At-Home Learning Online

With the shelter-in-place order, in some ways our world has contracted and in other ways it has expanded. Now, with schools closed, parents don’t have to limit educational choices to whatever their local school or city is doing.
We can look to the vast offerings of the Internet to design the educational flow we think best suits our children. The problem isn’t going to be finding content or managing cost since so many services are free, it’s going to be wading through everything to find the best fit. Here is a list of free and low-cost sites; * indicates this is an especially good site).
New Offerings
Project-Based Learning
Novato-based PBL Works, a leader in project-based learning, has created a free downloadable book for parents with ideas for summer learning. This Teachable Moment includes 21 “follow-the-recipe” projects for children of all ages and abilitilies. A free 45-minute webinar for parents on using the projects will be held Wed., June 24, at 2 p.m. and Thu., June 25, at 11 a.m. Register here
Virtual Jazz Village Campus
Healdsburg Jazz, in collaboration with Music is First, is offering 15 free music class videos for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The classes, which are recorded and can be taken any time, paused and rewatched, include activities like bucket drumming, body percussion, Mexican son jarocho, music from New Orleans, and lots of singing and dancing. Each class includes a lesson plan that addresses Common Core standards. Learn more and register here.
Code4Tomorrow, a teen-run Silicon Valley organization, is offering free online coding classes this summer for fourth- through 12th-graders in Java, Python, Scratch and web development. Visit for more information and to register.
X-STEM All Access
The USA Science & Engineering Festival is offering its X-STEM Symposium in a virtual format, dubbed X-STEM All Access.  Presented by AstraZeneca, the livestream event is an engaging, entertaining, educational, and interactive online STEM experience for kids.  Traditionally, the X-STEM Symposium kicks off the biennial April Festival which was postponed due to COVID-19.
STEM All Access provides a series of free daily livestream events on May 13-15 and May 18-19 from 10-11am PST. Students will learn from an exclusive group of visionaries who aim to empower and inspire kids about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Speakers include: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NASA astronaut Christina H. Koch, Google engineer Kim Swennen, atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, primatologist Dr. Mireya Mayor, oceanographer Dr. David Gallo, underwater cave explorer Jill Heinerth, medical oncologist & drug discoverer Dr. Mika Sovak, neuroscientist Dr. Greg Gage, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and aerospace systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi.
Presentations will be geared toward a middle and high school level audience, but kids and adults of all ages are welcome.  Each event will feature speakers who share a similar STEM topic.  Speakers will interact with each other and attendees through a lively Q&A session.  Registration is free and attendees will receive a link to attend all five livestream events. To learn more and register go here.
Randall Museum’s Bug Month
The Randall Museum, a San Francisco family favorite, has replaced its popular in-person Bug Day with an online Bug Month throughout May with a new bug-related theme each week with new hands-on activities that families can try at home. Themes include Backyard Bugs, Amazing Insects and Spiders & Scorpions Oh My! Find the content on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
For more events see below:
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (Offers daily virtual art lessons through its Let’s Be Creative program. They are aired on Facebook and YouTube.)
*Cleveland Inner City Ballet (online ballet class)
*Center for Puppetry Arts (five shows, great for young kids)
*Doodles With Mo Willems (Author of Don’t Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus teaches drawing)
Draw Every Day (Author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka shares his creative process)
Mark Kistler’s Kid’s Special Webcasts (daily zany art classes)
Metropolitan Opera (full operas streamed daily)
*San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score Show (documentaries about influential composers)
StemChef. Danville-based StemChef has brought its STEAM escape room online. Kids navigate through eight virtual rooms to learn a scientific concept, then make an edible recipe to complete the challenge.
America’s Test Kitchen Young Chef’s Club (recipes, general instructions on making food)
*Raddish (cooking classes, recipes for kids)
WWF Together  (Learn about different species. Available on iPhone and iPad)
Our Planet (A self-guided tour of the planet.)
NASA Climate Kids  (Fun and useful for parents trying to understand questions their children might have.)
General instructions
 Discovery Education (standards-based digital curriculum resources)
Brain Pop (activities for a variety of subjects)
*Khan Academy (suggested schedule and lessons for K-12)
Varsity Tutor Virtual School Day (live online classes for K-12)
General ideas for learning
Beanstalk (Offers interactive classes online for kids ages 1 1/2 to 6. Free during COVID-19 threat)
Wide Open School (This one-stop shop for online learning puts many resources all in one place)
Financial Literacy Classes for All Ages Via Zoom (Tips on budgeting, banking, credit, debt and more every Sunday from 6-7 p.m. throughout April)
Scholastic Learn at Home (day-by-day projects for preschool through ninth grades)
100 Plus Screen-Free Activities (keep kids busy)
4Kids (learning games and videos)
75 Educational and Entertaining Ideas for Indoor Learning (short simple activities)
Commonsense Media Tips for At-home Learning (includes links to helpful apps and games)
Netflix Educational Shows for Kids (topics include animals, nature, the earth)
PBS Newsletter for Parents (how to keep kids playing and learning)
DuoLingo (learning tools in 36 languages)
Panda Tree (daily storytime and games in Spanish and Chinese and a paid virtual camp)
Prodigy Math (uses videogame-style interface to engage users)
YouCubed (games)
*Aquarium of the Pacific (live webcams, guest speakers, lessons for K-12)
Bozeman Science (videos on chemistry, physics, biology and more)
*Exploratorium (science activities on COVID-19 and other topics)
Mystery Science (open-and-go lessons inspiring kids to love science)
National Geographic (articles and videos on nature and science)
*The Tech Interactive (lessons for different grades, virtual field trips, IMAX films)
USA Science & Engineering Festival (STEM videos)
Reading and Stories
Mondays With Michelle Obama. The former first lady will read one children’s book aloud every Monday at 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time through May 11. It will be livestreamed on PBS Kids’ Facebook and the YouTube.
Audible is offering free audio books for kids to stream on computers, phones or tablets.
Epic! has free student access to its collection of more than 40,000 books through June 30. The service requires an invitation from your child’s teacher.
Santa Clara County Library District Storytimes Online (Libraries throughout Santa Clara County libraries will host a variety of online events including storytimes.)
Children and Young Adult Authors Read Books Aloud
Toddlers and Infants
*Center for Puppetry Arts (five shows, great for young kids)
New York Times Writing Prompts (For ages 13 and up only; daily writing prompts based on articles)
No Red Ink (Writing and grammar resource)


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These Montessori Schools were voted the Bay Area’s 2022 Best of the Best by Bay Area Parent readers. Read the full list of winners here. 

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These Language Immersion Programs were voted the Bay Area’s 2022 Best of the Best by Bay Area Parent readers. Read the full list of winners here.

Best Music Classes in the Bay Area

These Music Classes were voted the Bay Area’s 2022 Best of the Best by Bay Area Parent readers. Read the full list of winners here.

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