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K-12 Learning at home during COVID-19

This library guide outlines resources used to support BC K-12 curriculum-focused learning in home settings.

Educational audio resources for kids

Audible has some audio books available for free

Common Sense Media's great listing of podcasts for kids

CBC's list of podcasts for kids (I really recommend Tai Asks Why)

We Are Teachers list organized by grade level

WIRED's list of best podcasts for kids

Parents Magazine's list of podcasts for kids

The New York Time's list of podcasts for little kids

Kids Listen podcast list organized by subject

NPR podcasts for kids


Public library resources

BC has nearly 250 public libraries and each has excellent online resources.  Find your local library and then check out their amazing online offerings.  Here are a few public libraries near UVic:


The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is a repository of content owned and sustained by Canadian public libraries. 


Library and Archives Canada has online content: 


Canadiana has a lot of electronic content on line related to Canada's documentary heritage content.

The Internet Archive is is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.  During the COVID pandemic they have created a National Emergency Library to serve learners during school and library closures.  This means that the Internet Archive has suspended waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating until June 30, 2020, or the end of the national emergency, whichever is later.  The following are particularly good:

Provincial Education resources in BC

  • Keep Learning is the ministry's website of suggestions for parents and caregivers to keep their children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Open School BC lists a few eTextbooks from Kindergarten to Grade 12
  • BC Campus has over 300 open eTextbooks which are particularly helpful for secondary and post-secondary learners

Librarian for Education and Children's Literature

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Pia Russell
Pia Russell, BA, MISt, MEd, MA
Education and Children's Literature

On leave June to December, 2023

The University of Victoria Libraries


This library guide outlines resources that can be used to support BC's K-12 curriculum-focused learning in home settings.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic schools are experiencing temporary or partial closures; because of this many colleagues have reached out to request information that can support home learning.  There is a lot of information available online and it can be challenging to navigate.  This guide is a response to these questions.  Throughout the pandemic teachers and school boards will communicate with families and guardians about education plans during the closure; this guide is meant to be one additional support for the important existing school-home connection.  The resources listed in this guide are recommended by teachers, professors, librarians, and parents.  The resources listed are just a start; I add more all the time.  If you have further recommendations, please let me know so I can add them.

On Tuesday, March 31st, the Ministry of Education released their online learning resource called Keep Learning on their Open School BC site.  Although this site is no longer frequently updated it still has lots of great learning content such as:

What's new!

NFB's Ocean School

NFB's Ocean School is an online learning experience providing three weeks of educational videos and activities for children ages 11-15.

How to be a good parent during COVID-19

Dr. Aliza W. Pressman, Director of Clinical Programming at Mount Sinai Health, shares some ideas for how to be a good parent during the COVID-19 pandemic and I found this very helpful advice. 

Get Started

As a librarian specializing in the study of education, as well as being a parent, the points below have helped me cope to support my childrens' learning at home.  The Education Department of the Government of New South Wales has some excellent recommendations for parents and carers during COVID-19 school closures on their Learning from Home website, I particularly like their remote learning guidelines for parents and carers.  Every family is different and it takes time to figure out what works best for you. 

1. Set up a learning space

It can be helpful to set up a dedicated space in your home that will be your family's learning area during the school closure period.  This can be a table in the kitchen or dining room, a desk in a bedroom, or even a coffee table.  At this space, you can lay out all the school supplies needed such as pencils, erasers, paper, markers, calculators, and more.  Having this space ready to go with everything at hand means kids can get down to their tasks quickly.  The Education Department of the Government of New South Wales has an excellent learning environment checklist which includes ergonomic considerations. 

2. Establish a routine

Every teacher I have spoken to about the school closures has emphasized the importance of routines and structure. The Education Department of the Government of New South Wales has proposed a possible model for a one-week cycle of remote learning and this includes a variety of instructional methods. Common Sense Media also has some great tips for keeping kids learning while at home because the COVID closures. 

3. Know the BC curriculum 

One of the most helpful resources has been to do a customized search on the BC curriculum website based on an individual child's grade level.  The Ministry of Education's Curriculum Orientation Guide provides a quick introduction to how the 2015-16 curriculum was revised.  A listing of all curriculum is listed by subject and grade level here.  On Tuesday, March 31st, the Ministry of Education released their own resource list called Keep Learning on their Open School BC site. 

4. Know where your child's learning is currently at

Your child's latest report cards should give you a sense of not only what they have already covered in the curriculum but also their abilities within each area. You can use this information as a basis for moving forward during the closure.  Oxford Learning at Home has a playlist of videos for how to support children's learning at home. 

5. Screen time

This is a stressful time for everyone and kids are no exception.  Because screen time can provide kids with social interaction with friends and because there is so much excellent online content for learning, it can be helpful  to distinguish between constructive and less-constructive screen time.  The Mayo Clinic has some suggestions for how to manage your child's screen time as does Common Sense Media

6.  Perfection is not possible

I have to remind myself that being a perfect educator to my children is not possible  Being a parent and being an educator are very different roles and at the end of the day my role as their parent comes first.  I'm not a professional teacher and after homeschooling my children I have even more respect for the vital role great teachers play in my childrens' lives.  Being realistic is helpful too--there is no way I'm going to be able to get through long stretches of solid instructional hours while also working remotely at a full-time job.

Learn from the many homeschool parents and guardians who have been doing this for years.

Foundations of BC's new curriculum


In no way is this guide meant to replace the remarkable instruction which normally occurs in community or homeschool settings.  Instead, this guide is meant to serve as a starting point of resources available for interested parents needing to homeschool during COVID-19.  The authors of this guide are not BC-certified teachers. 

This guide currently focuses on resources for Language Arts, Maths, Science, and Social Studies.  Our resource lists for other curriculum subject areas, such as French, Career Education, and Arts Education, are currently under development.  I hope to post these soon.

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.