Deal Finder: Free or Low-Cost Educational Resources
By LaTina Emerson, The Shopper Deal Finder
This school year is already off to an unusual start because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and parents might need additional resources to help their children succeed in their studies.
Here are some free or low-cost resources for students of all ages, including free courses, test preparation materials, Wi-Fi access and more:
Having access to the Internet is a key component of virtual learning, but not all families are able to afford this service at home. If your household doesn’t have Internet access or the speed of access required for students to participate in virtual learning or complete school projects, the Coweta Public Library System is offering free Wi-Fi. The library’s public Wi-Fi can be accessed from the parking lot of all four library branches seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. At all four branches, the network name is “Bookworm” and no password is needed.
Also, a number of restaurants offer free WiFi access, including Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Starbucks, IHOP, Panera Bread and many others.
Khan Academy offers a wide range of free online courses for pre-K to high school students. Available subjects include math, science, arts and humanities, reading and language arts, computing, economics and life skills. There are also a variety of AP classes and test prep courses for the SAT, LSAT and Praxis Core. For more information, visit https://www.khanacademy.org.
Khan Academy for Kids offers weekly planners and daily schedules for children ages 2 to 7, printable activities for parents and teachers, downloadable Zoom backgrounds and the Khan Academy Kids app which covers math, reading, writing, social-emotional learning and creative play for children ages 2 to 7. To view these free resources, visit https://learn.khanacademy.org/khan-academy-kids/.
Scholastic offers free resources for parents and teachers. Parents can scroll to the bottom of the Scholastic homepage and click on “Scholastic Parents” to find information on top activity books, the best books for children of different age groups, STEM activities for kids, learning at home tips and how to sign up for the Scholastic newsletter. For more information, visit https://www.scholastic.com/home.
Also, Scholastic is offering fun, educational activities for 4- to 10-year-olds for $5.99 a month through its Learn at Home for Families program. For more information, visit https://learnathome.scholastic.com.
The College Board
Advanced Placement (AP) exams, which are offered by the College Board, are going to be different this year. Online AP exams are being developed that students can take at home. The College Board is offering some online resources to help with test preparation, such as sample schedules, test tips and lessons and review sessions via YouTube livestream lectures. For more information, visit https://www.collegeboard.org or https://www.youtube.com/user/advancedplacement?SFMC_cid=EM294616-&rid=47352283.
Depending on where high school seniors want to apply to college, they might be getting a break this year when it comes to standardized testing. Several dozen colleges and universities in Georgia are waiving SAT and ACT test requirements for upcoming semesters because the coronavirus pandemic has led to numerous test date cancellations and has prevented thousands of students from having access to testing opportunities. The University System of Georgia’s 26 institutions will waive standardized test requirements for the spring, summer and fall 2021 semesters, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
However, high school students are still permitted to take standardized tests and submit their scores to the colleges of their choice. Students seeking resources to help prepare for standardized tests can also visit https://www.collegeboard.org.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online classes from top universities and companies on a wide variety of subjects. Popular MOOC sites include Coursera, edX and Future Learn. High school students and their parents can take advantage of these online courses to learn new skills or enhance their knowledge for a course they’re already taking. The sites also offer opportunities to earn microcredentials and professional certificates at reasonable prices.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is offering free daily activities on its website. Parents will find descriptions of activities designed particularly for 4- and 5-year-olds that focus on key learning areas. There are also virtual field trips and suggestions for screen free activities, outdoor activities and activities to help children deal with their emotions. For more information, visit http://www.decal.ga.gov/PreK/WelcomeToGAPreKAtHome.aspx.
In addition to visiting your local library, several organizations are offering free online books for children.
Free Children Stories:
The Free Children Stories website offers free and original stories for kids. Stories are available by age and style, and there’s even a books podcast. For more information, visit https://www.freechildrenstories.com.
Amazon has a selection of free children’s books available for Kindle downloads. To find these books, search for Children’s Books: Kindle Edition and then sort the price as low to high. For more information, visit this Amazon site.
International Children’s Digital Library:
The International Children’s Digital Library Foundation offers a collection of books that represent outstanding historical and contemporary books from around the world. The foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so children can know and appreciate global children’s literature. Find the free collection of books here: http://en.childrenslibrary.org/books/index.shtml.
Project Gutenberg is an online library of more than 60,000 free electronic books. Visitors will find some of the world’s greatest literature, with a focus on older works for which the U.S. copyright has expired. For more information, visit https://www.gutenberg.org. Here are the site’s most popular books: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?sort_order=downloads.
Library of Congress:
The Library of Congress has made dozens of classic books for children available for free online. To view the titles, visit http://www.read.gov/books/index.html#kids.
ManyBooks has created an extensive library of free digital books that are available for download in a variety of formats. For more information, visit https://manybooks.net.