This guide was created as a result of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in order to help parents find resources they can use while they homeschool their children during school shutdowns. It is my hope this guide will have a life beyond the pandemic as a source of interesting supplemental materials for kids and parents. This will not be an exhaustive list of everything that is "out there," but should help you get started.
Many parents will have limited experience in formally teaching children, that is, in creating lesson plans, performing learning assessment, and keeping kids engaged when their toys and games are calling to them. Individual schools and districts will likely provide helpful advice and sets of resources, but some of the lesson planning and engagement resources listed below may help you, too.
Most libraries have excellent digital resources, including books and databases. Please be sure to check these out.
Your Child's School Library
(not all schools will provide a web link into their library, but many do)
- Massachusetts Libraries
- Most offer access to online books and magazines. The link on your town library's website may say e-Book Collection or Overdrive (or possibly Libby).
- Don't confuse the e-book link with the link to your library's online catalog!
- MA residents, including “temporary residents,” such as college students, and even people who just work (but don’t reside) in MA, can get an e-card (https://www.bpl.org/ecard/).
- Steam and Download Content: https://www.bpl.org/stream-and-download/ (all level content)
Curriculum Guides / Pacing Maps
Check your school and district websites. Some will post their curriculum guides, how the school/district is implementing the frameworks or standards, or their pacing guides, which will let you see how the school/district is pacing its curriculum - "what's taught when" - and which will give you an overall idea of each grade's or subject's progression through the school year. You may find pacing maps or guides particularly useful.
Public Schools of Brookline Curriculum Overview (K-8)
Newton Public Schools Grade Level Curriculum Documents for Families (K-12)
Randolph Public Schools Curriculum Information (Pacing Maps) (grades available varies by subject)
Somerville Public Schools Grade Level Curriculum Guides (K-5)
Samples from other states
Curriculum Guide for First Grade Families (Commack NY Public Schools) (other grades available)
Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Services (Cumberland County Schools) (NC) (K-5)
Articles and Information for Parents
Museums, Aquaria, and Zoos
Worksheets, Activities, and Lessons
Look at the books in your child's library and check out who the publishers are. Then go online to the publishers' websites. Many, although not all, publishers make free lesson plans available for their books. This is another source of lessons and activities you might find useful as you homeschool your child.
From specific publishers:
Books and Literature
In addition to the digital resources made available for loan through your public library or the Boston Public Library, in addition to periodical (journal, magazine, newspaper) articles available through library databases (see box below), and in addition to temporarily free textbooks and digital collections from publishers, there are other sources of free reading materials and literature, as well as BSU databases that help you identify age/grade appropriate books.
- Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (Firefox Browser Recommended) This link opens in a new window
- Books in Print with Book Reviews This link opens in a new window
Databases (Periodical and Informational)
Textbooks and OER Resources
ERC Contact Information
Head, Educational Resource Center