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With schools closed, here are ways to keep your kids learning at home

Ohio schools will be closed until April 3 and maybe longer, so Mahoning Matters has compiled resources for local parents to keep their kids engaged in education from the safety of their homes during this time.
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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has closed Ohio schools through April 3 as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. On March 14, DeWine hinted schools may need to be closed even longer, potentially through the end of the school year.

Parents across the Mahoning Valley are now facing the same question: What are we going to do with our kids?

Your kids might argue that they can occupy themselves by watching TV and playing video games all day, but parents may be considering homeschooling and other independent academic activities. Plus, many schools are planning to send lessons home.

We at Mahoning Matters know not everyone was cut out to be a teacher, so we have started to compile local, state and national resources for parents to keep their kids engaged in educational and enriching activities in the safety of their homes. If you have other resources to add to this list, please email us at

Homechooling and Virtual Classes

  • OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children's Center for Science & Technology is providing lesson plans for STEM activities on its website, as well as weekly STEM packets that are available for pick up at OH WOW! There's also targeted resources for families, educators and community partners.
  • Universal Class from the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County features numerous courses for parents to aid in setting up curriculum in many subject areas for homeschooling children of all ages. 
  • The learning express school center also features practice materials to improve skills in writing, math, social studies and more for elementary, middle and high school students. 
  • Go! Ask, Act, Achieve: Helps students in grades 4-10 learn inquiry and research processes by providing digital tools, resources, and strategies.
  • iWonder from INFOhio: Age-appropriate, librarian-selected websites that help Ohio’s students with homework and school research.
  • Educational Videos: INFOhio features streaming educational videos supporting all curriculum areas and Ohio's Learning Standards for grades K-12. Videos are segmented and downloadable and most include accompanying teacher guides.
  • Reading for Kids: KidLit TV has video and audio programs for children, including books read aloud.
  • Scholastic Learn at Home:  A leading at-home learning resource is providing free access to cross-curricular programs for a variety of grade levels. Every day there will be new learning experiences for kids to complete on their own or with their families. 
  • TurfMutt: Teaches kids about science in their own backyards and community green spaces via writing exercises, games, videos and lesson plans.
  • Google Education: Offers a variety of resources including lesson plans, creative activities, tech learning, trivia, visual resources for arts/culture learning, etc.
  • PBS Kids: A weekday newsletter with activities and tips — plus they have a free app with on-demand educational videos and a livestream of their 24/7 TV network.
  • Math Resources: This is a teacher-curated list of websites that offer math education/learning for kids.
  • Project Kid: This art resource has ideas for hands-on creative crafts that kids can do on their own or with a parent.
  • Khan Academy: This website has free resources including suggested schedules and a step-by-step guide to remote learning lesson plans and tools for each age/grade level.

Video Resources for Fitness, Fun and Learning

Sometimes parents just need to be able to put on a video in order to get some work done. Here are some options you can trust.

  • National Geographic Kids: Offers videos focused on science, geography, history, animals and nature, plus games, quizzes, puzzles, etc.
  • Sesame Street: Sesame Street's website makes available video clips from Sesame Street TV shows and activities such as games and art projects.
  • How Stuff Works: Articles, quizzes and videos about a variety of topics such as culture, science, money, technology.
  • Outschool: Live virtual classes starting at $5/class.
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga: This YouTube channel has video yoga lessons tailored for kids to get them moving even when confined at home.
  • Go Noodle: A series of movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts to get kids exercising from home.
  • TED-Ed: Video series and explainers for older kids on science, nature, math, history and more.
  • SoulPancake: This YouTube channel geared more toward older kids features “brain batter” videos about art, culture, science, philosophy and more.

Virtual Field Trips

Nobody is able to travel right now, but in the meantime, families can explore museums, zoos and the wonders of the natural world online. 

  • Go on one of Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trips: From exploring arctic tundras to learning about STEM, each of Discovery’s Virtual Field Trips comes with a companion guide packed with standards-aligned, hands-on learning activities.
  • Visit the Cincinnati ZooThe Cincinnati Zoo is hosting a series of Home Safari Facebook Live sessions, which will feature animal encounters and accompanying activities that kids can do at home. These will be offered on Facebook at 3 p.m. on weekdays starting Monday, March 16. The first show will feature the internet famous hippo Fiona.
  • Check out the San Diego Zoo: The world-famous zoo’s website features videos, games and activities for kids.
  • Visit a National Park: Visit Grand Canyon National Park in a video podcast series that explores the beauty and history of Grand Canyon National Park. . Or explore the wonders of Yellowstone National Park from the comfort of home through multimedia tours, photos and videos.
  • Access Mars: Check out the surface of Mars as recorded by NASA's Curiosity Rover in a 360-view.
  • Tour a farm: FarmFood 360 offers virtual tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs.
  • Check out the Great Wall of China: Explore the Great Wall through a virtual tour

Visit the World’s Best Museums

  • British Museum: See hundreds of artifacts like the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies on this virtual tour. 
  • Guggenheim Museum: Explore the New York museum's Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary artworks.  
  • The Louvre: Visit the museum's exhibition rooms and galleries featuring world-famous art.
  • Pergamon Museum: See ancient artifacts like the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon in this Berlin museum.
  • Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History: Take a series of virtual tours of current and past exhibits.

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