As you are reading this, we will be a few days into the Easter holidays; a break from school which will look a lot different to previous years.
For parents who haven’t home schooled their children before, the last few weeks will have been a big adjustment period. Over Easter, some parents may want to stop doing any structured activities and have a complete break over the two weeks and some will keep them going because the routine suits them best.
Once the Easter holidays are over, the expectation may creep back in that parents can work from home, keep a tidy house, make dinner, master a new hobby AND teach their child or children for six hours a day. The weight of that expectation on parents and carers can be crushing and have a devastating effect on their mental health. So, we have put together an alternative list of home schooling resources for parents and carers who need to be kind to themselves. There is some Science, Maths and English but there is also art, audio books, a good dose of YouTube and a sprinkling of Harry Potter magic.
- How to draw tutorials
Lots of artists are offering free ‘how to draw’ YouTube tutorials – we like this one from Ed Vere which starts with learning how to draw a lion. Ed is uploading videos every Wednesday and Friday morning and you can find his YouTube channel here.
- Set up an art table
If you have space, set up a little art table and let your children come to it when they feel like being creative. Save up your cereal boxes and toilet roll holders, leave them on the table alongside some paint, pens, glue and crafty bits and see what they come up with.
Books and audio
- Book Trust
The Book Trust Home Time gives ideas to have fun as a family. There is access to free online books and videos, games, quizzes and you can even learn how to draw your favourite character.
- National Emergency Library
Features a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching and research activities whilst schools, colleges and libraries are closed. There are over 15,000 titles available for children, have a look at them here.
- Nosy Crow
Lots of free books, activities and resources, including a Nosy Crow book at bedtime and Nosy Crow Storytime. There are also lots of videos.
- Storytime with David Walliams
Listen to free audio stories every day at 11am on David’s website www.worldofdavidwalliams.com – find them under the Elevenses tab.
- I See Maths
Provides resources, ideas and suggestions for how you can support your child at home with their maths.
- Maths Whizz
Online maths resources for 5-13 year olds which a lot of school already use in their ICT classes. This means your child will be familiar with the programme and may find it easier to adapt to using it at home. Parents can also build a personalised learning plan for children.
- Maths with Carol Vorderman
Carol Vorderman’s The Maths Factor has been made free for everyone whilst children are at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Featuring daily sessions, games and a tower of achievements, these resources are for children aged 4-12.
- White Rose Maths
Daily maths lessons for Years 1 to 8. Lots of schools teach White Rose Maths in schools which may make it easier for children who are already familiar with the content. Five new lessons are posted every week.
- Classics for Kids
Children can listen to the music that made different composers famous, compose their own music, learn new terms in the musical dictionary and find out which careers someone with a musical talent can embark on.
- Making Music Fun
Featuring online piano lessons and printable resources, including free sheet music, music practice charts and music manuscript paper.
- Myleene’s Music Klass on YouTube
The popstar teaches children the difference between major and minor, what dynamics are and how to colour music.
Science and nature
- Daily STEM
Created by a teacher, this packed website . There are downloadable resources, such as 77 Simple STEM Activities for Families which can be ticked off as you complete them. Examples include making a graph of colours contained in a bag of Skittles, planting seeds in a clear water bottle to watch the roots grow and building the longest paper chain you can with one piece of paper and tape.
- Indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts
We have seen some really simple ideas for this, where you list 10 or so things your child has to find and ticks them off as they go. The indoor list can contain something red, something shaped like a rectangle or a book beginning with S. The outdoors list can be. You can make your own lists and print them off or find one online.
- Science with Maddie Moate on YouTube
Weekdays at 11am, Maddie and Greg talk all things science and nature and have so far had Garden Week and Brilliant Bodies Week. How to make your own blood, a fruit salad solar system and a bee café will keep your children engaged and entertained.
- Ocean Wise Conservation Association
Bringing the ocean to you, Online Oceans features ocean-inspired crafts, activities and DIY videos as well as teaching children why it is so important to look after the ocean and the animals in it.
Sport and staying active
- Dance with Oti Mabuse on Facebook
Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti is providing free dance lessons for children and adults with the help of her husband Marius. The videos are being live streamed to her Facebook and Instagram channels at 11.30am but if you miss them, they are saved on her YouTube channel so can be viewed at any time.
- Joe Wicks PE lessons
The Body Coach is holding live PE lessons from the comfort of your living room, Monday to Friday at 9am. A great way to get moving if you can’t get outside or the weather isn’t good enough to talk your daily walk.
With a firm belief that connecting and creativity is more important now than ever, Certitude are holding Connect and Do workshops and activities online. They have weekly virtual programmes which include art projects, laughter yoga, learning Makaton signs for ABBA songs and wellbeing sessions.
To share your creations or see other peoples, follow the hashtag #ConnectAndDo or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education is sharing free resources for children from Key Stages 1-4. Includes learning about Easter, Judaism, Hinduism and Religion and Science.
Twinkle has home school resources for primary age children, designed by teachers. They also have and feature School Closures Packs so that parents and carers can try and continue their child’s education and development if they have SEND. Included in the packs are writing frames, games, memory activities, worksheets plus arts and crafts. Twinkle also produces resources which have been adapted for children who have dysgraphia, dyscalculia and ADHD.
Find Twinkle here https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/specialeducationalneeds-sen
When you need downtime:
- Virtual school visits to fire stations
If you have smaller children who can’t get enough of Fireman Sam, these virtual school visits will keep them entertained and they learn about what they are interested in. This one from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is a great one for primary school children.
- Make the most of Alexa
Not just good for the daily weather report, Alexa can also keep children entertained. If they love dinosaurs, your child can ask Alexa to open Daily Dinosaur. A dinosaur will be randomly selected from over 1000 species and Alexa will tell you all about it. Or, if they want some adventure, they can ask Alexa to ‘open the Magic Door’ where they can explore a magical land to collect hidden gems, help creatures and solve some riddles. The children choose which path to take and where they want the adventure to go.
- Harry Potter at Home
Hoping that she can spread a little of her magic at such a worrying time, author JK Rowling has launched the Harry Potter at Home hub where you can find magical craft videos, fun articles, puzzles and a curated reading space.
- Horrible Histories
For older children, you can’t go wrong with Horrible Histories. Children can learn about Terrible Tudors and Awful Egyptians and catch up on all the previous episodes on the YouTube channel.
- Turn on the TV?!
Virgin Media have put together a list of some of the best educational TV shows to help parents easily find useful educational resources for all ages, including structured lessons and practical advice https://www.virginmedia.com/virgin-tv-edit/tv/educational-tv-shows-for-kids
- 30 day Lego challenge
Each day sets a new challenge to get creative with Lego, including ‘NASA needs you to build a new rocket,’ or ‘You and four friends are stranded on an island. Build a boat to find your way home.’
Don’t forget life skills
Our monthly columnist Carly Jones MBE recently posted on Twitter that she will be using the time to encourage her daughter to learn some essential life skills. As somebody who already home schools her children, Carly makes a really important point that there are lots of things which aren’t taught that are actually really helpful for being an independent adult. Her checklist includes how to address an envelope, what a CV is and how to write one but you can make your own! We’d love to see them, so please feel free to share on social media using the hash tag #MFON and it may give other parents some ideas.
If you enjoy these home schooling resources and they are helpful during this time of enforced isolation, please do share and if you have discovered any yourself that you would recommend, let us know and we will add them.
For more coronavirus resources, visit our dedicated page.