Home learning is something a lot of families have become familiar with over the last 12 months. As much as it is a great opportunity to be with your child and to tailor learning to them as individuals, it can be daunting. I found in lockdown that my son learns best visually and that apps and web learning appealed to him. I’m not saying he was on a computer all the time, but we often started learning on the laptop/tablet and then would do something practical alongside it.
I thought I’d share some websites and app that were useful to us:
BBC Bitesize – Karate Cats
There are two Karate Cats games. One for English (ks1+) and one for maths (Reception +). Both games are based around the theme of karate with coloured belts, a dojo, cats in different outfits. The games are at varying levels of skill so you can select which you think are best for your child and you have option to move on when ready.
It is a question and answer style game, with the ability to ‘unlock’ new characters in the maths game, and earn tokens to do up your dojo in the English game. I found these games helpful as it gave me ideas of what sort of things I should be teaching at home. I could then bring that into board games, cooking, LEGO play etc.
Teach Your Monster to Read
This is a literacy based app that you can download on your phone and tablets, which instantly appealed to my son as it was more of a ‘game’ feel to it. It’s an adventure game where you move through levels completing games and meeting new people characters.
It’s aimed for those just starting to read starting at Phonics and building to basic sentences so would be helpful for both reception and Year One level readers (click here to find out exactly what is covered).. It’s very much a reward earning game so incentivises children into wanted to keep going.
BBC Bitesize website
In the first lockdown we watched the bbc bitesize videos and used the website to plan learning topics. I found it was more for key stages than eyfs but a lot of the activities you could easily adapt for younger children. This time my son is in year one so I’m planning on using it again.
The website has games, videos and activity ideas and can be used as a daily lesson plan to follow or pick and choose which topics you want. It covers all areas of the National Curriculum. There is a ‘home learning’ section as well as a revision area for those at exam age.
Oxford Reading Tree
Most people will know Oxford Reading Tree from the well known ‘Biff, Chip and Kipper’ book series. What people don’t realise is that their website is full of FREE e-books that can be downloaded from home. This means that I can pick up from the level book my son was reading at school and continue on.
The website also offers advice and activities ideas for English and Maths that can easily be completed at home. There’s also a ‘kids activities’ area with everything from printable colouring sheets to videos of people reading stories.
Twinkl is a learning resource website full of printables for a range of ages and also includes options for those with dyslexia. The website has a home learning section with packs you can download to help set you up.
This website is free to sign up for and many resources are free to download, however the large majority of the website is for paying members and offers different levels of memberships. The advantage is you can choose which is going to be most use to you.
One of the things I like about Twinkl is their staff team. They’re incredibly helpful and go to huge lengths to find and create resources that work for you. Years ago I was lucky enough to work with Twinkl as a blogger and received free memberships so I saw a lot of what was on offer. I no longer work with Twinkl and went on to be a paying member as I found the website incredibly helpful.
Phonics Play is one of my absolute favourite websites. It is FULL of games to play on the laptop that encourage literacy and reading skills. There are games based on a whole range of skills needed for reading. You can check your child’s level of ability with fun flash word games (child can even personalised it to what colour, vehicle and setting you ‘drive through’ as they read the words or sound) which is helpful as it meant I knew where to focus attention in our non-screen activities we did.
Other games include things like matching pairs, helping two aliens decide whether to eat or not eat words (this is good for practising for the phonics screening) and helping the pirate find his treasure. Children are reward to funny sounds and actions of the characters…it had my son howling with laughter.
This website very generously opened its self up for 9 months, allowing everyone to access for free. Now it is back to being membership based but is only £6 for the YEAR for parents. It’s a price I’m happy to pay as it covers from phase 1-5.
A new website to us this time round is Stem Learning. This isn’t a website that you’d use with your child but it’s useful for parents to access to find ideas for science and technology based activities to do at home. Topics range from ice to space, ‘fakebots’ to boat design. The website is based on age so you can choose which suits your child best. The downloads are free and I’ve already saved several activities I think we will enjoy exploring (in fact, you could teach your child how to download and print them themselves…extra bit of ICT learning).
National History Museum
The NHM in London has a VR game available on their website called My Dino Mission. It looks exciting and great to learn about dinosaurs as you examine footprints and learn how to take care of your dinosaur. There’s also a host of activities and facts to read and learn about on the website.
There’s also a page which has a list of links you can click to get virtual tours, listen to David Attenborough and YouTube videos.
I shared my homeschool journey on Instagram and will do so again so you are welcome to come and see what I get up to. I’m also about on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. If you have any websites or apps that you’d like to add to my list please feel free to share links in the comments below. If you have any questions you are very welcome to get in touch,