If your child's school closes, don't panic: Here's a list of homeschooling resources

Bookmark this list of resources and ideas for coronavirus-related school closures.

homeschooling when school is closed

Parents across the country are facing unprecedented school closures as part of the ongoing effort to contain the coronavirus. By the most recent estimates, at least 72,000 of the 98,000 public schools in the U.S. have been impacted by school closures.

Without knowing how long these school closures may last, it can feel hard to prepare. Improvising on a snow day is one thing—longer school closures call for creative planning on the part of schools and parents alike.

Every family will have to find a solution that works best for them, but here are some guidelines and resources for homeschooling during school closures.

In this article:

Learning at home: Where to start

How to create a homeschool routine

Resources for learning at home

Fun ways to keep kids busy at home

Learning at home: Where to start

Learning at home: Where to start

Communicate with your child's teacher

If you haven't already signed up for email communication from your child's school, now's the time. Teachers across the country are scrambling to prepare and execute lesson plans that can be taught remotely. Now is a great time to check in with your child's teacher to see if there is anything in particular your child needs to work on—and to say a heartfelt thanks for all they do.

Start slow

You don't have to launch right in with a full-fledged 8-hour curriculum of activities, videos and worksheets for your kids. If you want to use this time to slow down and connect as a family, that is a worthwhile choice, too. Especially if you have a younger child, don't be afraid to just make this a time to focus on being together as a family and having fun. While no one would ever choose this situation, it may present a unique opportunity to spend time together as a family.

Remember kids learn from play

Learning doesn't have to take the form of worksheets and spelling tests. Young children have such a strong desire for knowledge. If you can trust them to lead the way, you may be surprised by how they choose to spend their time and where their curiosity takes them. And you don't need a degree in education to teach your children valuable skills through family activities:

  • Play board games
  • Do puzzles
  • Cook together
  • Plant a spring garden
  • Use butcher paper to draw a life-size family portrait

Each and every one of these activities are educational for children, without mimicking school.

How to create a homeschool routine

How to create a homeschool routine

Start with the basics

One of the most important things you can do for your child (and yourself!) is to form a routine early. What will your days at home look like? Take a few minutes to write out a rough schedule. It could look something like this:

  • Snuggles, breakfast and getting dressed
  • Reading together as a family
  • Practicing any school assignments or work you choose for your child
  • Outside play
  • Lunch (and nap if applicable)
  • Afternoon playtime

This is just one example—your daily plan could look totally different. It might feel weird to write a schedule for a day at home, but young children really crave routine and it will help them if they know what to expect. Besides, having a schedule is much easier than trying to sneak in work throughout the day while you half-play with your child.

Set expectations

Remember, your children learn without you all day long at school—and they can do it at home, too, with a little help. While you may (okay, will) encounter some resistance at first, your children will quickly get used to the expectation that, for instance, they play independently after breakfast while you get some work done.

Be flexible

One of the beauties of homeschooling, even in these bizarre circumstances, is flexibility. If you'd planned to do a math activity with your child but they are super into building a complex Lego creation, let them build. Having time off from school is a great opportunity for them to practice choosing what to work on themselves and to experience the deep concentration that follows.

Start with a plan, if for no other reason than to ease your own anxiety, but be open to the unexpected places your day could go and the unique ways your own child learns. Don't forget how much learning comes from play!

For more help creating a homeschool routine during school closures:

Resources for learning at home

Resources for learning at home

Schools across the country are mobilizing for an unprecedented shift to remote learning, with educators and administrators working to make educational resources available while school is closed, through activity packets, online learning resources and digital classrooms.

In addition to what your child's teacher provides, there are hundreds of exciting online resources at your disposal. It can take some time to sort through them, but it is certainly easier than starting from scratch!

For early learners

5 reading games to play with your child: Reading together is one of the best (and most fun) ways parents can help young children learn.

12 easy science activities to do with your child: Easy STEM-based projects you can do at home will help kids explore their world and master basic scientific concepts.

15 math activities you can do at home: You don't have to be an expert mathematician to introduce math concepts to your children.

10 music activities that help boost learning: Ask any teacher: Music is a great educational tool for creating a calm classroom, releasing stress and helping kids focus.

49 Montessori-inspired indoor activities: Kids crave projects and activities that they can complete independently (once you show them how).

28 educational apps for toddlers, preschoolers + elementary school kids: Don't feel bad about loosening your restrictions around screen time right now, mama.

For elementary school learners

Scholastic Learn at Home: The editors of the beloved Scholastic classroom magazines have created an online hub full of learning materials for grades Pre-K through 6.

150+ Enrichment Activities for Children While Parents are Working Remotely: Compiled by educators and parents, this spreadsheet of educational activities for kids of all ages has gone viral, and for good reason.

Outschool: Your child can join virtual classes on subjects from language to math to music theory (with Legos!) on this video learning platform.

150+ Educational Shows on Netflix: This list from Homeschool Hideout, a community resource site run by a homeschooling mom, is a great resource for independent educational screen time.

Clever Learner: Find dozens of printable worksheets that help teach basic math, writing, science and language skills.

Teachers pay teachers: While not specifically designed for homeschool, these resources are inexpensive, developed by teachers, and span a wide array of subjects and learning levels.

Brainly: Get homework help from real students and teachers on this site, which enables students to ask questions and get detailed answers on most topics.

Fun ways to keep kids busy at home

keep kids busy at home

It's more important than ever to build in time for joy and play. Fortunately for us parents trying to keep kids busy and engaged at home during extended social distancing, parks, artists, companies and institutions are putting their collective creativity to good use, offering free virtual experiences.

Check our constantly-growing list of virtual activities for you and your children to enjoy while spending time at home, including these great online resources for keeping kids busy.

Read a book with Olaf: Frozen actor Josh Gad is tucking kids in at night with bedtime stories. Every night the actor is reading to little ones on Twitter.

Ride Space Mountain: Online ride-through videos for all the rides at Disney World and Disneyland aren't quite as cool as the real thing, but we'll take what we can get.

Doodle with Mo Willems: Every weekday at 1 pm ET, award-winning children's book author and illustrator Mo Willems is conducting an online sketch session for kids.

Learn science from real meteorologists: The Weather Channel is dedicating time during each hour of live programming at :50 past the hour to share educational content; catch their clips here.

Tour national parks from your couch: Google Earth has virtual tours of America's treasured national parks.

Cook with real chefs and cookbook authors: America's Test Kitchen has opened up its library of educational cooking videos for aspiring young chefs.

Play with animals at the zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo may be closed to the public at the moment, but it's open online for animal-lovers, thanks to a new Facebook video series that shows how zoologists care for animals at the zoo, weekdays at 3 pm.

Subscription boxes: From geography to art to coding, subscription boxes can help you fill extra hours at home with educational and engaging activities for your kids, without the need to scour Pinterest.

How to make screen time beneficial: More time at home will mean more screen time for many, and that's okay. Here's how to make it beneficial for your kiddos!

Each family will need to make their own decision about what to do in the event of a school closure. Your child's age and academic needs, your availability to work with them, and the length of the school closure will all play a role in how you decide to spend this time. Just trust that you know best what's right for your child and your family in these challenging circumstances. You've got this, mama!

The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

Conz Preti

Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


Belly oil

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

$58

Belly mask

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

$42

Nipple + lip ointment 

HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

$28

Belly tattoos

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

$18

This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

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Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

You've got this.

Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

The Motherly Birth Class

pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

$79

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$19.95

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$79.99

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.

$159.99

Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)

$9.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.

$14.99

Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.

$29.99

Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.

$7.99

This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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