With the Easter holidays, or lack thereof, coming up in Liverpool, there is a huge void of valuable learning time ahead that your children will be missing due to the closure of schools and no grand re-opening in sight. Many parents are already homeschooling to a great effect, but are you running out of ideas, or lack ideas to begin or challenge your young students? Below is a list of 10 great FREE resources and ideas you can use to aid your newly discovered teacher role. Homeschooling has never been so easy!
1. Make weekly timetables for lessons
Making each day and each week different rather than doing the same things over and over will help your children concentrate and learn more. They are not used to this style of teaching (and you're perhaps not ready to be a teacher just yet) so it should be fun! Include activities that get them engaged and creative, some more serious learning of particular subjects occasionally and of course include some down-time, breaks and time for recreation.
Advice given from a parent who has been homeschooling for 6 years is that you should not try to make home a replica of school itself. If the school has given some resources and work to do from home, it's best not to be the curriculum enforcer, which parents may be surprised on how much their children learns.
Here is a great example from Croxteth Family Matters - this is week 2 of their homeschooling timetables, of course use this in any week, just don't use it for two consecutive weeks! Another great example below comes from SouthCoastMermaids
2. Teaching your children how to read
If your children can already read like a pro, this might be of no use to you, however the graphic might be of interest! Blending sounds, learning word families and other things such as pre-reading behaviours can all be worked on, giving children a great boost in confidence on their return to school with the aid of this infographic taken from theclassroomkey:
3. Writing exercises
Writing might seem like a chore when at home for your children, especially when not sitting at a school desk that they're used to. Making writing exercises fun and engaging is a great way to combat this environmental aspect of homeschooling, and there are plenty of resources out there to help.
Firstly, taken from the infinitely rewarding teaching/learning site - theclassroomkey.com making various exercises involving opinions and consequences can be a hugely engaging and rewarding activity to do with your children, making them understand things more and get them thinking starting with Sentence Starters! Try such questions 'how much homework should a child get each week?', 'Is it better to be smart or nice?' and see what different answers you can get from the below table.
4. Ted Ed
Go further with what you try teach your children by introducing them to Ted Ed! There is a whole range of educational videos and animations you can use to perhaps be a standalone lesson or add them as part of one of your subjects. Perhaps even have your children pick a topic at random and show them the most interesting video you can find there, such as showing them 'The worlds first author' as part of an English exercise. Ted Ed also allows you to create personalised lessons within their website by searching various subjects ideas and piecing together multiple topic interests and facts.
5. National Geographic Kids
Most of us know what National Geographic Channel is and we've all enjoyed watching a nature related progam on TV, but NGKids site doesn't only feature interesting videos and games for the Geographic side of things, your child will love the huge selection of subject areas including maths, English, science, art & design and more.
There are numerous resource packs available on this website, for example:
Tutankhamuns Treasures! 'These primary resources feature mind-blowing facts and images about the world’s most famous pharaoh' featuring information sheets and activity packs, quizzes and more! This can be found HERE.
There are also a large amount of games, mostly educational, that can make break time another source of learning and fun.
Pinterest may be just another social media kind of platform to most, and some may never have discovered what a great place to find ideas Pinterest really is! Searching for simple things such as 'home school ideas' or 'children's lessons' will bring up a catalogue of images from around the internet full of ideas for each. You can even get inspiration of how to set up your house to be more 'schooly'.
Have a printer? This website (found through pinterest) has various free printables for home schooling younger children.
7. Khan Academy
For more of a more learned home-schooler, although the website is easy to use, it features more in depth and detailed lessons and learning resources such as geometry. There are various videos, quizzes, practice tests and exams students can take:
As a parent or otherwise, there is a parents section on the website where you can add your child/student, and monitor their progress, completed tests and modules and other features.
Below is an image of the areas, although not limited to, of the website:
You can visit the Khan Academy via the following link Visit Khan
8. Creativity resources and worksheets
Getting creative at home has never been easier with the masses of resources out there, and with them you'll never be short of an idea. Below is a list of websites where you can download and view various arty style lessons and activities:
Teacherspayteachers - there are numbers free worksheets here that focus on word games, drawing, colouring and more. Available to download and print (as well as other premium material). Visit Website
CREATIVE KIDS! This Youtube channel has various playlists of easy to follow along painting tutorials and other craft-related episodes. It's a fun and friendly mother & child hosted channel which will surely be a great resource to get paint and glitter all over the place.
Wecreate - A YouTube channel full of art tutorials and videos demonstrating techniques, skills and even stuff like creating a penguin from a potato!
Bob Ross - often referred to the 'god of painting', a household name among many, and his painting tutorials have all been uploaded to YouTube! This is a little more of the hi-level side of painting and art, however they can be great for background noise and something to watch in downtime as he walks through each painting step by step with a lot of description about techniques etc.
Art for Kids Hub - A fantastic YouTube channel for the avid drawer! This channel features 100's of fun and easy to follow drawing tutorials, which children are certain to love while they draw their favourite animals and characters from cartoons!
Easy Kids Craft - Children will really enjoy their catalog of videos teaching them how to make all sorts of fun and interesting things - such as Easter String eggs just in time for Easter!
9. BBC Bitesize
Of course this had to be included here, where would we be without BBC and it's years of educational content which myself has used in the school years of old.
With a huge range of subject areas, tests, practice questions and revision, there will be no end to the amount of learning your children can learn through the website.
Throughout April BBC Bitesize will be updating it's website with brand new content, keeping the flow of lessons, activities and otherwise coming in throughout this period of school closure. Learning resources available here for ages ranges of 3-11, 11-16 and 16+.
10. Learning how to cook
You probably expected this to be on the list somewhere, learning to cook in this ever longing lockdown could be very rewarding, and something very easy to implement into your daily lesson plans!
Granted that getting to the shops for ingredients may be difficult for some, but if you manage to include some of the recipes and are able to gather the easier of ingredients, then it's definitely worth a try!
Don't know where to start and what to cook, bake and make first? Luckily, as you've guessed by reading through this blog, there's an enormous amount of resources online for free!
Eat Right - This following page will walk you through the steps of cooking with various age groups, including hygiene measures and what tasks would be appropriate for different ages.
Super Healthy Kids - Here you'll find a step by step guide which you can give to your children to help them prepare healthy and fun sandwiches, tortillas, wraps and more. It'll help them eat more healthier fillings as it is broken down into sections and there is a fun printable sheet which is available here.
Kidspot Kitchen - This website has many recipes that are fun and easy to follow along with your children. They'll learn how to make anything from cake to sandwiches, apple pie to slow cooker cookies!
Our friends at Cobalt Housing association have also compiled a list of resources for home schooling which can be seen here.
There is so many resources and activities out there, it was hard to choose the top 10. Below are some of the ideas and creations some parents have posted to various social media groups such as 'Free Home school Ideas' on Facebook which can be found here. The below can also fit into some of the categories above!
Shadow Drawing - This explains itself really, make shadows with various objects and/or people, and let your kids draw or trace them as seen in the below picture (credit: Above & Beyond)
Virtual Classroom lessons - These are actually more common right now than you might think. But a great example which is streaming every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:30pm is hosted by Reef Relief on Facebook! They can be found here.
Totschooling.net offers a range of printable resources such as Easter related printouts that include games, word-searches, egg hunts and so much more.
Starfall - A website featuring various resources for children in the nursery stage and those of aged 3-7 years. Resources including Historical Folk Songs, Reading and writing activities, drawing, a talking library and much more.
Storyline Online - Certainly wish this was around when I was a child! This website is almost a library in itself, featuring a huge quantity of books that are narrated on video. There are various genre of books and there is also activity guides you can use to make lessons and activities of your own around the videos and books! You'll be surprised to know that these books are often read by celebrities such as this example read by Elijah Wood: