The COVID-19 outbreak has closed schools across most of the U.S., impacting more than 55 million students who are now learning at home. That's created an increased demand for homeschool resources. Today, National Geographic is responding to that need with the launch of a new online hub, NatGeo@Home, which pulls together all of National Geographic's family-friendly educational content into a one-stop shop for parents and teachers alike.
The free digital resource combines the educational content from the National Geographic Society with those from National Geographic Kids and other tools and services. This includes access to the National Geographic Society's Learn at Home portal, where you'll find educational content like articles, lessons, videos, other online activities and more.
The content on the site, aimed at K-12 students, is organized by grade and tagged as either "read," "watch" or "play," depending on whether it's an article, video or activity. There are also lesson plans available, which parents and teachers can favorite to save to their library, if signed in.
The new site is also home to the Explorer Classroom, which offers live video talks from conservationists, scientists, filmmakers, explorers and other experts, that will air weekdays at 2 PM EDT. The talks will cover topics like wildlife, ocean conversation, photography, space exploration and more.
In addition to the educational resources, the portal offers families advice and information about how to navigate online learning and talking to kids about COVID-19. Some of its recent stories include a how-to on working from home with kids and a Coronavirus 101 explainer for parents who need help in better understanding the complicated health crisis themselves so they can answer questions from their children.
The portal will also be featured as part of #DisneyMagicMoments, Disney's new family website that pulls together stories, videos and activities from across Disney's properties, including Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic.
"Juggling your work life and your kid's school life is hard enough. When those two worlds collide, as they have for so many families, it adds so many layers of challenges," said Rachel Buchholz, editor in chief and vice president of National Geographic Kids, in a statement about the launch. "That's why our goal here is to keep kids of all ages educated, entertained, and inspired, helping them become global stewards of the future," she added.
Disney is not the only organization to have launched a set of homeschool resources in recent days. Children's media nonprofit Common Sense just last week debuted Wide Open School, a comprehensive collection of resources for parents and teachers that included age-appropriate educational activities as well as daily schedules. National Geographic was one of the partners in that effort.
Apple, a Wide Open School partner, also launched the Apple Education Learning Series, a collection of videos designed to help schools and educators make the most of remote learning using Apple devices. And Comcast made nearly 2,000 hours of educational programming available to Xfinity subscribers, also in partnership with Common Sense.
In NatGeo's case, its educational content was already being used by a number of educators across the U.S. to supplement classroom learning before the COVID-19 outbreak, so it makes sense for the organization to step up to fill the gaps in homeschool curricula, as well.
NatGeo@Home is currently available for free, though that could change at some point in the future when schools re-open.