Dawn Spence

During this time of COVID-19 closures and the world’s reliance on the web for information as well as learning, it all can be overwhelming to navigate what resources to use or how to use them in your homeschool.


One thing to consider is building time into your homeschooling schedule to try out a new product since so many vendors are offering their services for free or at greatly reduced rates while public schools are closed.


This is especially advantageous to special education homeschooling families as internet learning sites and mobile apps can be powerful tools for students who struggle with pencil and pen assignments.


Here are some of my favorite resources that are giving away free trials right now and the type of learner they support.


#1 – Learning Ally 

This is a great resource for children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, vision issues, or other learning disabilities that make it hard for a child to read. With libraries being closed and long waiting lists for audiobooks to check out from your local library, this is where Learning Ally can help. If you are needing help but can not pay at this time they have a fee waiver form you can fill out. They provide audio and your child can also follow the highlighted text as they listen.


#2 – Audible

Another great, and currently free, audiobook resource for auditory learners is Audible. Using this service, children can listen to a wide range of books, from classics or one of my daughter’s favorites, Hank the Cowdog. This resource is free as long as school buildings are closed, so now is a great time for the family to listen to stories together and use their imagination and build those skills of making movies in their minds while listening.


#3 – Boom Learning-Boom Cards

Boom cards is a website you can use to create digital games and activities. Right now you can sign up for a free account and use the free premade games, create your own, or create more elaborate games with add-on items using their online store. These activities are great for visual learners as well as children who need a hands-on approach to learning. There are also speech activities you can use to fill the gap while your child’s speech therapy is on hold. Additionally, they offer videos that walk you through how to make your own boom cards. You can also share your boom cards, find them free on Teacher Pay Teachers, and download links to your Boom Learning account!


#4 – BrainPopJr  and BrainPop

These sites are online tools that help engage your learner and provide a unique way to teach concepts your learner might be struggling with. Both of these websites are free right now. BrainPopJr is geared to K-3 and teaches the basic concepts of science, health, reading, writing, social studies, and technology. Each concept starts with a video for your visual learner and then allows the student to apply the concept in various ways, like playing a game, drawing, acting, doing a printable hands-on activity, or even sharing jokes. The activities are interactive and can be modified to meet your child’s needs. These tools will especially support your reluctant writers and give them a way to uniquely present their understanding of the concept they have been studying. BrainPop is very similar to BrainPopJr but targets learners K-12 and goes more in-depth teaching and evaluations.


#5 – Boardmaker Online

This website is an online platform that supports education, communication, and social and emotional learning using PCS( Picture Communication System). This is great for children with Autism and other learning disabilities. They are giving 90-day trials right now and you have access to over 40,000 PCS. They are also providing many other resources that can be found here. If your child needs a visual schedule or behavior support you can download them. Their website provides webinars and video libraries you may access for free as well. The free activities provide hands-on themes that can be downloaded for free. If your child has an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device they are also providing free downloads.


I hope you find these resources for struggling learners helpful to try out while they are free. Who knows, you may find a new way to instruct your student that makes homeschooling easier for your struggling learner.





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