A helping hand for educating your children at home during isolation
PUBLISHED: 08:50 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:53 02 April 2020
Phil Betts, who with his wife Mandy home educates his children Alexander, 8, and Christopher, 5, gives some advice and suggestions of supporting your children during these unprecedented times
After last month’s announcement that the school gates across the county would close for a majority of children until further notice, it is likely this has brought extra burden and worry for parents.
Before reading on, as a home educating family, to clarify, I’m no expert, like you, we do what is best by our children and am certainly not advising what to do, just trying to help. If this piece assists just a few families then that’s great as we really do appreciate what it entails having your offspring at home and encouraging them to learn.
To emphasise, home educators are also heavily constrained by the government announcements. Despite some people’s misconceptions around social interaction, we will be extremely limited due to the amount of events that are usually on the calendar. Spending so much time at home does not reflect 21st century home schooling.
I’m not advising you to use the below instead of what the schooling system puts in place It is simply to complement it and offer additional activities, as you may find with one to one support children can get more done, quicker.
As well as these free online education resources, the local Norfolk Home Educating community have set up specific Facebook groups to help all parents, including Exploring Education in Norfolk (facebook.com/groups/exploringeducationnorfolk/) and Keeping Children And Families Happy Norfolk (facebook.com/groups/2813710242078345/) for ideas, inspiration and support. Learn At Home (facebook.com/groups/333562433823055/) is a national group run by a teacher who is Home Educating, if you are in need of a group to share worries and concerns to do with children’s learning. This sits alongside their Resources Learn at Home (facebook.com/groups/2773291006229989/) group to share inspiration, resources and ideas.
Other helpful resources include:
Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it’s mostly common material.
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there’s so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision. No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.
Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).
For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.
Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it. Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.
Learn computer programming skills - fun and free.
Creative computer programming
All sorts of engaging educational videos
National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Learn languages for free. Web or app.
Free science lessons
The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos
YouTube videos on many subjects
Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience
Science awards you can complete from home.
You may also want to watch:
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.
Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.
All kinds of making.
Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.
Listening activities for the younger ones.
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!
Resources for English language learning
Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age
Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.
Blue Peter Badges
If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.
The Artful Parent
Good, free art activities
Red Ted Art
Easy arts and crafts for little ones
The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.
Educational online games
DK Find Out
Activities and quizzes
This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.
You may want to write up a daily agenda or timetable for your children to follow (as based on experience can fall into trap of demanding too much TV time) and what also works for us which I would say is even more important during these times are house rules. Everyone has a say of what is most important to them and then as a family you sign up to it. This can be anything from treating the pets with respect through to having a fun Daddy night.
Finally, don’t forget the exercise bit where possible and remember children learn a number of skills through simply playing and everyday life skills (i.e. creating things out of Lego, clay or baking cakes etc).
Take care everyone, times are scary but to quote Bohemian/Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror/ Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
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