Online school is now in session.
Starting this week, all IL schools are closed until March 30 as a means of preventing further spread of the coronavirus. More than two million students will be out of school across IL during this two week period with many of their classes being moved online. We know many teachers, students, and parents are looking for educational content during this uncertain time.
Fortunately, there is already a wealth of online educational content freely available from YouTube channels like Crash Course, SciShow, Khan Academy, Minute Physics, the Art Assignment, and more! We’ve put together a list of online curriculum, videos, and other educational resources that students can enjoy from the safety of their own homes.
If you’re low on time or just need one place to be your one-stop-shop for keeping your students on track while they’re out of school, Khan Academy and Crash Course are probably your best bet. We’re not being sponsored by them; we just love everything they do. Both have huge libraries of videos on every subject as well as full curriculums available online and teacher resources to support educators during this uncertain time. Many of our examples below come from these two nonprofits.
If you’re looking for online history educational content, there are lots of resources to choose from. Crash Course is the first that comes to mind. This educational YouTube is known for keeping students from failing their classes. They’ve created entire units of curriculum for a vast array of topics such as US History, World History, European History and the History of Science. They even sell an “I graduated because of Crash Course” bumper sticker, which might be more true now than ever.
Other educational channels include The History Channel (obviously), Simple History and Extra Credits.
Need a refresher on how our government works? Taking a semester in political science? There’s tons of civics related content online as well. TEDEd has a wealth of educational videos on civics, social justice, political science, and more that are easy to browse and learn from. Crash Course also has a unit on US Government & Politics.
Khan Academy and Crash Course both have videos and courses on civics, so check out what they have to offer on their websites or YouTube channels.
Looking for something a little more accessible to younger students? The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit that uses pop culture to teach civic engagement, has a free online training called Wizard Activism, which teaches all about social movements, activism, and more! You should also check out their Fandom Forward resources which delve into specific topics like refugees, LGBTQ+ activism, racial justice, and more. Full disclosure, our editor volunteers with the HPA in their Resource Development department.
Crash Course has an entire unit on Biology and another on Anatomy & Physiology for those of you who want to dive deeper. Khan Academy also has a wealth of Biology content including multiple SAT prep videos.
Another great resource is iBiology, which an entire channel devoted to Biology education. They bring the world’s leading scientists into your home classroom with half-hour-long lectures covering a variety of topics.
Lastly, Crash Course’s cousin, SciShow has OVER 400 biology videos including a few on the coronavirus, so you can easily and calmly explain to students what COVID-19 is and why schools needed to close.
Khan Academy, Crash Course, and Science with Tyler DeWitt are all great sources of content to supplement your school’s chemistry curriculum. SciShow also has over 100 videos on chemistry that are guaranteed to keep students from falling behind in their studies.
Nature, Paleontology, and Earth Science
The Field Museum may be closed, but that doesn’t mean your students can’t still learn all about the earth and its inhabitants. Our very own local science and nature museum has two YouTube channels that make great supplemental content for your homeschool or online classes. The first is simply the Field Museum’s YouTube channel which talks more specifically about the museum, its specimens, and other relevent topics.
Our favorite nature and science channel is the Brain Scoop, which joined the Field Museum’s team a few years ago to bring educational videos to people all over the world. Some of these videos can get a little gross (beware the wolf dissection video), but they do a fantastic job of exploring the world of nature sciences, museums, fossils, and more!
Other great earth science resources are PBS Eons, MinuteEarth, and SciShow.
MinutePhysics is by far our favorite and possibly the most popular on YouTube. They have tons of videos explaining key concepts of physics. Khan Academy also has a number of physics videos that explain topics from Centripetal forces to kinetic energy to Electric fields and more.
One more channel you should check out related to physics is Physics Girl, a channel made possible by PBS Digital Studios. Physics Girl Dianna Cowern creates educations videos with experiments, demonstrations, and even new discoveries!
English and Literature
It might sound repetitive by now (and they’re not sponsoring us to say this), but Crash Course really does have a ton of content for students to utilize. They have three different literature units as well as units and videos on specific authors, literary movements, and more.
We also recommend Ours Poetica, a channel made in part by Chicago’s very own Poetry Foundation. Listen to critically acclaimed poets, novelists, actors and more read you their favorite poetry. Their videos are also a wonderful way to unwind and relax during this uncertain time.
For brushing up on your writing skills, we recommend Grammar Girl, who makes videos about punctuation, writing skills, vocabulary and more. Khan Academy also has a number of resources for writing skills, reading comprehension, and storytelling.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) also has some excellent content for creative writing lessons both on their website and YouTube channel. Now that you have the time to write that novel, might as well put these resources to good use, right?
When it comes to online math education, Khan Academy is really where it’s at. While Khan Academy covers a number of different topics, free Math education is where they got their start. Khan Academy has a video for just about every math subject you can think of from K-8 subjects like adding and subtracting, multiplication and division, pre-algebra, etc. to high school algebra, geometry, pre-calc, and even test prep material. Khan Academy even has resources for teachers and parents! You can either watch their videos on the Khan Academy YouTube channel or visit them on their website khanacademy.org.
There’s also a number of math games for students to keep their mathematics muscles moving. Prodigy is a free online math program that turns math into a fun spell casting game. Students may also enjoy XtraMath, which is less of a game and more interactive flashcards but is a helpful tool with an easy to use app, nonetheless.
Despite frequently being cut from high school curriculums, art is an essential part of education. Now, you could just turn Netflix on and give your child a case study education in film critique, but if you’re looking for a little more structure, there’s a number of online resources we can point you to.
The Art Assignment (have you figured out we’re Nerdfighters yet?) is a popular YouTube channel that teaches about critically acclaimed artists, their craft, and gives assignments at the end of each video to spark some creativity with its viewers. Hosted by former Indianapolis Museum of Art curator Sarah Urist Green, The Art Assignment is the perfect way to keep student’s creative juices flowing outside of art class.
Art for Kids Hub is another wonderful art-focussed YouTube Channel with tons of videos that are K-8 friendly. Their main focus is drawing with videos on how to draw characters from all your student’s favorite pop culture like Star Wars, Frozen, and Fortnite as well as seasonal drawing videos and more!
Taking a film class? Indy Mogul has been teaching tips and tricks of the trade since 2007. Their videos include step by step videos for special effects, tips for budget-friendly indie filmmaking, basics for producing, cinematography, editing, lighting and more!
We hope these resources are helpful for students, parents, and teachers while schools are closed right now. We’re also constantly updating this list, so if you have any suggestions for resources, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at email@example.com. Stay safe and study on.
Feature photo by Thomas Kolnowski on Unsplash