9 Ideas to Make Summer (School?) Smoother

teen working on computer
(Tim Flack/DVIDS)

School may be ending soon, but summer is going to look a little different this year. To help parents of all ages get through the summer, we’ve collected some great virtual resources to help.

We know that not everyone wants their kids in front of a screen all day long, but we also realize that this is the medium available for information. So, take what appeals to you and your screentime plans and pass the rest of them along to your friends.

Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza

Scholastic is a go-to for summer reading programs and this year, they’re kicking off their program early. Starting May 4th their free program is open to readers of all ages. The website states, “For 2020, we are excited to share a brand new kids experience in Scholastic Home Base, a free digital destination which offers full books, live events, and games in a safe community for readers.”


If you have a library card from a participating library, you can use Hoopla to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, comics, TV shows and ebooks on a variety of platforms. You can download them or stream immediately.


If your student needs a helping hand in school work (or needs to hear from someone that isn’t their parent) Tutor.com is available 24/7 to help with test prep, homework and learning from home assignments.


Summer is a good time to get ready for college testing. eKnowledge donates SAT and ACT College Test Preparation Programs to service members and their families for a small fee to offset some of the expenses of streaming and support.

Audible Free Books

Libraries may be closed, but Audible has a great selection of free stories for students of all ages to listen to. Their website states these will be available “For as long as schools are closed, we're open.” The stories are available for streaming on phones, computers and Alexa.

Coding Websites & Apps

When we can sneak learning into fun apps and games we feel we are winning as parents. Coding is “cool” and there are so many options for age-appropriate ways to learn to code. This website has over 40 free options for your kiddos, ranging from toddlers to teens. The LegoBoost and Coding Safari are some options we’ve tried and recommend.

Typing Resources

You may have discovered that your children are not really good typers. I’m not sure when students are supposed to learn how to type properly, but we haven’t gotten there yet with my middle schooler. TypingClub is a free option to help your student learn to navigate the keyboard, which will reduce frustration for everyone in your house.

NOAA Webinar

For the next generation of scientists, meteorologists or oceanographers, check out this webinar series. They started mid-March (but were all recorded!) and will run through mid-June each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am ET. Topics include getting prepared for hurricane season, coral reef ecosystems and bringing big ships into port.

Tour the White House

If a grip to Washington, D.C. was on your summer list, it doesn't have to be a complete wash. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, White House tours are now available to everyone! There are three online exhibits which allow you to virtually tour the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the Art and Decor of both the ground floor and the state floor of the White House. Check out all the options and exhibits

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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