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Many families are — suddenly — homeschooling right now. Some parents hope it will end soon, while some experts are casting doubts on schools re-opening classrooms in the fall.

What can a family do?

One educational expert summed up the current situation, saying:

“For over twenty years, across the country, many school leaders have ‘successfully’ ignored the potential of distance learning approaches. Now, with this sudden Pandemic, teachers were tasked with creating an entire tech-mediated curriculum over the course of a weekend. Despite their valiant and sincere efforts, many of them dumped hours of daily homework on families. Many seemed to be trying to create a schedule that lasted throughout the traditional day. This is likely unsustainable for students, families, teachers, and schools.

“Moreover, families don’t need to recreate the ‘free daycare’ experience of the school day at home. Instead, focused learning activities will be all that most families can do (or will accept). Happily, this is exactly what children learning at home actually need.”

Accordingly, many educational institutions have voiced support for families, including the Illinois State Board of Education. The Board offered the following suggested timeline for homeschooling families:


On this chart, the educators call parents’ attention to the following suggestions for minimal time spent in focused learning activities each day:


So, many experts believe that children and parents do not need to spend 6-8 hours studying each day. If that were possible.

Life itself, they remind us, is challenging on its own. Life requires on-demand learning, robust problem-solving, and an ever-growing maturity to succeed — which is a standard many schools can only hope to inspire.

Of course, surrounding children with educational resources can be challenging, although educational experts, like Maria Montessori, have long suggested we create such an environment for our kids.

So, we are fortunate that nowadays, the educational resources can come to us — if we know where to look.

Many online educational resources — including groupings of resources — have launched online. One such resource that just launched is Wide Open School.

We hope that Wide Open School helps make learning from home an experience that inspires kids, supports teachers, relieves families, and restores community.

This site was built in a matter of days on a shared vision. We plan to keep building until things get back to normal. A group of more than 25 organizations came together and raised their hands to help, and many more are joining on a daily basis. Watch for new features and content partners frequently.

Wide Open School is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. There is so much good happening, and we are here to gather great stuff and organize it so teachers and families can easily find it and plan each day.

The website includes the best of many educational publishers. Most resources are entirely free. The site groups resources under subject headings which include:

  • Get Started Learning at Home
  • Arts, Music + DIY
  • Emotional Well-being
  • English-language Learners
  • Field Trip
  • Get Moving
  • Life Skills
  • Live Events
  • Math
  • Reading + Writing
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Needs

If your family is looking for engaging educational resources during your focused learning times, remember to check Wide Open Learning. It may be just what you need: