Take the list — or a set of images like these — and go for a hike. See how many you can find.
Videos Prompt Outdoor Activities
The Conservation Foundation is a local organization that improves the health of our communities by preserving and restoring natural areas and open space, protecting rivers and watersheds, and promoting stewardship of our environment. Their YouTube channel has quite a few videos worth checking out. Some are aimed at a younger audience, like this Signs of Spring Hike, while others may be more enjoyable for adults, such as How to Plant a Wildflower Meadow or Vegetable Gardening Hacks.
Ranger Rick Comes Home
The National Wildlife Federation has made their Ranger Rick publication resources available for free while families are “stuck at home!” Be sure to look for their animal facts, photo contests, videos, jokes, crafts & activities.
Family Gardening: ’tis the season
This is the perfect time of year to plan a family garden. Check out this website for ideas about how to proceed.
Signs of Spring
The Robin is a sure sign of Spring! Watch a video and hear a robin sound. You might also try listening to what the sound is like when slowed down!
Watch a video of a mother robin feeding her babies.
This is a suggestion from Kathy Cathey:
Take a walk outside, and find some things that are signs of spring.
- Are any green things appearing?
- Any flowers starting to come out?
- Look at the trees—are any buds starting to form?
- What sounds do you hear?
Take a walk like this each week and watch how spring unfolds! Take a photo from the same place each time and see how the scene changes over time.
READING & STORIES:
The Rabbit Listened
Children’s Worship Younger Atrium Shepherd, Henny Leonard, reads one of her new favorite books, filmed by her husband, Older Atrium Catechist, Jim Leonard. This wonderful picture book tells a simple story of empathy — what it takes to be a good friend — a wonderful tale in a challenging season.
Good Books for Bright Kids
The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth encourages kids to explore the things that make them happy. Let them choose their own adventures from this reading list, compiled by the CTY reading experts. Help them connect with fellow readers through online programs.
#StayAtHomeStoryTime with Sally Lloyd-Jones
The author of The Jesus Storybook Bible brings us twice-a-week- story-time on her Instagram Channel + a Spanish-English Storytime once a week.
Are you a family who typically enjoys storytime at the library? Pastor for Children, Jennifer Merck, has a neighbor who is a Children’s Librarian in Carol Stream. Like all teachers and librarians, she is working from home right now. And she is sharing Always Storytime with anyone who wants to listen in.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, actors Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner have developed a project called Save with Stories. On Amy and Jennifer’s Facebook Pages and Instagram stories, you and your family can hear adults share their own favorite stories—many of them favorite picture books.
There are a number of audiobooks always available for free from audible.com. And then there are some that are free to this unique season. For example:
- Three CS Lewis books: Screwtape Letters, A Grief Observed, and Surprised by Joy.
- Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner
- Anne of Green Gables
- Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
Julian Jackson reading The Chronicles of Narnia
Family time is a great time for reading together! You might begin reading a series together in this season. Pastor for Children, Jennifer Merck, has a friend who is reading a chapter from the Chronicles of Narnia each evening. Join in here.
Mac Barnett’s Book Club
Mac Barnett is an author of picture books for children. He has a Book Club on Instagram that is really fun and encourages kids to read and engage with reading. Check him out on Instagram at @macbarnett.
ART & MUSIC:
Architecture might be described as the intersection of Math and Design. A British architecture firm, Foster + Partners, has created a series of building templates so you can build your own city. So far, they offer a skyscraper and quite a few house designs, as well as a worksheet on how to draw trees. For the budding architect, or anyone who likes to work with their hands, this could be a really fun project.
Concerts @ the Kennedy Center
Check out the vast archive of performances on the YouTube channel for the nation’s busiest performing arts center. You’ll find countless music, dance, and theater productions, for your viewing pleasure.
Nightly Opera Stream
Explore the Metropolitan Opera’s free nightly opera stream and supplemental content. Each week, one opera is offered specifically for children, with opportunities to learn more about the production and hear from the artists who helped make it happen.
The Swan Project: #songsofcomfort by 24 Cellos
Please enjoy this beautiful piece from Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Check out Mo Willems‘ videos on YouTube. He’s funny and engaging, and encourages kids to draw and create. Here’s the first one.
French, Spanish, and Mandarin
All Souls Senior Warden Elizabeth Roberts shares this foreign language resource. Bob & Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth H. Roberts, started REAL LANGUAGE right away, a company that offers virtual lessons in French. You might start with the YouTube channel, where Elizabeth hosts the French “leçons virtuelles.” These 5-7 minute lessons are fun for children and adults who have never learned a foreign language, or for someone who wants to brush-up or keep up their French conversational skills while sheltering-in-place.
Florence Nightingale: Live!
Chicago’s longest-running storytelling show, This Much Is True, has headed home for “live virtual” Facebook shows. On May 12, experienced storyteller, Megan Wells, brought her version of Florence Nightingale to the interwebs. If you’ve ever been intrigued by this social reformer, statistician, and founder of modern nursing, check out her wonderful “live” story.
The Supreme Court Goes Live
Certain kids and adults may be fascinated by this turn of events. We hope you’ll consider taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. Not only did the Supreme Court begin hearing oral arguments by telephone on Monday, May 4; oral arguments will be live-streamed on NPR. This is terrific opportunity for the budding jurist, the wannabe lawyer, or the informed citizen to engage with the big issues of our culture today. Check out the back-story to the plan for telephonic oral arguments here. And review the oral argument schedule for May 4-13 here.