I’ll put up posts like this off and on as I see new things. Of the many MANY emails I am getting, and my own personal experience, here are the best happiest most useful things I have found, and I want to share them. No news, no fear, no instructions, just resources, places to donate, and fun things to do. Feel free to share your own donation links, activities, and schooling resources in the comments.
Donate for Remote Learning Supplies to Children in Need
Donor’s Choose is maybe my favorite charity, if you are an American public school teacher you can submit a detailed request for a specific project (like, “I want new markers for every student in my classroom”) and we, the donors, can search the website by location, grade, type of activity, whatever. It’s been my go-to for Christmas for years, I’ve done things like donating books to a first grade classroom in the elementary school where my Grandfather went for his Christmas present.
Anyway, they are suspending all regular business right now and just looking for donations so teachers can buy and send to students the materials they need for remote learning. I can’t think of a better simpler or more timely need, click here to donate (oh, and it made me feel better that a group immediately recognized this need and started working towards filling it):
Donate for Food to Children Missing School Lunches
William Sonoma, that super fancy and expensive luxury cooking store of all places, sent me an email about this. Kind of restored my faith in humanity that a luxury brand store was thinking about hungry kids! In Chicago, where I live, the schools have for now structured a school lunch pick up system, so even if the kids aren’t in school, they still get those meals. But that’s not going to work for all families, and definitely not in all places.
For the kids that are suddenly losing out on the two meals a day they were getting, you can donate to No Kid Hungry. Again, an existing organization that rapidly responded to this need and reached out to their corporate partners. People care! People are doing stuff!
Now, fun stuff! Stuff to Do For Kids/Families
Cemetery walks and Taking Photos
Okay, this sounds really bad at first glance, but then is AWESOME when you think about it. There is a website, Billiongraves.com, that is trying to provide photographs and information on graves in cemeteries. So, like, if I am sitting at home and I want to look up a photo of my great aunt’s grave out in Colorado or something, I can go to their website and search for it and see the actual gravestone.
What you can do is download their app to your phone, and go for a walk through a nearby cemetery taking photos of graves as you go along. Gets you outside, gives you an activity, and takes you to a place with a low population. Or, I suppose, you can sit inside and browse around and find that grave of your great aunt. Link below:
Cooking for Kids
Common Threads is a great organization I volunteered for about 10 years ago. They give cooking classes to low-income kids, giving them basic nutrition information, and also just life skills and an excitement about cooking. And they have a website with resources that, right now, are free for everyone. Tried and true cooking activities to do with your kids. Link here:
Build a Beautiful Tiny Room
Are you someone who needs physical projects and is going crazy just reading and watching streaming? I have the thing for you! There is this new thing of tiny room kits. The company sends you instructions, and all the supplies, and then you very carefully cut and glue and position and end up with this tiny beautiful creation. Best part is, the end result is small too! So you can spend 2-3 days making one, then start on another, and you won’t keep running out of space to display them
NOT a good kid activity, unless you have older and very very precise children. But fun for adults! Link to one Amazon option below, you can browse, there are many MANY others:
Remote Learning Options
Elementary School Remote Learning Program I, Myself, Used
Back when Margaret was Lil’ Margaret, I was homeschooled. The schools in our town were just terrible, truly terrible, and my parents decided to teach us at home instead once we hit about 4th grade. My first year of homeschooling, I was a little lost, because I missed the structure. And then we subscribed to Calvert Academy, and they were great! They gave day by day lesson plans with really good materials that I actually enjoyed using, and suddenly school was fun and easy for both me and my parents.
I’m not gonna promise they will work for every child, or that they are still as good as they were 25 years ago when I used them, but it’s a funky little resource you may not know about and which I wanted to share. Also, looks like you can do one month of homeschool resources for only $39.95, so might be worth it just to try it. Link below:
High School Program I, Myself, Used
Again, I can speak to nothing about the quality of it today, or price, or anything. But Indiana University provides remote learning options for AP classes and other challenging subjects. If your kid is super super bored at home, and loves school, here is a semi-expensive option for something that will keep then engaged and interested. Link here:
Program I Did Not Use Only Because It Wasn’t Available Yet
Khan Academy! The one everyone knows about, because it is The Best. And FREE! Check it out, and also DONATE. Link below: