Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting…
Schooling Resources for Homeschool & Online
This page is updated regularly to provide the most current information available.
9/2/2020 Do you know anyone without internet or a computer at home? Ten of our library locations are now offering kits with a Chromebook and MiFi for checkout. For locations and complete details, please visit: LACountyLibrary.org/express-service
2020. This is a year without resources generations of students have taken for granted: team sports, theater and music, lab classes, libraries, field trips, in-person study groups, play dates.
Online resources are increasingly essential for students of all ages, and there is plenty of material out there, but it can be challenging to know where to look for specific information.
The Center for Disease Control offers in depth checklists for parents. Recommendations include making sure to attend school activities and meetings whenever possible to stay in touch with teachers and administrators, and to create a schedule for each child to help establish a school routine at home.
The Los Angeles Unified School District also offers extensive resources that include student health and human services, troubleshooting for the apps used for distance learning, and learning aids. To learn more, visit www.achieve.lausd.net/resources. There is also a hotline number for LAUSD parents: 213-443-1300.
When the coronavirus crisis hit, KCET—the main Los Angeles PBS station—rapidly arranged its television lineup to feature history and science programing on weekday mornings and afternoons.
Local county and city libraries may not be open but they still offer extensive online resources. While some holdings overlap, it’s worth getting a Los Angeles Public Library card and a Los Angeles County library card.
All Los Angeles Unified students are automatically assigned a Student Success Card. That means they can use their cards to access all online resources from LAPL, without need for a physical card.
LAPL is the place to go for access to Proquest, which is home to the digital archive of the Los Angeles Times and other media. LAPL also has an extensive collection of ebooks, audiobooks, films, classes, newspapers, magazines, archival records, and more.
A Los Angeles County library card opens the door to even more digital resources, and Topanga residents can now order books on the county library website and pick them up outside the Topanga branch.
For older students looking for research materials, CSUN, Pepperdine, UCS and Loyola Marymount have extensive easy-to-access digital libraries.
For an easy way to search digital holdings throughout the state, check out University of California’s Calisphere search engine, www.calisphere.org.
In the digital era, there’s no need to limit one’s search to local resources. The Library of Congress, New York Public Library, and Oxford University libraries are all a click away, and they all offer digital resources.
For those that have the resources, there are a few educational centers that offer classes for homeschoolers, and now for those doing school at home. Learn Beyond the Book offers homeschool and hybrid classes, alternative education options, resources, and support for self-directed learning. Registration is now open at.
The Realm Creative Academy offers both online and in person options for classes this fall. They are hoping to provide in-person classes for those that need it most: for the children of first responders, parents that work full time, or for kids that struggle with online learning. They have extensive safety precautions in place and have only limited availability for in-person classes, but have many rich online choices, as well.
Outschool.com has a wide array of classes in many diverse subjects. All of their classes are online and for affordable prices. There are some individual classes as well as classes that are offered as a series. Many of the teachers are willing to create a class if you are looking for something in particular and the Outschool team is very helpful and communicative through email.
For more information on homeschooling, visit Topanga Parents for Alternative Education on Facebook, and Homeschooling in Southern California on Facebook
We aren’t grade school students here at the Topanga New Times, but we’ve picked some helpful tips during this seemingly endless ordeal that may help others working or studying from home. Also a helpful article by Diana Mathur earlier this year.
Boost the Signal
One problem many Topanga residents face is poor wifi and internet connections. That can make schoolwork and all remote work challenging. Service providers like Spectrum can install a booster that can help improve wifi, especially at homes where the cable has to travel a significant distance from the power pole to the router, or for ranch-style houses that cover a lot of area. Third-party devices like Google Mesh can also improve and extend home wifi.
A key element for successfully working or studying at home is making space to work. The sofa or kitchen counter may be comfortable, but creating a “school room” in a spare room, or just a corner of the living room separated with a screen or curtain can help boost concentration, and can also help students relax after school work is finished. Research shows that reserving the bedroom for sleeping instead of doubling as an office helps prevent insomnia.
Creating a study plan and physically taking notes, even when the class they are for is strictly virtual, can help the brain to retain the information.
Take a Break.
All students should have time for breaks, lunch, snacks, exercise and maybe even a little bit of silliness.
Turn off the TV and try putting on sound-canceling headphones, or listening to an ambient sound generator (we like www.mynoise.com) if construction noise, or household activities are a distraction.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Social media is full of aspirational stories about people writing the Great American Novel, baking artisan sourdough bread, or performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on instruments made by hand from household objects, but for many of us just getting through our work or homework and remembering to breathe often seems like enough of a challenge, and maybe that’s OK. This is an exhausting time. Sometimes it can be helpful to take a little time to do nothing at all.
How Children Learn, Growing Without Schooling or any title by John Holt
The Underground History of American Education, Weapons of Mass Instruction,
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
ASTEME: Advancement in Science, Technology, Engineering in Math Education