Kids sent home from school? These sites will keep their brains in top form!

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Look, we know that these are very stressful times. Yet while us adults are busy stressing about going to work, our parents refusing to stay home and figuring where the Hell to buy cans of beans, the children are busy celebrating. Schools have closed and their holiday has started early. While that might be exciting for them, it’s a little more ominous when one considers that there’s a chance their classes not reopen in a long time. While some schools have been able to organise online classes through resources like Microsoft Classroom and Google Classroom, plenty won’t be able to run as efficiently.

It’s with this in mind that we’ve compiled a list of online sites and resources that your children can access to at least keep their brains a little active while their schools remain on lockdown. Bear in mind these sites might not offer everything in the current curriculum but there’s more than enough information on each one to help sharpen their skills and practice those tricky word problems that stumped us all in maths.

Khan Academy 

The reason every under 25-year-old in our office was able to scrape through maths and science in matric, Khan Academy is a site that offers a bounty of wealth and knowledge. With dozens of online courses all taught by professional teachers, educators and professors covering nearly every topic that could possibly be in the curriculum for maths and science, Khan Academy should be your first stop for extra learning even if your school was still open.

Lengthy, in-depth courses that can be paused and repeated if you feel the need to run a refresher and plenty of quizzes available on the site itself to better accommodate learners with the knowledge their acquiring means Khan Academy really does feel like virtual school. While it may not be the most entertaining education site, it’s certainly the largest, most efficient way to get the concept of fractions clicking in your child’s head.

Vodacom e-School

A little closer to home, Vodacom has put together a system that allows students to continue their schooling all through the use of a personal computer, tablet or even smartphone. After creating an account, students will have access to dozens of video lessons that cover every topic they’ll need to know for classes ranging from Grade R all the way up to matric. Beyond that, they’ll also be given homework on the video lesson they’ve sat through and interactive quizzes to make sure that new information stays fresh in their brains.

Watched a lesson ten times and still not sure how the solution to that equation could possibly be 65? Vodacom also offers an after hours homework helpline where qualified teachers can help students with any work they’re battling with, all for just R46 per month. Sure, it’s a subscription service for education but at least your kid won’t be throwing a pen across the room in frustration.

Storyline Online

This is one for those of you that have chillun’ still coming to terms with the idea that putting letters in a specific order makes a word. Reading is one of the most important things for young children to learn so the last thing you want is your child sitting in front of a TV and not learning such an important skill. Storyline Online is a resource that allows children to read some fantastic books alongside readers in a never ending story time! We all know how important story time is for those freshly developing brains.

With a huge library of children’s books to choose from a wide range of different readers, some of them big name celebrities if that kind of thing is important to you, your children will never run dry of stories to keep them entertained. David Harbour reading Snappy the Alligator is a big recommend from us.

SplashLearn

Those kids of yours just entering primary school, maths can be an incredibly daunting experience. For those little brains, the leap from just counting to twenty to multiplication and division can be scary, so SplashLearn’s interactive maths lessons can be incredible helpful if they don’t have a teacher around for assistance. While the activities offered by the website are probably more useful as practice than actual lessons, that should serve them well enough until schools open again.

Look, we’re not qualified teachers here but the old adage of “practice makes perfect” seems to ring true when it comes to basic maths. While they won’t be able to repeat these sums in the classroom, at least they’ll have an engaging way to lock the mental process in their heads all through the power of the Internet. Seriously, some of our writers were testing SplashLearn’s games out and had to be physically told to finish writing up this article. Simple and effective is all you want in your online maths lessons.

ABCya!

Easily the most vibrant and engaging sites for young learners, ABCya! has a wide range of games and activities on a truly impressive spectrum of topics. The cool thing is, plenty of the games on this education site are…actually quite good? They look and run like proper video games, which is more than we can say for most paid-for education games. Seriously, there’s a Legend of Zelda-like dungeon all about nouns and it’s kinda compelling.

Most of the programs are certainly targeted towards younger learners so don’t expect to throw your Grade 11 son onto ABCya! and have him learn anything. That being said your primary school students will certainly get something out of the plethora of courses and games available on the site. Why even send them back to school?

The Museum of the World

Okay, we admit this is more just really cool than hard and fast replacement for school. A site established and funded by The British Museum, this interactive website offers a thorough and detailed timeline of human history. With a scrolling timeline dotted with important artefacts housed in the museum itself that expand with in-depth articles when clicked, this site is not only fun to browse but it offers some deeply interesting points of interest.

While the majority of this list has focused nearly entire on maths, science and languages, one would be remiss to not consider history worth practicing and learning. While it might take us South Africans a very long time to actually visit The British Museum, this beautifully designed website should offer a big enough history lesson to scratch that same itch.

What about some actual lessons?

The websites included on this list are great for revision, practice and basic “learning through doing” but there’s certainly something to be said about the importance of having some kind of guidance throughout the education process. Check back in with Stuff tomorrow as we provide you with a guide on the best ways to conduct online lessons whether you’re a teacher baffled by Google Classroom or a parent wanting to do right by the country’s education system.

 

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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