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Support During COVID-19

With many families at home and perhaps suddenly homeschooling in light of the coronavirus, the Family Consultant team wanted to pull together some resources for our Davidson families. Below, we have charts comparing different online academic courses, book lists for our avid readers, magazines that can be sent straight to your home, podcasts and educational video channels that are available instantly, inspiration for projects at home, subscription boxes that can send supplies to you, and a roundup of lists that other organizations are putting out with resources for families during this time.

In addition to what is below, your school may be offering some resources specifically to students in their district; if you haven’t heard from your district, you might email your child’s teachers to see what resources they have access to. It also may be worth reaching out to local libraries, museums, colleges, and other non-profit/cultural/governmental organizations to see if they are offering any services for local residents at this time.

See also our tips on homeschooling with gifted children:

Comparison Charts for Online Classes: Use the following charts to explore different online academic programs that have been popular amongst other gifted students. Some programs have specific start and end dates; some of these “set” courses, though, have classes starting several times throughout the year. Additionally, there are some programs that have open enrollment.

Find Your Next Book: We know that many profoundly gifted children are avid readers, and now they have lots more time to read. Use the book lists below to find recommendations on what they could read next. You might check to see if you can rent ebooks through your local library for free, and services like Audible can deliver audiobooks to you instantly.

There are also many services today that offer a twist on the book-of-the-month idea, including Once Upon a Book ClubThe Book DropBookcase.Club and GiftLit. These might help your reader discover new books or read something outside their comfort zone. The nice surprise of receiving a package may also inspire them to read even more!

Magazines are another way to get new reading material into your house. Here are a few of our favorites:

    • Cricket Media publishes several magazines for kids of different ages:
      • Ask is about science, history, inventors, artists, and more, all written just for readers, ages 6-9.
      • Cobblestone is an American history magazine for readers, ages 9-14.
      • Cricket is a magazine of fiction, classic literature, and nonfiction stories on culture, history, science, and the arts. Each issue includes a signature cast of rambunctious bug characters who offer humorous commentary on the stories (ages 9-14).
      • Faces takes readers, ages 9-14, around the world and back to see how children in other countries and world regions live.
      • Muse is the science and arts magazine for kids (ages 9-14) that’s spot on with the facts, but off-kilter with the jokes.
      • Spider includes fun stories, poems, activities and illustrations by famous children’s artists (for ages 6-9).
    • Ember is a journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Submissions for and by readers aged 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged.
    • The Girls’ Angle Bulletin is a bimonthly math magazine with interviews, articles, problems, activities, art, and much more.
    • National Geographics Kids is published by National Geographic specifically for children.
    • New Moon Girls is written by girls and for girls, ages 8 and up.
    • Polyphony Lit is an international digital literary journal edited and written by teens.
    • Ranger Rick and Zoobooks magazines are published by the National Wildlife Federation and focus on learning about animals from around the world.
    • Science News for Students is a digital publication for students that focuses on the latest developments in the scientific community.
    • Stone Soup has been publishing stories, poems, art, and reviews by kids since 1973.
    • Teen Ink offers teens the opportunity to publish their creative work and opinions on issues that affect their lives.
    • TIME for Kids covers a variety of topics for readers in grades K-6. The magazine is typically distributed to classrooms, but homeschool parents can order copies here. The organization is also offering a free digital library until the end of the school year.

In addition to magazines written for young people, many profoundly gifted children enjoy magazines written for the general public such as AstronomyMake:MagazineNatural History, and Scientific American.

Podcasts are one easy way to engage children in interesting topics whenever you need a moment. They can also spark good conversation around the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table.

    • Each Book Club for Kids episode gives a different group of kids the chance to discuss a young adult book. Each episode also features a celebrity reader and an interview with the book’s author (ages 9-14).
    • Brains On! is for curious families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world.  The mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history.
    • BrainStuff seeks to explore–and explain–the everyday science in the world around us.
    • The History of the World in 100 Objects podcast is hosted by the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, who narrates 100 programs that retell humanity’s history through the objects we have made.
    • Myths and Legends talks about how folklore has shaped the world. There are stories of kings, Vikings, dragons, wizards, and more!
    • The Past & The Curious shares little-known stories from history, often humorously relayed.
    • Short & Curly is an ethics podcast from Australia. The hosts investigate dilemmas relevant to kids, like whether you have to love your sibling or whether Pokemon Go is actually playing you (ages 7-12).
    • Science Friday discusses everything from the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies. Students can listen to the podcast live on Fridays from 2:00pm-4:00pm Eastern Time.
    • Stuff You Missed in History Class has some of the greatest and strangest stories from the annals of history.
    • The Torch is a podcast created by The Great Courses professors and experts. There are 70 episodes in total ranging in topics from the American West, Spanish History, birding, and so much more.
    • Tumble is a science podcast that shares the stories behind science discovery. It explores how science actually works as a process. It’s co-hosted by a science journalist and a teacher (ages 6-12).

YouTube Channels & Educational Video Sites: Beyond podcasts, educational video sites–including YouTube channels–can instantly deliver content to your children in engaging ways. Below are a few

    • The Brain Scoop was developed by the Chief Curiosity Correspondent at the Field Museum, a natural history museum in Chicago.
    • CrashCourse and CrashCourseKids were created by John and Hank Green. They offer video courses on a variety of topics–from astronomy to U.S. history to mythology.
    • The Great Courses (and their streaming service, The Great Courses Plus) offers lectures series on a variety of topics, including fine arts, mathematics, and history.
    • Inkshed is a resource created by Dottie Shayegan, a Young Scholar, along with a group of students from Harvard-Westlake School. The Inkshed team creates art, writing, music, and theater video lessons to share their love and passion for the arts with elementary school students.
    • Numberphile is a channel about the many things that make numbers and related concepts intriguing.
    • It’s Okay to Be Smart explores the scientific world, including physics, food science, earth science, and more.
    • SciShow and SciShow Kids are channels where students can quench their curiosity about science and more. There are also two more specialized channels: SciShow Space and SciShow Psych.
    • Talks at Google is a channel curated by Google. As they say, this is where great minds meet.
    • TED is home to the popular and inspiring TED Talks. There’s a talk on almost any topic you could think of.
    • TED-Ed is an interdisciplinary educational website that offers video-based lessons organized by age and subject.

There are also several companies that offer Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) such as edX and Coursera.

Inspiration for Projects: Projects can be a great way to fill an afternoon or several days. You can dive deeper into an area you already love, explore something new, or hone a skill. Here are a few places to spark your child’s next project idea:

      • On DIY, you can earn patches for completing projects in different areas like astronomy, bookbinding, game design, photography, and so much more. They offer step-by-step videos to help you complete your projects. It’s kind of like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, but you decide what to do and where to do it.
      • Check out the project library from past Maker Camps.
      • Start with a Book has projects and resources connected to books on different themes. Click on “Explore a Topic” and then get topic-based book recommendations and hands-on activities (mostly for ages 3-12). Each topic page also has a list of websites and apps to allow kids to dig deeper into the topic.
      • Science Buddies has a search tool to browse various science project ideas, and they offer project guides that help students through each step of the science project (i.e. researching, developing a hypothesis, testing, and etc.). There’s also the opportunity to Ask an Expert to get feedback from actual science experts as well.
      • Wonderopolis is a place to get your burning questions answered (like “Do plants think?” or “Why didn’t people smile in old photos?”). At the end of each wonder, there are ideas for projects and additional ways to explore further.

Subscription Boxes: One of the issues with projects right now, though, is that you might need supplies you don’t have on hand. The solution? Subscription boxes! These boxes often contain everything you need to get your student started on projects on all different topics. Getting a special gift in the mail can also build more excitement around the project at hand. The best part? Most of these are designed for students to do independently.

        • Several educational subscription boxes have a science focus:
          • Bitsbox is a learning system that teaches real coding and introduces real computer science concepts (ages 6-12).
          • EEME stands for electrical engineering and mechanical engineering; their boxes include activities for kids, ages 7+
          • Groovy Lab in a Box blends scientific inquiry and the engineering design process through STEM experiments (ages 8+).
          • Spangler Science Club boxes are filled with the science tools and resources needed to explore real-world STEM activities (ages 5-12). They also have a free experiment library.
        • KiwiCo offers differently themed subscription boxes for all ages:
          • Kiwi Crate includes fun and enriching science, engineering, and art projects (ages 5-8).
          • Atlas Crate focuses on geography and includes globally-inspired projects to help students explore world cultures and teach new STEAM concepts (ages 6-11).
          • Doodle Crate includes art supplies and DIY project ideas (ages 9-16+).
          • Tinker Crate: Hands-on STEM projects (ages 9-16+)
          • Maker Crate: Art and design tools to grow creative and artistic confidence (ages 14-104)
          • Eureka Crate: Science and engineering projects (ages 14-104)
        • Little Passports encourages exploration of the United States and the world through activities, readings, and souvenirs (ages 3-5, 6-8, and 9+).
        • History Unboxed offers hands-on history lessons from around the world (ages 5-9, 10-15, and 16+).
        • Green Kid Crafts boxes include a wide range of hands-on science, engineering, and art projects each month focused on a different theme (ages 2-5, 5-10, and 10+)
        • Finders Seekers is an adventure for the whole family. Each month, you’ll explore a different place. You solve puzzles and unlock clues as you learn about the history of the place and explore local traditions.
        • Brick Loot is the subscription box for LEGO lovers. It includes several items each month to inspire new LEGO creations based on a theme.

We know that some of these can be expensive. Instead, you might consider making your own surprise project box. Check out some tips on how to do so in “How to Make Your Own Learning Experiences with Adventure Boxes.” If you feel like you’re strapped for supplies, think outside of the box: What about a box where your children are encouraged to make musical instruments out of items from the recycle bin? Or what about a box where children have to make funny poems by cutting out words from an old newspaper or junk mail that accumulated over the last week? Or, what about a simple envelope with a “secret mission” for the day–maybe building a “spy” training obstacle course in the backyard?

Other Organizations’ Lists of Recommendations: There are many other organizations out there pulling together resources to support you in these extraordinary times. Below are a few we’ve seen pop up: