We have survived a few months of having the children at home. We’ve been working and getting used to this ‘How to Home School’ concept. Many are moving away from the structured approach while others swear by a minute by minute schedule.
Whatever works for you. One thing I’m sure we all learnt is that home learning is possible, but we sometimes need to take the traditional schooling concept out of the picture.
There are a ridiculous amount of free online resources available at the moment. You can literally wake up for a live game drive in the Kruger Park (South Africa), have a shower, just in time for live PE with Joe Wicks at 9 am. From there, the possibilities are endless. Some structured written or computer-based English activity. There are literally free links to everything. I’ve tried to divide these into learning activities, games and experiences while using the most direct link to the content possible.
With schools closing around the globe, parents are forced to play a more active role in their children’s education. Not only that, but parents are also forced to work from home and somehow keep their sanity. This new parental role can be very stressful and have an impact on parental stress.
Why not read Expert Advice on Working from Home with Children.
There are many free and some paid resources available for homeschooling and online learning. Whether your children are in primary school, secondary school or maybe you would like to brush up some learning, we are happy to list some tips and resources below.
Even though the schools are closed for summer, here are some great things to keep the kids busy with:
Virtual Tours and Experiences
- African Game Drive Live – You can join two live safaris a day, each of which will last approximately three hours. You can view the safaris between:
- 05:00am – 08:00am British Summer Time (sunrise dependent)
- 14:30pm – 17:30pm British Summer Time (sunset dependent)
- BBC’s Ten Pieces Live Lessons – introduction to classical music
- Google Arts & Culture – this one is for the whole family. Virtual tours to more than 1200 museums and galleries. Just see some of these available
- Machu Picchu, Andes Mountains, Peru
The Vatican, Rome – The tour is compatible with WebVR, so you can pop on a Virtual Reality headset to get an even closer look at some of the memorable creations.
The Deep Virtual Aquarium Virtual Tours
- New England Aquarium
- African Safari Webcams – There are various webcams up in different African locations. Why not go on safari.
- Live Cams all over the world. Letting you watch anything from polar bears to bats.
Explore the oceans (underwater cameras)
- Aquarium – Otters, sea lions, pirana, jellyfish, and many others.
- NASA Live: – Watch the earth from space
- Crystal Bay webcam – Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
- Explore Venice – through multiple webcams
- Arctic Travel Experts created ‘virtual lights over Lapland’ tour
- Future Learn – Explore the architecture and history of Rome, walking around a 3D digital model of the ancient city, with this free online course.
- Explore a Roman fort
- Rotterdam Philharmonic musicians team up online to play Beethoven’s 9th
- Concerts online – Various concerts held without audiences to stream online for people having to stay at home – list of live streaming concerts
- Free Opera – Dates confirmed until the end of March. Check the website via the link for future dates to be added
- Metropolitan Opera online, nightly streams
- Free classical orchestras – Live streaming performances
- Free Chamber music – Live streaming
- Berlin Philharmonic orchestra – Live streams and performance archive
- Announcements/lists – of worldwide performances being streamed
- Livestream concerts list – artists and bands
- Bands and artists – streaming performances
- Full-length concerts – watch online free
- Celebrities performing on social media
- Facebook Virtual Choir – Duet with a choir online
- Chris Martin (Coldplay) streaming from his home – YouTube
- Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals – streaming free online
Museums and galleries
- How to explore London’s top museums at home
- Museums with virtual tours for more on some of the museums and galleries with virtual tours
- Access to 500 Museums & Art Galleries – Free, online
- The British Museum
- London Science Museum
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- Musée Curie, Paris, France. Learn more about the work of Marie Curie
- National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
- MASP, São Paulo
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- How to explore London’s top art galleries at home
History, Geography & Nature
- National Geographic
- Tutorful – Top Geography websites, YouTube videos, and resources
- Project Noah – Global site where you can view and share wildlife
- Seterra – Free world geography, online quizzes
- Online film festival – Resistance in the Rainforest
- Kent Wildlife association – Simple ideas you can do in the garden to help wildlife
- World games – Geography games
- Wild Science – Podcast
- UK parliament – Politics, history, citizenship, etc. Written for children and young people, but lots of very interesting information, including how laws are made.
- Historical association – Learn about 20th Century history
- National Geographic Primary resources with curriculum objectives as an added bonus
- History for kids BBC resources and quizzes
- Science experiments, recipes and crafts
Learning about the world from MakeMeGenius. Although it’s an American site, there are some great videos that can help.
Homeschooling – Free online resources
Free Apps for Younger children (find on App Store or Google Play)
- Gavin McCormack’s 200 Montessori Tasks for Toddlers
- Go Explore from CBeebies – with a focus on learning games with CBeebies characters
- Khan Academy Kids – free collection of learning courses for younger children (2-7) that focuses on maths, reading and social and emotional skills.
- Teach Your Monster to Read – free phonics learning game.
- ScratchJr – a free app where younger children (5-7) can learn about coding their own games and animation. Not only do they learn to problem solve, but they can also learn to express themselves creatively.
- Computing – making your own games ages 5+ – Step by step breakdown of building a game.
- Mini Mash – for preschool children
- Phonics Play
- Jolly Phonics
It can be quite challenging to get hold of the best resources. Online resources for learning are ideal and some of these give you the option to print at home.
For all ages:
- Create a time capsule! Various activities that you can use to create some of your experiences through the COVID19 Lockdown Time Capsule
- Firstly, World Book Online has just made their fabulous collection of over 3,000 ebooks and audiobooks available for free for children to access at home. They have books suitable for all ages.
- Even Audible has jumped in and provide free audiobooks for children.
- Top Remote Learning Solutions with links to various sites and webinars for everyone.
- Free digital books and articles on Renaissance – Limited free access to books and articles from myON and myON News for students in the UK and Ireland
Twinkl resources – This is a fabulous resource used throughout schools. Twinkl have been so kind as to allow parents to use their resource for free during this time. Please use this link to visit the website and the offer code UKTWINKLHELPS or CVDTWINKLHELPS.
You will need to create a login for yourself before you can use the following links from this page.
They have also produced this blog to help support schools and parents.
Below you will find a link for each year group which is a quick access for some resources for you to use.
- Twinkl Year 1 pack
- Year 2 pack
- Twinkl Year 3 pack
- Year 4 pack
- Twinkl Year 5 pack
- Year 6 pack
- EYFS interactive learning links
- TTS Online Resources – over 40 home learning activities
- Brilliant Publications – Free Resources for KeyStage 1 to key stage 4
- Ks2 Maths from Third Space Learning, a downloadable Keystage 2 resources pack with 20 challenges for each year group from Year 3 – 6
- Plazoom’s Free Resources – Downloadable home learning packs for different year groups including spelling sheets, comprehension and maths.
- Purple Mash – free access. Bring the whole curriculum alive.
- Primary Leap Resources
- Seneca – easy to use, FREE learning for different KS2, 11 Plus, KS3, GCSE and A-levels
- Learning activities & games for Primary & Secondary school children from the National Centre For Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.
- Free resources from Collins including worksheets, free ebooks and more.
- Classroom Secrets – Free home learning downloadables
- Teachers Pet – Free home learning packs
- Rennaissance Readon
- Oxford Owl
- Big Cat E-Books & Worksheets
- Authorfy – Free author videos & writing resources
- Book Trust
- Audible – Free audiobooks
- World of David Walliams
- Love Reading
Interactive games available for all years
- Learning for 8 years + with BrainPop – with great activities like ‘Make a Movie’, ‘Creative Coding’ as options and ‘Imagining Cool Science Careers’
- Topmarks Maths Games
- Primary Games Area
- CoolMaths4Kids – lots of free maths games
- CoolMathGames – lots of puzzles and other games. A personal favourite being Fireboy & Watergirl. Not only is it great for problem-solving, but it’s 2 player, helping with some other skills like teamwork and a lot of patience.
- Trivia Questions for Kids – 100 Trivia questions for kids.
- Hogwarts Digital Escape Room – You can complete this escape room as a group or as an individual. You can compete against friends and try it multiple times. Just make sure you have fun!
- Rock Star Time Tables – a (now) free place to practice your times tables. Each week concentrates on a different times table, with a recommended consolidation week for rehearsing the tables that have recently been practised every third week or so.
Software and apps with a free trial
- ABC Mouse games
- Activity Village Games
- Adapted Mind Math Worksheets
- BBC Bitesize Primary
- Education Games
- Fun Ideas Learning at Home by OxfordOwl
- Learning Games for Kids
- Science Kids Games
How to Home School
Get them moving
Also, don’t forget to get them moving. Why not start the day with Joe Wick’s Daily PE classes.
This is also a great free subscription delivering great movement videos to your inbox.
The biggest hit amongst parents at the moment is Joe Wick’s Daily PE Classes on Youtube at 9am every weekday morning. His first-class had 2,194,233 views less than 9 hours later!
Online Resources for Learning at Home
Don’t forget children can still receive online tutoring or even collaborate in tasks with their friends. Bramble is a great FREE online platform to use for tutors and online collaboration.
Free Online learning resources for more mature students are:
- Free Udemy Courses
- Edx – Free Online Courses by Harvard, MIT & other leading institutions!
- Future Learn
- Code Academy – Learn to code for FREE!
- MIT – Free MIT Courses
- Harvard – Free Harvard Courses
- University of London
- UC Berkeley – Free courses from Berkeley
- Open Culture – Free Online Courses
Setting a daily routine
This is probably the most important starting place. This doesn’t have to be an authoritarian decision and can be made into an interactive activity with your children. The more you involve them in this process, the more they will be committed to this new structure as they will be involved in the process.
It is so important to make this as interactive of a process as possible. One of our guest bloggers actually came up with some great ideas for this with a FREE downloadable daily schedule where the kids can be involved.
Setting up a productive homeschooling environment
No better place to look for this than the Montessori method. I really enjoyed a recent article by the inspiring Gavin McCormack on this exact thing.
He set out 12 Steps to Maximise Learning From Home During COVID-19 School Closures as highlighted below:
- Ask your child’s school for a curriculum overview so you have an idea as to what needs to be covered.
- Make a designated workspace for the children at home. If possible, set up a table with resources available where they can work independently and preferably separate from your work area.
- Set boundaries and expectations. These are important. Keep to a schedule as close to that used at school as possible. Setting intentions for the day, reflecting on the day in the end and prepare for the next day.
- Make sure you have an abundance of materials available to your child. Not only will this help your child work independently, but you won’t be interrupted in your work as often. I will list some resources below.
- Discuss the non-negotiables. Things like no TV/tablets or project work before a certain amount of Maths and English has been done.
- Make a timetable and display it and a clock where visible to your child. This helps them not only be independent but also gives structure to their day.
- Discuss options of what to do when they are not sure about what to do next. This is very important to help you minimise interruptions to your workday. Include things like reading a book, watching a documentary, listening to a podcast etc.
Remember it’s not school, it’s still home
- Allow your children to have breaks. They cannot be expected to work nonstop. Scheduling a few 10-minute breaks through the morning is essential.
- Use technology to your advantage. Below you will find lots of great sites and resources for online learning. Using games and blogs in learning is ideal. Not all screen time is equal and often helps children learn new skills.
- Encourage collaboration. Children learn effectively from each other. Siblings can help each other. Get them involved in group learning or if no siblings, platforms like Zoom and Skype can help them collaborate with their peers.
- Read your child’s work and give positive feedback and encouragement.
- Finish the day by preparing for tomorrow. Get resources ready for the next day and possibly include a written reflection of the day.
Also, make sure to visit our earlier blogs on
Lots of board games, library books (and Kindle), tinkering/upcycling with household junk, etc.
Some resources to help with kids at home:
Online Resources for Learning at Home
With all this information, why not use this time of isolation to improve your knowledge or skills in an area of interest to you while your children are busy with the work available to them.
However, if all else fails, why not get Alexa in on the fun. Some great family games to do with Alexa, why not ask her:
- “Alexa, open Kids Trivia” Kids Trivia. …
- Say “Alexa, play Kids Quiz” …
- “Alexa, open Trivial Pursuit Family Edition” …
- Say “Alexa, open mighty trivia” …
- “Alexa, play would you rather” …
- Say “Alexa, Ask SillyThings to tell me to do something silly” …
- “Alexa, Launch Name That Tune” …
- Say“Alexa, open Animal Workout”
Good luck everyone. At least we are all in this together.
How to Home School