College of

Online Learning Resources For Parents

The following online learning resources are for Michigan State University faculty and staff with children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most resources listed are offering free access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information was curated by Stacey Pylman, Ph.D., and Amy Ward, M.Ed., MSU College of Human Medicine Office of Medical Education and Research Development.

Principles for working with children at home

  • Principle One: Every family is different
    Try not to compare yourself to other families. When school begins again, teachers will get children caught back up, regardless of what you taught them. You don’t have to feel pressured to home school. However, if you want to or feel it is right for your family, read on for some ideas.
  • Principle Two: Schedules and routines help
    Schedules and routines are great for helping everyone, young and old. Schedules and routines allow people to predict the day and move through it independently. However, schedules need flexibility. For example, when my children need help, they know they should come into the office and sit in the chair outside the view of the computer until I can answer their question (clearly, this works best with school aged children).
  • Principle Three: Provide choice
    Try providing your student with a short menu of choices. Most children prefer to have some choice, but too much choice can be overwhelming. For younger learners try a math activity, a reading activity, and then something creative (writing, music, art, etc.). For an older student, perhaps add a science or social studies activity. Whenever possible, help students to pursue existing interests.
  • Principle Four: Keep your expectations low
    It is not possible to work full time from home and provide full time childcare. This means that you will fall short in one or both of these areas every day. That isn’t because you are doing something wrong, it is because two full-time jobs is not possible. The best advice we have heard is to trade off which days, or hours of the day you are focused on which “job.”

Resources for Mulitple Subject Areas

  • Flocabulary - Educational hip-hop songs and videos for all subjects K-12  
  • Scholastic Learn at Home - PreK-9th - Books and associated activities!
  • Fun Brain - Fun Brain is a site for kids that offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading and literacy (PreK-8).
  • Outschool - (free schooling resources during COVID-19)
  • ABCya - Educational games for kids P-6+, plus how-to craft videos.
  • CK12 - Online library of lessons for math, science, social studies and photography.  Content can be searched by grade or subject.
  • IXL - A learning website kids love! Master 2000+ K-12 skills online. Proven success. K-12 Math & English. Immediate Feedback. Adaptive & Individualized. Standards-based Learning. Courses: Math, English, Science, Social Studies.
  • BrainPop - BrainPop offers in-depth learning on topics across the curriculum for upper elementary and middle school students. Each topic includes videos, quizzes, related reading, and even coding activities. Teachers have access to planning and tracking resources too. They also offer BrainPop Jr., specially designed for younger kids.
  • Smithsonian Institute 
  • Smithsonian Online - Grades K-12 & Spanish articles
  • Khan Academy 
  • Khan Academy Kids app
  • MSU extension activities and lists
  • Highlights Kids - Activities, games, and articles on engaging topics for elementary students.
  • Discovery K12 - Online homeschool platform and curriculum for Grades P-12 covering all subject areas.
  • 123 Homeschool 4 Me - More than 1 million free worksheets for toddlers through Grade 12. These educational printables cover alphabet letters, math, language arts, history, geography and more.
  • BreakoutEdu - A collection of digital games that K-12 students can play at home. Organized by grade level and includes a variety of content areas.
  • Marco Learning - AP study courses including ultra-high-quality videos, practice questions, study guides and full-length tests and explanations that will help students improve in class and on the exam. (Grades 9-12)
  • TED-Ed - Grades 5th-12th - TED‐​Ed offers a free suite of high‐​quality videos on a variety of topics for learners of all ages, including supplemental materials, discussion questions, and opportunities to probe deeper into a child’s areas of interest. Register as an educator and you can help to customize your child’s learning experience or let your child explore independently.
  • Crash Course - Crash Course is one of the best ways to educate yourself, your classmates, and your family on YouTube! From courses like Astronomy to US History and Anatomy & Physiology it's got you covered with an awesome variety of AP high school curriculum topics.
  • Newsela - Relevant and real-world news articles written for students at their reading level. 
  • Varsity Tutors - Provides students with 20 hours of free live, online instruction each week. Each class is led by an expert tutor with experience in the course topic, as well as familiarity with virtual instruction. Classes refresh weekly, with age-appropriate options for grades K-12.

Storytelling/Read Aloud

  • Storyline Online 
  • Storytime Anytime on YouTube 
  • Epic online (offering 30-90 days free)
    • Epic has an amazing and beautiful collection and they are free for the next 90 days. The membership is free nationally through June.
    • Epic has a great library of fairy tales and mysteries if you do not have access to those genres at home. 
    • Be careful with Epic. If students use during school hours, it is free but will cost parents $5.99 after hours.
  • Raz Kids - The award-winning website where K-5 students go to read — anytime, anywhere! Free for the rest of the school year
  • Imagineering in a Box: Walt Disney Imagineering comes together with Khan Academy to create an online curriculum that aims to ignite curiosity, inspire creativity, and encourage innovation in the minds of students and teachers alike while creating fun and engaging opportunities to explore new concepts.
  • Audible for kids are offering free online books
  • CommonLit
  • There are online books in Spanish listed here 


Middle School

High School

Phonics & Reading

  • Lalio - Personalized exercises for students to work on adaptive exercises in phonics, word recognition, and comprehension. Vocabulary-rich stories teach students about nature and animals in engaging and fun ways.
  • Heggerty has made videos for their phonological awareness curriculum available online. 
  • A document with links that a reading specialist created to help with Phonemic awareness and phonics 
  • Loving2Read - Early reading books and books that support phonics
  • Reading Rockets Adventure Packs - Free downloadable activities that encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
  • Barefoot Books - Stories, singalongs and activity kits created specifically to keep kids busy with safe activities.
  • Dreamscape - A fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game for Grades 2-8, combining strategy, engagement and imaginative reading passages.
  • CommonLit - Free collection of fiction and nonfiction reading passages for Grades 3-12. It also offers Spanish reading passages and questions.

Grammar & Writing

  • Scholastic Story Starters - Story Starters is a fun, interactive tool for computers and iPads that generates writing prompts that include direction on character, plot, and setting.
  • Classroom Cereal - A series of free, printable short stories that double as grammar exercises. Enjoy the story and find the errors. (Gr 3-8)
  • Kelly Yang – Online Writing Classes - Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 2 pm CDT. The author of Front Desk teaches teens about plot and character.
  • #WriteWithKate - Kate DiCamillo hosting writing tips videos from Candlewick Press.
  • SumDog - An online learning tool which provides personalized math and spelling practice. It adapts questions to each student, using engaging games and rewards for effort and achievement to build their confidence, and is proven to accelerate progress.


  • XtraMath - Create a free parent, can add multiple children
  • Buzzmath - Thousands of activities aligned to standards - free for parents to register through July 1st
  • Prodigy is a free, Pokemon-style math game 
  • iPractice Math (K-12)
  • SumDog - An online learning tool which provides personalized math and spelling practice. It adapts questions to each student, using engaging games and rewards for effort and achievement to build their confidence, and is proven to accelerate progress.
  • Math Planet - Pre-Algebra, Algebra1 & 2, Geometry modules and SAT practice.
  • Dragon Box App and Dragon Box 12 App – App for kids. Interactive math games (paid).
  • Dragon Box 12 App – App to practice algebra
  • WebMath - Webmath is a math-help website that generates answers to specific math questions and problems, as entered by a user, at any particular moment. The math answers are generated and displayed real-time, at the moment a web user types in their math problem and clicks "solve." In addition to the answers, Webmath also shows the student how to arrive at the answer.
  • - Math and Science tutorial videos and lessons (Gr 6-12)


  • A free book for kids about COVID-19 is available for download
  • Mystery Science - Short mini-lessons that are completely digital and full lessons that include an activity. All of the activities are designed to use simple supplies a parent will likely already have at home.
  • Science Mom - Youtube channel featuring science videos created by Science Mom.  More videos are constantly being added.
  • National Geographic Kids - Articles, videos, and games on tons of animal types and other fun topics!
  • Britannica Kids - Online encyclopedia
  • Smithsonian Online - Grades K-12 & Spanish articles
  • Science News for Students - Real World science news for students with vocabulary too! (Gr 6-12) 
  • PHET Interactive Simulations - Science experiment simulations to play with! (Gr 6-12)
  • Biology Online - Biology tutorials  in modules for all areas of biological science (6-12)
  • Daily Discovery Education - The Daily DE features a grade-band appropriate learning activity for every day of the week. From digital interactives to virtual field trips to fun science experiments and more (Gr. K-12)
  • - Math and Science tutorial videos and lessons (Gr 6-12)

Social Studies

Virtual Field Trips



  • Chrome Music Lab - Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.
  • Emily Arrow – At Home with Emily Arrow  - Weekdays at 12pm CDT - YouTube sensation shares music, books and story time for kids.
  • Barefoot Books - Stories, singalongs and activity kits created specifically to keep kids busy with safe activities.


  • Go Noodle - Educational videos that promote movement in a silly way that kids love!


  • - is an online typing tutor, and digital literacy platform.  Students work to develop their keyboarding skills from home row basics up to mastery of advanced punctuation.
  • Hour of Code - Learn basic of computer science and coding through games and activities.




Stacey Pylman worked as an elementary teacher, reading specialist, and teacher internship coordinator at MSU College of Education before graduating with a Ph.D. in Curriculum Instruction and Teacher Education from MSU College of Education. She is also a mother to triplet middle school girls.

Amy Ward worked for ten years as a middle school English teacher, was an elementary school principal, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at HALE in the College of Education MSU. She is also a mother to two boys in elementary school.