I don’t know about you, but I have found the switch to home learning a huge adjustment. After the novelty of coming home with their learning packs has worn off, it’s a lot harder to motivate the boys. It’s also tricky with them being four years apart (they’re in P1 and P5) as their tasks and work loads are completely different. I can’t let one of them have free play time while I help the other, because they’ll immediately start complaining it’s unfair. The best solution to stop the complaining, has been to sit whoever is waiting for help in front of something vaguely educational so that they are occupied but the other doesn’t feel they are missing out on play time. There’s no shortage to choose from – everyone and their dog seem to be offering online resources right now, and to be perfectly honest I have felt a little overwhelmed by it all at times, but there are some great gems. I’ve pulled together some of our favourites here, including both resources that our school is actually using for their home schooling schedules, as well as additional resources we have explored.
Newsround – We’ve been watching Newsround every day, as that’s what my P5 usually does at school so it’s a way to keep some of his daily school routine. It’s a great way to share daily news with children in a bite size, child appropriate way.
BBC Bitesize – This is a great resource for all ages and all areas of the curriculum, and they launched new daily lessons this week. We’ve only looked at the first day so far, but I wanted to include it anyway.
Learning Resources – This is a brand we love, which produces lots of great educational toys, games and resources for literacy, maths, science and more. The products themselves are perfect for home learning, and they have a great selection of free downloadable and printable resources and activities on their website. We don’t actually have a printer, but we have been downloading some of the worksheets and just writing the answers in our jotters. The Learn About Time! workbook has been particularly useful, as my eldest is studying time at school right now. (Disclosure: We have worked with Learning Resources in the past, and have a couple more product reviews for them coming up shortly. This post had already been independently planned, but we were happy to include a link when approached.)
Two other sites that a lot of people have been recommending are Twinkl and The School Run. Both have a wide range of downloadable resources for all ages and areas of the curriculum. We haven’t used either site yet this time round, but I wanted to mention them anyway as they are so popular, and we did successfully use The School Run a couple of years ago to help us prep our eldest four his move from the German to the Scottish school system.
Oxford Owl – This site has resources for Maths, English and Reading, but we’ve been using it mainly for Reading for my P1. It has a big library of free ebooks that you can search by age or reading level, which is great as he used to get weekly new books from school and we don’t really have any books for his reading level at home.
(Screenshot of the Oxford Owl eBook Library)
Teach Your Monster to Read – An absolutely brilliant series of games that teaches young children to read. My P1 was already using this when he was still at nursery, and has continued doing so. It’s completely free to use on their website, or you can get the app for your convenience for a couple of pounds both from the App Store and Google Play.
Word Town – This is a great game based spelling app. Both boys use it as it is for different levels, and you can have more than one player profile on the app so they can save their progress and switch between their profiles. My favourite part though, is that you can create your own custom word lists for it, so I can add the spelling lists the boys are sent from school!
Pobble 365 – A great site with daily writing prompts that our P5 teacher has been using. “Superman’s Dilemma” (the prompt for March 27) was a particular favourite.
Numeracy & Maths
Topmarks – This site actually covers lots of different subjects, but our school has been using it as part of the boys’ daily maths tasks, especially for the P1s. The Toy Shop Money Game and the Coins Game are great for little ones getting to grips with coins, and Caterpillar Ordering and Coconut Ordering are great for number sequencing. And my P5 has been using Hit the Button for his times tables training.
Moose Maths – This is one of my P1’s favourite apps for some extra maths training once he’s finished his school work. It covers counting, addition, subtraction, sorting, geometry and more, across five multi-level games. Available from both from the App Store and Google Play
(Playing ‘Moose Maths’)
EasyRead Time Teacher – The clock we reviewed for EasyRead Time Teacher last year has invaluable in helping my eldest with his school work on telling the time. If you’re needing a new wall clock for your house, I would totally recommend one of these but they also have some free downloadable resources on their website to help children learn the time.
Time Fables – This is a brilliant book, which I’ve previously reviewed in my ‘Back to School Gift Guide‘. It teaches the times table through illustrates stories, with visual learners in mind. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Science & Nature
Kurz Gesagt: In a Nutshell – A brilliant YouTube channel with shot animated videos of around 8 to 12 minutes long on average, on a whole range of topics but mostly science related. There’s one that explains the Coronavirus really well. The channel is also available in German.
Crash Course Kids – Another YouTube channel featuring a series of short animated videos mostly around 3 minutes long, on various science topics. It says it’s aimed at 5th Grade, which is equivalent to P5 in Scotland, but my P1 loves watching this too as he is really in to his facts and non-fiction.
Scratch Jr – A great app for teaching kids age 5+ to code. Available free from both from the App Store and Google Play.
Minecraft – Yes, it’s a computer game, but it actually encourages creativity, problem solving, spacial awareness and geometry skills. In the Minecraft Education Collection you can also download free pre-built environments such as the International Space Station, Mount Olympus, or the city of Washington DC, which the kids can then explore and continue to build and adapt.
(Screenshot of Minecraft Education Collection)
Netflix – If all else fails, we’ll sit the kids down in front of Netflix. There are loads of great science and nature documentaries to choose from, so we’ve set up a new ‘home learning’ profile where we have bookmarked them all. There’s BBC Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Frozen Planet, Sharks, and Walking with Dinosaurs. We’ve also bookmarked Chasing Coral, Black Hole Apocalypse, The Universe, The Mars Generation, and The Last Man on the Moon.
BBC Horrible Histories – Lots of history topics and supporting online activities and quizzes, in a well love and familiar format they know from the Horrible History books.
World Geography Games – Does what it says on the tin. Lots of games and quizzes to learn about geography. We’ve been using it for the boys to try and learn all the countries in Europe.
Google Arts & Culture – Lets you explore hundreds of museums and collections from around the world. Browse by artist, by place, by collection, or by colour. You can save favourite artworks in your Profile, which is a great way to create your own little exhibition.
P.E. with Joe Wicks – Is there anyone who is not doing P.E. with Joe Wicks every morning? The school actually includes this in the daily tasks they send, and it’s a great way to start of our daily routine (actually, my husband does it with the boys as our living room is not big enough for us all to do it together – I do my own workout in the bedroom at the same time)
Cosmic Kids Yoga – My boys also really love this channel. They’ve used Cosmic Kids Yoga at school, so again it’s something that’s familiar to them and reminds them of their school routine.
What favourite home learning resources have you discovered? Feel free to share them in the comments!