Friday, 20 March 2020

Kid's at home? You're not alone!

So, this is it! School's out... for who knows how long?

I've worked in schools and I've brought up young children at home. I know that the day can seem endless and the responsibility daunting. So what can you do?

Well, first - don't panic. And don't feel you've got to suddenly start ringing bells and moving the kids from one 'lesson' to another. Home isn't school; kids are learning all the time and they'll continue to learn and learn well with just a little encouragement from you.

And you're not alone (literally: there are now 800 million children worldwide unable to attend school!). I've been making some of my own teaching resources available for free and I'm hoping that more will follow. For now, my sixth-form guide to Homer's Iliad is free to download. There'll be more to come. Watch this space.

For GCSE subjects you really can't beat BBC Bitesize. It covers everything, integrates audio-visual material and includes interactive assessments so that kids can measure their progress.

Use YouTube with care as there can be some unsuitable (and, frankly, barmy) material but if you run a search for some of the things your kids are studying you'll soon be able to build a list of safe (and accurate) channels.
And lots of online learning sites are offering free access for a limited period to help out. Twinkl has both primary and secondary resources and a handy parent portal too, so you can keep tabs on what the kids are up to.

You can even use your (or your children's) phones as a learning tool. Apps like EdPlus (which I've personally reviewed here: ) aren't free but aren't expensive either. They make learning fun and again give parents vital feedback on their child's progress.

STOP PRESS! You can now download EdPlus for free using the promo code KEEPLEARNING - another generous example of how so many people are coming together to help each other out in these difficult times.

If it's stories you're after professional 'story therapist' Mary Lockwood is uploading one new episode of her 'Listen with Mary' podcast each day during the Coronavirus crisis. Not only are they great stories wonderfully read but they conclude with an activity which the kids can try at home.

And Audible has just announced free, no sign-up access to a wide range of audio books for all ages (and in a wide range of languages). "For as long as schools are closed, we're open," they are saying. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

Finally, don't feel you've got to manage every minute. Let them run off some steam in the back garden - fresh air and exercise is just as important. Boredom is a great motivator, too, and with a little support children can become their own best teacher... just don't let them on the Xbox for too long!

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