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A helping hand for educating your children at home during isolation

PUBLISHED: 08:50 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:53 02 April 2020

There are plenty of valuable online tools to help you educate your children at home

There are plenty of valuable online tools to help you educate your children at home

Archant

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:

Khan Academy

https://www.khanacademy.org

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.

BBC Learning

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/coursesearch/

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.

Futurelearn

https://www.futurelearn.com

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).

Seneca

https://www.senecalearning.com

For those revising at GCSE or A level. Tons of free revision content. Paid access to higher level material.

Openlearn

https://www.open.edu/openlearn/

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.

Blockly

https://blockly.games

Learn computer programming skills - fun and free.

Scratch

https://scratch.mit.edu/explore/projects/games/

Creative computer programming

Ted Ed

https://ed.ted.com

All sorts of engaging educational videos

National Geographic Kids

https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/

Activities and quizzes for younger kids.

Duolingo

https://www.duolingo.com

Learn languages for free. Web or app.

Mystery Science

https://mysteryscience.com

Free science lessons

The Kids Should See This

https://thekidshouldseethis.com

Wide range of cool educational videos

Crash Course

https://thecrashcourse.com

YouTube videos on many subjects

Crash Course Kids

https://m.youtube.com/user/crashcoursekids

As above for a younger audience

Crest Awards

https://www.crestawards.org

Science awards you can complete from home.

You may also want to watch:

iDEA Awards

https://idea.org.uk

Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.

Paw Print Badges

www.pawprintfamily.com

Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.

Tinkercad

https://www.tinkercad.com

All kinds of making.

Prodigy Maths

www.prodigygame.com

Is in U.S. grades, but good for UK Primary age.

Cbeebies Radio

www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio

Listening activities for the younger ones.

Nature Detectives

naturedetectives.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/

A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!

British Council

https://www.britishcouncil.org/school-resources/find

Resources for English language learning

Oxford Owl for Home

www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/

Lots of free resources for Primary age

Big History Project

www.bighistoryproject.com/home

Aimed at Secondary age. Multi disciplinary activities.

Geography Games

https://world-geography-games.com/world.html

Geography gaming!

Blue Peter Badges

https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/joinin/about-blue-peter-badges

If you have a stamp and a nearby post box.

The Artful Parent

https://www.facebook.com/artfulparent/

Good, free art activities 

Red Ted Art

https://www.redtedart.com

Easy arts and crafts for little ones

The Imagination Tree

https://theimaginationtree.com

Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest.

Toy Theater

https://toytheater.com/

Educational online games

DK Find Out

https://www.dkfindout.com/uk

Activities and quizzes

Twinkl

https://www.twinkl.co.uk

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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