As we all know, now is the time for social distancing and learning at home. So the question for many families is how to keep high schoolers learning during quarantine. While there is no shortage of ideas for younger students, high schoolers need more complicated activities to keep them learning rather than checking their phones. For AP and advanced students, it is even more troubling as students wonder what this means for college choices.

To help families like yours keep students active, we’ve put together a list of 7 ways to keep your student learning during a quarantine. We hope your find this helpful.

1) Pick Up a New Hobby The unexpected free time that isolation brings is a chance for teens to pick up hobbies that can be nurtured even after the threat of infection has passed. Together or apart, you and your high schooler can check out one of these five great food YouTube channels or cook your way through any number of online recipes especially collected for those stuck at home – like those at America’s Test Kitchen. Looking for more “fun” food choices? Check out Tasty on Instagram or Snapchat for some viral recipe videos.

If painting or other works of art are more up your teen’s alley, consider taking an online tour through Google Arts and Culture. Visiting the virtual museums and Googles large digital collection is a great way to see art up close from the comfort of home. If your teen they become inspired these YouTube painting tutorials can be a great start to experimenting with methods of painting. Feeling nostalgic? Introduce your student to Bob Ross and his happy trees (streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the official Bob Ross YouTube channel).

Dashboard of Google Arts and Culture Collections

2) Learn a New Language Why not use your time to jump start language learning? Teens can take easy language lessons on their phone or computer with a free account at Duolingo, listen to free foreign language radio on TuneIn, or read free online newspapers in their language of interest. Many websites also offer online conversation partners for new students looking to flex their speaking skills. As with any online chatting, parents are encouraged to help their students pick a professional and respectful language partner. For those students looking for a more traditional class, the free language courses at EdX might also be a place to start.

3) Learn to Program Here at the Balkhi Foundation, we believe that technology education is critical. Technology education gives students real, marketable skills and knowledge that can pay off in almost any career. Luckily, the internet is full of high quality resources for those looking to learn to code. A short and simple introduction can be found at Code.org’s Middle and High School Classes but this is only the beginning. Check out our 5 Free Tools for Technology Education for access to hours of computer science education – all free of charge.

Homepage of Codewars.com

Is your student already a computer science whiz? Have they completed free trainings and tutorials online and are looking to dive into to something more advanced? Then you should check outCode Wars. This free, challenge based coding training pits your student against a code debugging challenge and gets harder as they succeed. As they master each level, they move up through the ranks and can start to build their own challenges for learners across the world. For those Florida based students looking for more of a challenge by way of a paid class, the Balkhi Foundation’s K-12 Technology Training Grant is actively accepting applications for students in Florida who need help paying for advanced technology education.

4) Volunteer Digitally Many high schoolers want to give back and feel like they are doing something to help others during the current crisis. As always, safety is important and teens need to search to find ways to help from home. Luckily, Coyote Communications maintains a list of digital volunteer opportunities that can be a great start. Most of these opportunities involve transcribing or proof reading online resources to improve readability and accessibility. One organization, BookShare, allows open access to books for those with reading disabilities or other needs and relies on volunteers to help proof read scanned documents. More outgoing students might also enjoy reaching out to others in your community to offer free tutoring or homework help to younger students digitally. Teens should also consider volunteering to keep older relatives company during this trying time by calling or video chatting with them. Community minded teens may also consider writing letters to members of the community who need extra support like seniors in nursing homes or first responders.

5) Read the Great Classics With so much free time, high schoolers might enjoy reading some of the many recommended books for high schoolers. Teens can access dozens of great classics free with the Amazon Kindle App. Looking for more recent reads? Check your local library’s website to see if you have access to a digital library for new releases such as CloudLibrary or Hoopla. For those without access to a digital library, Read.gov offers a variety of interesting reads for students of all ages.

Hoopla logo

6) Take a Free Class or Certification Antsy high school students looking to get a sneak peak at college courses should consider online classes. For free, students can sign up for a free online course from universities such as Harvard, Stanford, or MIT. For an even larger catalog of free courses, learners should check out EdX and Coursera where students can learn anything from tools for negotiation to basic science. These resources can also be great options for parents or family members looking to pick up a new skill during this trying time for many businesses.

7) Apply to College Scholarships For college bound high schoolers, this time away from school can serve as a valuable chance to search for and apply to scholarships. We recommend all families of college bound students use our Guide to Finding Education Scholarships to guide conversations of college costs and as a springboard to search for available college scholarships. The Balkhi Foundation’s Higher Education Scholarship application will be available in April 2020.

Now more than ever it’s important for families to pull together. We know that time spent in isolation is hard for ever member of the family. As many of us around the world enter into quarantines with our families, we hope that these seven resources can help you keep your high schooler learning while away from school.