Seven simple ideas for home-schooling

As we trudge our way through this third national lockdown period where schools are closed to the majority of children, home schooling tasks have yet again fallen on mums who are – understandably – feeling the pressure.

Campaigners such as the incredible Joeli Brearly from Pregnant then Screwed and Anna Whitehouse from MotherPukka are doing a magnificent job of fighting for us and raising awareness of the issues we are facing, with Brearly stating that she is seeing a “cry for help on a massive scale” amongst mums who are juggling home-schooling with working from home.

A recent Guardian article also shone a spotlight on the pressures that mums are facing, so if you are feeling emotionally spent, anxious and exhausted due to the extra responsibility, you are not alone.
Rebecca McGoff, founder of Buump Active said: “Mums nationwide are undoubtedly feeling the strain as we battle through this wintry lockdown period, juggling school tasks, our own work and all the other pressures of home life. It’s important to remember that we are not teachers, we are certainly not miracle workers, and we can only do our best. 
“Be kind to yourself, make a small to-do list of crucial tasks and just focus on the important stuff. We are all in very different boats, so don’t compare yourself to others and make sure you find some time for self care.  You are not working from home, or home-schooling the kids – you are surviving a crisis – and you’re doing a great job.”
With this in mind, here’s a list of seven resources and simple ideas that can help to keep the kids occupied throughout lockdown, with minimal fuss…

BBC Bitesize

Bitesize is a truly awesome free resource for school-aged children in the UK. It can be accessed online or via iPlayer and Sky Q, and as an extra bonus, there are three hours of curriculum-based primary school programming on CBBC, and two hours for secondary pupils on BBC Two every day that have been introduced for this chapter of the pandemic.

There are also loads of lessons and games to be found on the website, too.

If you’re looking to get some work done in the morning, set the kids up with a picky plate breakfast of fruit, toast and yogurt and let the good old BBC do the rest!

Oak Academy Online

The Oak Academy is another incredible online resource with thousands of lessons available for a variety of ages. The platform covers most subjects necessary for school children from reception upwards.  

The online lessons are taught by real teachers with loads of experience so you can be safe in the knowledge that your kids will be learning as they watch.

Junk modelling

Start keeping cereal boxes, washing up liquid bottles and Amazon packaging in a cupboard or box, buy a few PrittSticks and find the safe scissors and let the kids loose to do some junk modelling. Set them a task to make a robot or a rocket, and let their creativity run riot for half an hour.  Junk modelling fuels imagination, helps with motor skills and teaches the kids about materials too. Winner!

DuoLingo

DuoLingo is a truly incredible resource for any older child who needs support with their languages – and what’s more, it’s free! You can visit the website or download the app and get cracking.   The app smartly gamifies language learning, and although it’s unlikely you’ll become fluent in a new language with the platform alone, it can help as an added resource for high school kids to use alongside their textbooks and set school tasks. 

Wipe-clean exercise books

For smaller children practicing their handwriting, spelling or adding up, wipe-clean exercise books are a great, good value for money resource that can be used over and over again.  We love the Collins Easy Learning set, which is available via Amazon Prime or Argos online if you’re stuck for time.

Make some Oobleck!

The name Oobleck comes from a Dr Suess book, but the substance itself is super easy to make – and scientific too! Simply mix cornstarch and water – and food colouring if you have some handy – in a large mixing bowl and experience its amazing properties for yourself. Oobleck is an example of a “non-Newtonian liquid” which switches from a solid to a liquid depending on the pressure you apply. You can read more about it on the incredible Eureka website here...

A word of warning though, it can get messy – but it will keep the kids entertained for hours!

Make a reading den 

Challenge the kids to make a cosy reading den – fairy lights optional!  Kitchen chairs and bed sheets will do the job if you’re struggling for space or ideas.  Pile the den full of cushions, pillows and blankets and inspire a bit of quiet, torch-light reading… 

Reading for pleasure is something to be hugely encouraged – and it may give you some peace and quiet, too.

Baking 

Baking does require your help, of course, but setting aside an hour to do some “home ec’ can be an uplifting thing for the family to do together after a hard day – and you get the added bonus of cakes at the end of it, which you can enjoy with a cuppa as a treat for a job well done.

If you’re not hugely culinary, cupcake kits from the supermarket will do the trick nicely, but if you are a bit more “bake off”,  look online for some recipes and get your oven gloves out!

 

What are your tips, tricks, ideas and resources for easy home schooling?

 

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