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Online distance learning resources for parents, students

Supplement your student's remote education this fall with virtual activities, lessons and tutoring.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — With many schools from all grade-levels planning to do full distance learning this fall, some parents and caregivers may be looking to supplement their children's education.

Luckily, there is an abundance of online resources during this time, many of which are free.  

In addition to the resources listed below, the state of California has issued guidance on remote learning, including lessons learned from the spring semester. 

RELATED: California schools to stay closed for in-class learning in counties on the state’s monitoring list

Though the information on the state's website is geared more toward educators, parents may be interested to know what to expect this fall. 

Here is a list of some online resources that can help supplement students' distance learning classes:

General Education

Sacramento Public Library - a curated list of resources for "Homework Help" and additional distance learning. Information for all grade levels. 

Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC TV) - a collaborative effort of the K–20 education community that provides educational resources to learners of all ages in the greater Sacramento area. Districts throughout Sacramento County, including SCOE, provide programming and course content.

Khan Academy - offers a library of lesson plans and lesson activities for multiple subject areas including math, science and engineering, arts and humanities, economics, grammar, computing, and English language arts. Includes daily schedules by age group, resources for multiple subjects, and daily live streams. 

Time for Kids - offers free access to a library of grade-specific digital editions of TIME for Kids and Your $ financial literacy magazine. Each edition includes a variety of teaching tools and instructional supports.

Wide Open School - features a free collection of learning experiences and activities for students organized by grade band and subject.

Starfall - provides interactive activities specializing in reading, phonics and math. Included are educational games, movies, books, songs, and more. 

PBS Learning - provides access to a library of free resources, including videos, associated lesson plans, training sessions and how-to resources for teachers. Includes resources in multiple subject areas. 

KQED for Educators - a free media literacy teaching and learning hub for educators and students. You’ll find professional development courses, classroom resources and unique tools that allow students to practice critical thinking, media making and civil discourse. 

UnboundEd - a robust collection of open source resources with CCSS-aligned curriculum for Pre-K–12. Includes resources for English language arts and math.

RELATED: Here's a look at plans for reopening from Northern California school districts

English/Language Arts

ReadThinkWrite - provides educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to high quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering high quality free 

Scholastic Learn At Home - provides day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Offers daily reading suggestions. 

StoryLine Online - streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. 

Project Gutenberg - a free library of over 60,000 free eBooks that includes a children’s literature category where students can download or read online classics like "Little Women" and "Peter Pan." 

Vocabulary.com - seeks to expand access to education and understanding through vocabulary instruction. Beyond vocabulary, the site’s intent is to improve literacy. 

Achieve The Core - provides lessons specifically designed to highlight the English language arts/literacy shifts and expectations of college- and career-ready standards. 

CommonLit - offers over 2,000 free fiction and nonfiction passages for grades 3-12, including book pairings and novel sets. Learning is supported with guiding questions, audible text, translations, student annotation options, assessments and student data capture. Includes resources for history/social studies and resources in Spanish. 

Omni Calculator Resources - A collection of free calculators for not just math problems, but science, health and food.

RELATED: CDC tool helps parents weigh risks of returning kids to school amid coronavirus pandemic

History/Social Studies

Ben Franklin's Guide to the US Government - readings, games, and activities on how the American system of government works 

Ducksters - offers resources on a range of topics in US history, world history, and US government. In addition, it has biographies for dozens of influential people of the past.

iCivics - founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, this site contains a multitude of digital resources including games, lessons, curriculum units, and other resources to engage students in civics.  

A Book In Time - provides links to a number of different history and geography related games and activities. 

Common Sense Media - a curated number of online games related to historical topics and arranged by age group. 

The National Constitution Center - live and on-demand for remote learners of all ages. 

Street Law - at-home learning materials for students centered on the courts and the role of law in the United States. 

Article of the Week - website with many timely articles on current topics for discussion. Content is presented in a clear and concise manner, with questions for consideration. Includes an archive of past articles.

History Labs by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County - in-depth historical inquiries on over a dozen topics from US history. Students can work through a number of sources to learn about a time period or event and develop an answer to a historical question.

Seterra - over 300 customizable geography quizzes and printable maps for student study. 

The California History Social Science Project - provides a wealth of resources for student learning in history-social science. In addition, they are continuing to develop resources for student learning specifically around the current coronavirus pandemic. 

The Stanford History Education Group - provides easy to implement lessons in US and World history. In addition, they have a growing repository of resources designed to assess and improve students’ civic online reasoning. 

Teaching American History - provides resources and lesson plans to aid teachers instruction of US history. 

The Center for Civic Education - offers resources to teach and learn civics including an online course series on Strengthening Democracy in America 

The Constitutional Rights Foundation - provides online lessons, resources, live and recorded webinars, tips for turning classroom lessons into distance learning opportunities. 

The Library of Congress - provides classroom materials, professional development, and lesson plans. 

Bear Flag Museum - an entirely online museum dedicated to the history of California's state flag.


Dad's Worksheets - 9,393 (and counting) printable math worksheets, plus puzzles and games to hone math skills. 

Youcubed at home - provides a set of activities from the youcubed.org site with modifications to work better in a home setting. These activities can be supported with common household items, creating a hands on math experience. Videos are included.

Wonderopolis - provides students and families with multi-disciplinary content the purposefully aligns with Common Core State Standards, the STEM Educational Quality Framework, and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. These videos, articles and activities jumpstart students’ critical thinking by engaging their personal interests. 

Steve Wyborney’s website - provides several learning opportunities utilizing high cognitive demand that supports Number Sense. These engaging activities include Esti-mysteries, SPLAT and much more. 

Illustrative Mathematics - provides curriculum for grades 6-8 including digital and printed material. The second link listed is a shared google spreadsheet of resources teachers have built to support the curriculum using multiple formats. 

Solve Me Mobiles - an interactive website that allows mathematicians to practice algebra skills in a highly engaging digital setting. 

Estimation 180 - provides hundreds of images and videos to build number sense through estimation. 

3 Act Tasks by Graham Fletcher - provides opportunities for students to notice and wonder about images and videos, ask questions and develop strategies to solve those questions.

Math Is Visual - assists in building a better conceptual understanding of mathematics through the use of visuals. The images, videos and resources shared here are intended to help all teachers, parents and students.

Wild Maths - provides rich and open-ended resources, designed to encourage exploration and discovery. It is packed with games, challenges and investigations for students to explore. 

Would You Rather - provides grade level clusters of engaging problems that encourage students to develop thoughtful conjectures to prove that their choice is best.


Creative Catapult - mission is to transform research into early learning experiences that inspire creative problem solving. 

Discovery Engineering - hands-on activities with a focus on engineering and creative problem solving. 

How to Smile - search over 3,500 of the very best science and math activities on the web. Find handpicked activities from your favorite science museums, public television stations, universities, and other educational organizations.  

Curiosity Machine - engineering design challenges related to specific fields of engineering 

Exploratorium Science Snacks - hands-on, teacher tested, science activities using cheap, edible materials. 

California Academy of Sciences - complete science lesson plans online for K–12. 

Science in the Classroom (SitC) - a collection of freely available annotated research papers. Aims to help educators, undergraduates, and advanced high school students understand the research contained in scientific primary literature by using annotations and providing accompanying teaching materials. 

Mystery Science - lessons are expertly designed to engage students, achieve learning outcomes. Short mini-lessons are completely digital and are full lessons that include an activity. All of the activities are designed to use simple supplies a parent will likely already have at home. 

American Chemical Society, The Secret Science of Stuff - answering the chemistry questions you never knew you had, like what is pencil lead? And what do braces and satellites have in common? 

California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Curriculum - includes 40 science units organized by level. Online access includes access to PDF readings and student activity sheets 

NASA STEM  - Resources include downloadable storybooks and companion Educator Guides 

Computer Science

UC Davis C-STEM Center - All K-12 teachers and students affected by closures can get free access to RoboBlockly, C-STEM Studio, and Ch Professional for learning math and CS with robotics.

Code.org Code Break - a large, live interactive classroom with weekly challenges to engage students of all abilities, even those without computers.

Hour of Code - provides filters for users to find computer science activities that are grade-appropriate and align with the California K-12 Computer Science Standards.

Google CS First - a free computer science curriculum that makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn. Features one-hour lessons, as well as multi-day projects.

Girls Who Code - At Home - set to release activities weekly, some online, some offline, over the course of the next few months. Each activity will include a feature of a woman in tech who pioneered innovative technology.

Raspberry Pi’s Code Club - features step-by-step instructions for our coding projects, which will teach you how to create games, animations and more with code.

CS Unplugged - a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

Google Be Internet Awesome - features an interactive game that teaches kids the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.


Sacramento Public Library - offers free, live tutoring online, along with many resources for students of all ages and grade levels. 

Learn to Be - free tutoring from knowledgeable tutors, all online.

Physical Education

Yoga Education – brings you Free Online easy to follow Yoga and Mindfulness Activities for your children and teens. 

Lifetime – Brings you Free Online On Demand Cardio, Strength, and Yoga classes that you can easily do in the comfort of your home. Best for older students. 

Arts and Culture

Google Arts and Culture – within the comfort of your own home, you can take virtual tours of the world’s greatest art museums 

B Street Theatre – offers an array of virtual programming and plays for youth, teens, and adults. 

John Muir Laws - supports students in nature journaling with bird, mammal, and plant drawing tutorials. 

Virtual Museum/Park Tours

Virtual Fieldtrips - a list of informal learning experience at museums, parks, historical sites and more. Includes virtual experiences at the National Archives, Exploratorium, and the MoMA, along with many other opportunities. 

National Parks Virtual Tours - see more of our National Park system and learn about wildlife through these virtual visits. 

Mars Tour - take a walk on Mars from the comfort of your living room. 

SAT/ACT Practice

ACT Academy - a free online learning tool that includes test practice resources designed to help students master the skills they need to improve their ACT scores and succeed in college and career. 


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