With schools closed across the UK, many parents are supporting their kids with home learning – which can be pretty challenging. That’s why we’ve created a list of our top tips for home learning as well as links to our favourite online learning resources – all of which are completely free.
Get help from the experts
Unless you’re a teacher yourself, chances are that a lot of your kids’ lessons involve things you may not have thought about in years. That’s okay! There are plenty of great resources that have been created with the school curriculum in mind, across a whole variety of subjects:
- CBeebies bitesize: great for young kids who are particularly visual learners
- BBC bitesize: in-depth info on pretty much everything your kids need to learn (for all ages)
- Khan Academy: online ‘whiteboard-style’ lessons across a huge range of topics (US-based but can complement your child’s syllabus)
- Khan Academy Kids: content that’s specialised for children aged 2-8
- BBC Teach: on-demand educational videos, with a focus on literacy & numeracy but some other content too
Make things interactive
As many parents know all too well, one of the hardest parts of homeschooling is getting your kids to actually engage with the content they’re meant to be learning. That’s why it’s best to keep things as interactive as possible – so that they cover the content without losing interest. Some great resources that are more interactive include:
- Twinkl: Home learning hub with free activities, created by teachers and updated daily
- Duolingo: Language learning app with games and quizzes – it also tracks how much you’ve covered and enables kids to ‘play against others’
- Oak National Academy: Free reading & writing activities from brilliant children’s authors, in collaboration with the National Literacy Trust.
- Epic: A digital library app that has over 40,000 books (one-month free trial)
There are also plenty of low-tech activities that can keep your kids engaged if you’re trying to reduce their screen time. Here are some great kids’ activities which don’t involve screens – and all you need are things you probably already have lying around the house!
Try to keep them active
This is easier said than done, and especially during lockdown it can be really tough to get your kids moving on a daily basis. However, it is incredibly good at improving children’s (and parents’) mental health, so try your best to include some form of physical activity. This could be:
- A good old-fashioned walk, run or bike ride
- Some online PE lessons with the wonderful Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach)
- Gentle stretching – Yoga with Adriene has some free yoga routines that are great for kids, such as the one below
Give them some fun activities to do as well
Of course, it’s understandable that many of us are just trying to get our kids to focus on their regular curriculum (so that they don’t miss out or fall behind). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and if you’re juggling lots of different things there’s no point putting extra pressure on yourself to come up with fun new games to keep them engaged beyond the syllabus.
However, the magic of the internet means that even if you are struggling for time to do extracurricular activities with the kids, they can still do so virtually!
There are plenty of virtual ‘school trips’ which you can take your kids on (without having to be 100% present if you’re too busy!):
- A day at Chester Zoo
- Walk through the British Museum (on Google street view!)
- Take a virtual field trip to Seattle Aquarium
- Explore Oxford’s History of Science Museum
Don’t be too hard on yourself
You are (probably) not a teacher. You are a parent, who is at home trying to teach their kids whilst juggling a million other responsibilities. Although we all want to do the best we can for our kids and make sure they don’t fall behind, try to remember that you’re also human and you’re allowed to have off days.
This isn’t just us saying is as parents – even the teaching advisor we enlisted to help us with homeschool advice has said that one of her biggest tips is just ‘Let it go’! Although it’s easy to feel stressed when you’re trying to balance so many different responsibilities, managing expectations is crucial to sustaining this whole homeschooling set-up.
And as always, remember that you’re allowed to have breaks. With in-home childcare allowed across the UK, don’t forget to take some time for yourself and get some support if you need to. You can find brilliant local sitters and nannies by downloading the free Bubble app on the App Store or Google Play.