Ease the pain of homeschooling with these websites, apps and channels.

Wow. Perhaps we should have seen it coming. But so many of us did not. Maybe we were just in denial. In any case, it’s time to knuckle down and face up to at least half a term more of homeschooling. Whether you fall into the ‘we did it before, we can do it again’ camp or into the ‘I cannot take a second more of being a teacher’ one, there are plenty of resources out there that will lighten your load.

For a start, the BBC has promised to expand its educational programming for children each weekday on CBBC. The Guardian explains: ‘Amid concerns that large numbers of children without access to remote learning are losing out, the BBC said that the biggest education offer in its history was designed to ensure that all children can access curriculum-based learning without the internet.’

Then there is a plethora of talented individuals helping to expand our children’s minds with their creative presence via podcasts, YouTube and Instagram.

Finally, there are actual, too-good-to-be-true websites designed to enhance students’ learning in and out of the classroom.

Here is our pick of the best.

The BBC




The BBC is committed to helping you help your kids study during lockdown. With its truly brilliant offerings for pupils on iPlayer, BBC TWO and the Bitesize section of the website, old Auntie may prove to be the superhero of Lockdown Three. The CBBC channel, for instance, will have a three-hour block of primary-school programmes from 9am each day, which will include BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily as well as Our School, Celebrity Supply Teacher, Horrible Histories and Operation Ouch.

Ducksters




Trust us: this American website is a little pot of gold. As long as you can work out which ‘grade’ your child’s year corresponds to, you will be flying. Its simple explanations for every conceivable topic are a godsend when you (or your pupil) need help. The unsophisticated layout belies a truckload of really valuable content.

Homeschool History Podcast




Brought to us by The BBC and Horrible Histories consultant Greg Jenner, this podcast is properly entertaining for all the family. Full of lessons, facts and jokes, each episode is devoted to a carefully chosen history topic. Be sure to listen to them all – but, for what it’s worth, our highlights are the ones about Mary Queen of Scots and Florence Nightingale.

Just Dance 2021





This YouTube channel is a superb way of getting kids moving in lockdown. They’ll love you if a Just Dance session is worked into the timetable. Let them choose their favourite song (all of the chart hits that you hear them constantly humming are on there) and follow the dance moves of the CGI characters on the screen.

Audio Elevenses With The World Of David Walliams




It can feel like you’ve done a whole day’s work by 11am in the kitchen-cum- schoolroom. So, give them a 15-minute break, find a snack they’ll like and log into Audio Elevenses on David Walliams’s website. They will be enraptured as the comedian reads a couple of chapters a day from his bestselling children’s books. You can spend the time locked in the bathroom, taking deep breaths. In through the nose; out through the mouth.

Everything Under The Sun Podcast




The host of this kids’ podcast, Molly Oldfield, sounds like the mother we all wish we could be. She is warm, calm and brilliant at accessible explanations of all the conundrums that her listeners throw her way. Children from all over the world send Molly their questions and then she answers them in each episode, sometimes with the help of a guest expert. Why do we make art? Why do leaves fall in autumn? Why are chillies spicy and hot? Where do babies come from? These are some of the hundreds of thorny issues under discussion.

Cosmic Kids Yoga





A brilliant way to give them (and you) time out from the schoolroom grind is Cosmic Kids Yoga. Upbeat, easy to follow and packed with benefits for their mind, body and soul, these half-hour lessons will become a trusty tool in your armory.

Art For Kids Hub





Another gift from the US, this YouTube channel sees a smiley couple and their brood of four hosting excellent drawing lessons as your child follows along. The lessons last from five to ten minutes, but they will keep your children occupied for a lot longer as they pause every now and then to perfect the instructions.

By Becky Ladenburg
January 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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