This year’s back-to-school is particularly nerve-wracking. Hopefully these reads and streaming offerings will help ease some anxiety.
September 8, 2020 4 min read
Parenting in a pandemic is challenging on the best of days, but even more so when you add the extra layer of distance learning. Many (OK, most) of us managed to muddle through what might be called “crisis learning” in the spring, only to be walloped with a long, hot summer free of the usual distractions that keep kids busy while we’re trying to hold down jobs.
And like the sudden buzzing of cicadas, fall has descended upon parents seemingly overnight, bringing a new set of distance learning challenges with it. Whether parents are managing a full, hybrid or fully remote learning schedule for their kids, they are seeking out additional resources and books to supplement their children’s learning experiences.
The book-publishing industry has been hit hard by Covid thanks to lower-than-normal foot traffic and temporary closures at brick-and-mortars, as well as staffing challenges in the warehousing and logistics links of the supply chain. But since more people are staying in, more people are reading — and that’s been good for the book business. In particular, it’s been a bright spot for publishers of kid-focused activity books and parenting titles. NPD Bookscan reports a significant uptick in sales of activity books (458 percent), nonfiction titles about education (125 percent) and homeschooling titles (144 percent). Plus, many publishers are finding new ways to get content to their readers in the form of subscription models, e-learning packets and downloadable worksheets and supplemental activities.
Ready to get in the groove of fall with your kids, supplement their (and your) learning journey or just find a way to keep them busy while you’re on your last Zoom call of the day? Check out these bookish resources to keep everyone in the know.
1. Big Preschool Workbook
Big Preschool Workbook is a juggernaut of a title, sitting in the number-one spot in juvenile nonfiction, and selling over two million copies since its 2019 debut. Focused on fundamental writing, counting and pre-reading skills, this book will keep littles busy during screen breaks.
2. Awesome Science Experiments for Kids
If you don’t mind the occasional mess or odd requests from your kids for “supplies,” science experiments can come in handy on a rainy school-at-home day. One of many activity books from new player in kids’ nonfiction, Rockridge Press, Awesome Science Experiments for Kids walks your kids through experiments cool enough to make you decline a couple of meeting invites.
3. The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot To Do
Forget the pandemic pantry staples and breadmaking experiments gone wrong. Fall means a return to busy family routines (even if they are new socially distant ones). Entrepreneur and author Ayesha Curry brings her working mom A game in The Full Plate with dishes made for busy families with a range of tastes. Plus, these recipes are fast and fun to cook together. It’s not like you have plans anyway, so make a plan to cook with the kids.
4. Brain Quest Workbooks and Decks
Workman’s Brain Quest books and activity decks are eye-popping, engaging tomes (yep, they’re huge) meant to bridge learning gaps and encourage skill building. Packed with a wide variety of activities, journaling prompts and quizzes, the Brain Quest books are categorized by learning level. Boasting over 45 million books in print, this series is an industry leader in the activity category.
5. Scholastic Learn At Home for Families
Educational go-to Scholastic has rolled out a subscription model for parents and kids called Learn At Home for Families. Offering resources for parents like guided learning activities and downloadable content along with videos, quizzes, crafts and active play ideas, the monthly price of $5.99 seems reasonable. Plus, you can link directly to the Scholastic Book Fairs page to rekindle your love affair with circling books in a newsprint flyer (but online).
6. Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices
Marley Dias, activist and founder of the #1000BlackGirlBooks social media campaign, rolls out a new Netflix special this month. Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices showcases the literary work of Black authors read by Black artists and influential figures. Each five-minute episode features a read-aloud book experience that operates both as a story time and an opportunity to amplify Black voices at home.
Related: Book of the Week: ‘Total Alignment’
There are thousands more resources you can access to help supplement your kids’ education journeys while you continue to pursue your own dreams. No matter what this school year brings, keeping your kids focused and engaged is vital to their long-term success — and your long-term sanity.