Trying to figure out how you are going to teach your children at home? Keeping them happy, healthy and learning, whilst possibly working from home too, may seem daunting, but - we've got this!
In these strange and uncertain times we are on hand to help with ideas for keeping our little people learning, healthy and entertained too. With homeschooling looking like the reality for many for the foreseeable future we need to keep their bodies and minds active, whilst being mindful that us adults need to adjust to new routines and job descriptions (and there's no drinking on the job allowed!)
Crafts are a great solution as they're entertaining, reduce stress, help to develop lots of skills and are accessible for all, so we have compiled some ideas below. The good news is that there really are some fantastic crafty options, many free, alongside other educational resources that make it managable for the new 'teachers' in the house to deliver a broad spectrum of subjects!
Kudos to professional teachers: this isn't going to be a walk in the park (far from it!) and despite schools being shut many are still working tirelessly to provide online classes for students too. So together WE CAN DO THIS!
Time to get crafty...
We'll kick things off with all things creative as, well, we're pretty well versed in this world 😊! And before you panic thinking of all the glitter in the floorboards and gluey tabletops rest assured that there are TONS of great craft options for all ages and preferences. So if handprints on the walls are not your thing (and if they are!) read on...
Our offering of remote and online learning options is growing daily with lots of expert arts and crafts tutors converting their traditional workshops into virtually accessible and exciting classes - you can view them here >
Plus, there are lots of great resources to assist you with your child's creative education - from videos and online interactive worktools through to projects delivered to your door. Here's some of our favourites:
Offline - craft and education delivered...
- Toucan box - subscription based creative boxes for curious kids
- MEL Science - science experiments delivered to your door
- Mud & Bloom - gardening and nature education boxes for 3-8 year olds
- KiwiCo - fun and enriching art & science delivered with a range of age options (30% off when you sign up to their newsletter)
- Aquila - a magazine for brilliant minds (age 8 - 12 years)
- Wildlife Explorers - children's membership to the RSPB includes age appropriate magazines and activities
- Osmo - coding for age 5-10 (iPad needed)
- Red Ted Art - free craft ideas and printables for all ages
- Art for Kids Hub - family YouTube videos
- The Imagination Tree - craft and play ideas
- Krokotak - free craft projects - videos and printables
- Moosiko - online guitar lessons
- National Gallery of Art - kids art zone
- The National Gallery - teachers notes for different age groups
- Tinkercad - unique range of creating and making opportunities
- Blockly - coding for children, will help their ICT skills too
- Millie Marotta - free beautiful colouring downloads
Establishing a routine will be key to keeping you all on track - putting together a schedule or timetable for each week will help you to get the right balance of core subjects, special interests, exercise and downtime (important for the grown ups - you need to know when you've done enough to crack open the wine and flick on the Netflix too!)
We will be posting articles on projects that you can do with your children here (like this one about building a Hedgehog Hotel for your garden) plus, there are some great options to keep your family active and enjoying the outdoors (as much as we can):
- The Body Coach - Joe Wicks will be the nation's PE teacher, Mon - Fri at 9am, plus there are lots of kids workouts on his YouTube channel too
- Cosmic kids yoga - yoga for age 3+
- Yoga with Adriene - free yoga videos suitable for older children (and adults)
- Kidz Bop - dance along for children
- Jenny Ford - fitness videos for kids
- Nature Detectives - outdoor activities, could be done in the garden or remote woodland to get fresh air
Regular breaks, cuddles, time to chat about how the day is going and reading are important too. Books are fantastic, plus there are some wonderful online tools to keep it varied and support mindfulness:
Best foot forward
This will be a confusing time for children - they will be used to socialising with their friends, respecting the instruction of their teachers and, whilst this may be novel to begin with, they will soon notice the lack of freedom and variety in their interactions.
Explain to them why this is happening (without frightening them - some handy links below) and set out how their new school will work.
- For under 7 years - Manuela Molina's COVIBOOK (available in several languages)
- For slightly older children - CBBC Newsround
- A guide for parents - from the BBC
Whilst keeping everyone entertained and active is one thing, ensuring that certain educational goals are met is another. Getting a routine down into a timetable for the day will really help to manage everyone's time and expectations (especially if you are juggling your 'day job' too)! You will easily be able to see what is achievable and whether the balance is right.
With everyone understanding 'why' and 'how' from the get-go there is a chance the students may make it past lunch without being suspended!
Let's not kid ourselves - we're not going to master the entire curriculum, possibly across several key stages overnight, so let's concentrate on the getting the basics right.
Maths, English - and ideally Science are the main ones. If there is a particular subject area that you know a lot about or have a passion for then great - work this into the timetable too.
Of course your child's school will probably be sending you resources, but here are some helpful links to more should you need it:
- Twinkl for primary schools - use access code CVDTWINKLHELPS for one free month
- Edplace for English & Maths (paid for)
- Oxford Home Schooling - for secondary age
- Seneca - free revision for GCSE & A Level exams
- Scholastic - free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities
- Khan Academy - free personalised learning
- BBC Bitesize - free learn and revise resources for all ages
- First4Maths - have some great free resources, and some paid options too
- DK findout! - interactive learning covering lots of subjects (free)
- Science Museum Group Learning Resources - science activities, games and videos (free)
- Duo Lingo - for languages (free)
- Museum tours - travel the world! 12 famous museums with virtual tours
- Teach your monster to read - the online version is free
- PhonicsPlay - free to use during this period (see the website for free access details)
- UK Parliament - important resources for older children!
Set goals and really let them know when they have done well. You could also try switching roles and ask your children to teach you what they have learned - this is really powerful (and you might learn some really interesting things too!)
Don't be hard on yourself...
I am also going to mention the T-word here:
Television, or screens.
A taboo when talking about home schooling, educating your kids and keeping them entertained but seriously, this is not a sign of parenting failure.
In the right hands our screens can be really useful tools: for communicating certain subjects, that we ourselves may not be too hot on, in an inspiring and absorbing way. Think Horrible Histories, Operation Ouch, and anything by Attenborough! This article lists some good STEAM and STEM TV shows for younger children >
Plus, (I'm going to say it!) they can be a good way to give everyone in the family a little bit of downtime and escapism.
Don't forget breaks - school age children are used to having at least two extra breaks outside of lunchtime to hydrate and refuel, as well as set time to do exercise and let off some steam.
You can find all of the current remote and online learning options on our site here (these are rapidly growing in number all the time), plus we are working on a fantastic new option for online and LIVE tuition that we will be releasing soon...
This is a changing picture for us all so we will be sharing lots of helpful advice, resources and links to help everyone through this global crisis. You can view all of the articles in our dedicated section here >