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Explore the world from your kitchen table

By Sam Connor, 33, teacher and dad to Lucah, 7, Raphael, 6 and Rocco, 3.

Our schools are doing a fantastic job in supporting young people through their education remotely. Many students and parents I’ve been chatting to are keen to find additional materials to explore.

There’s a whole host of new, fun resources popping up to support children of all ages with their home e-learning - and to help us parents have a breather! Here is a mix of both my children’s and student’s favourites, including some from great local organisations like New Writing North and Centre for Life.

On top of all of these, it’s always good to remember the benefits of reading, whether it’s a book or a magazine, every read increases students literacy skills and helps develop a love of reading.

Primary aged children

  • Julia Donaldson and Friends!
    Beloved author of The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson is continuing her weekly broadcast in partnership with Macmillan and Scholastic to entertain families with stories, songs and poems.

  • Stay Safe, Stay Silly Challenges
    Fully Booked Theatre have created a series of fun challenges for children to complete at home from making a recycle-saurus to creating a costume out of paper and a kitchen ballet.

  • Life Online
    Newcastle’s Centre for Life has the Science at Life Home Hub with access to a host of free fun and educational activities kids can try at home, virtual visits, meet the scientist and much more.

  • DIY projects
    org is a great example of the many websites, platforms and apps kids can use to get creative indoors. It has a huge library of hands-on projects, how-to videos, across a variety of fun courses, from LEGO builds to art projects.

Secondary aged children

  • CBBC’s Celebrity Supply Teacher
    From Gary Lineker teaching Spanish, Tim Peake discussing space rockets, Kelis sharing her cookery tips and Marcus Rashford teaching PE, children can learn from some of the biggest names in the UK in these 10-minute lessons.

  • New Writing North
    Grab a notebook or laptop and try out New Writing North’s free at home workshops for children aged 12+ covering everything from fiction and poetry to songwriting and theatre. Checkout #writingfromhome on social media for weekly writing prompts.

  • TEDEd
    Leading experts from across the globe share their insights, experiences and knowledge on a variety of topics in a series of engaging videos. Students can find a topic they love and delve into learning much more.

  • Oak National Academy
    This is a collection of fantastic video lessons from a wide range of subjects by great teachers, all linked to the National Curriculum.

Family Fun

  • Earn a Blue Peter badge
    Did you know there are now eight different Blue Peter badges to aim for? As well as gold and silver badges, children can enjoy working towards getting their very own Blue Peter sports badge, music badge and fan club badge for those who know all there is about the show.

  • Virtual field trip
    Explore some of the world’s top museums and art galleries from the comfort of your own home thanks to a variety of free interactive virtual tours:
  • Visit the zoo
    There’s lots to see and discover behind the zoo gates! Enjoy tuning in regularly to see your favourite animals, zookeeper insights and behind-the-scenes updates:

And here are my top teacher tips for continuing to manage homeschool.

  1. Talk to your school if you’re struggling with devices or broadband

    Please don’t let access be a barrier, there’s always help available - whether that’s supplying laptops or dropping off hard copies of books or work. Get in touch with your school - we’re here for you.

  2. Any kind of structure helps with the havoc!

    Lockdown has played havoc with all our routines but we have found this time round that creating structure has really helped our family manage the chaos. But give yourself a break if that’s just not realistic, we’re all doing our best!

  3. Kudos to you - congratulate yourself on what you achieve each day

    We’re not expecting miracles from parents. Teachers are professionally trained and still, we’re figuring out how best to adapt to new ways of teaching. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing a great job.

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