Kids At Home

Remote learning resources for exploring the world safely
By Carl Kozlowski
Published on Sep 18, 2020

With the Pasadena Unified School District back in session, parents continue to double as teachers for their children. The district is offering two learning options that both include remote instruction. One is a hybrid of in-person and online study environments, and the other is strictly online.

Thankfully, the PUSD offers parents plenty of resources to help them make the most of a challenging situation. The district’s Parent University webpage includes links to online workshops, “how-to” tech videos, a calendar of events, archived workshops, meeting tools, district group meetings and a contact link for questions.

The district recommends utilizing the SPARK program from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, otherwise known as the Stand Project on Adaptation and Resilience in Kids. The program has links providing handy tips in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and Arabic, as well as suggestions for optimizing your child’s learning space and establishing a daily schedule.

Also addressed are the importance of giving kids a predictable routine, ways to assess progress made toward goals, managing family frustrations and establishing closeness and connection between parents and children now home together 24/7.

Just because kids are cooped up at home doesn’t mean their world has to be limited. Rather, the PUSD provides links to a remarkable array of virtual field trips, such as eye-opening videos of volcanoes, the Great Lakes and the surface of Mars (thanks to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

Also available are videos showing the wonders of zoo creatures from San Diego all the way to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C. Participants can also explore the history and unique facets of places as far afield as Ellis Island, China, Easter Island and Vietnam’s Son Doong, the world’s largest cave.

Nearly 20 of the world’s greatest museums, from the Louvre in Paris to the Uffizi Gallery of Florence and the National Museum of Natural History in D.C., are also included in the video options. And you can enjoy performances by great musical institutions including the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic.

For students who need free one-on-one tutoring with safety precautions, the Southern California Children’s Museum (SCCM) offers its Stepping Stones for Everyone program. Due to poor air quality from the fires besetting the region, all tutoring is temporarily online, but once the smoke clears, 30-minute individual sessions are offered in an outdoor tented area from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in math, science, reading, history and English. Stepping Stones tutors all have college degrees and undergo background checks and a two-step interview process. To reserve a spot, write

Take remote learning to a whole other level with TakeLessons’ incredible array of classes, offering lessons in more than 300 subjects ranging from foreign languages and musical instruments to academic tutoring, visual and performing arts, yoga and wellness. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the company has created TakeLessons TV to bring free online group lessons to kids and adults every day.

Last but not least, the California State Parks are offering a new “passPORTS” program aimed at bringing blended access to California State Parks for K-12 students. The program uses video-conference technology and web resources to introduce students to live state park Interpreters. The goal is to make state parks accessible to all despite the pandemic.

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