The SL Guide To Home Schooling

The SL Guide To Home Schooling

There’s not a mum or dad out there right now who hasn’t found a new respect for teachers. But, for the moment, it falls to parents to take on the task. With that in mind, we asked Tom Hyland, a professional teacher and owner of Acorn Tutors, how to make home schooling more manageable…

Get Ready As Normal
During this time, it’s important to get up, get dressed and have breakfast as usual – no sitting down to study in your pyjamas, you need to start off right and treat it like you would a normal school day.

Create Some Structure
Make a timetable and stick to it. A lot of children will struggle to adapt from the routine of school, so creating some semblance of continuity is crucial. It will also help parents balance their own work with home schooling.

Plan, Plan, Plan
Having a clear schedule and providing a structured set of tasks for children to complete gives parents more flexibility across the day and, secondly, ensures there’s a clear understanding about what needs to be done.  

Set Up A Study Area
Even if you don’t have a proper desk for the kids to use, set up a clear study area somewhere in the house, like the kitchen table, with stationary and easy access to the computer or a tablet. 

A lot of children will struggle to adapt from the routine of school, so creating some semblance of continuity is crucial.

Exercise Daily
Make sure you take full advantage of the government’s one-hour exercise allowance by taking the kids for a run or play in the park. And if you’re stuck at home, there are plenty of activities you can do online on YouTube. It’s a great way to start the day before settling down to do some work. 

Moderate Screen Time
During the lockdown, children will be doing more e-learning than ever before. Add to that the time they spend watching TV, playing video games or on phones, and this will add up to a lot of screen time.

Remember Variety Is Key
Try creating different opportunities for learning – use this time to engage your children in ways they might not get to when sitting in a classroom at school. 

Keep In Touch 
It's so important children continue to communicate with friends and other families. Try and arrange as many FaceTime’s and Zoom chats as possible.

Take A Break
Remember to factor in time for play and relaxation. Breaks and lunchtimes are really important and you’re bound to see renewed focus afterwards. Just avoid giving them too many sugary snacks in their free time.

Use The Internet
If they’re not already, this is a great opportunity for your child to become more computer literate and for you to find some fantastic resources to use at home. 

Inspired? Here are some of the best websites and apps for home-learning…


Oxford Owl
Suitable for all ages, but particularly useful for younger children, take advantage of the free e-library. With hundreds of books to read to your child, try making young ones start reading to themselves, too. 

Duolingo ABC
The popular language-learning app Duolingo is now teaching children aged three-to-six to read, with over 300 fun, bite-sized lessons on the alphabet, sight words and phonics. 


Top Marks 
Suitable for children of all ages, this site offers fantastic maths games for ages three and up. 



Phonics Play
Used by teachers across the country, resources are being offered free during lockdown. There’s a comprehensive selection of interactive phonics games, teaching and assessment games, too.

Kaligo Handwriting
With the closing of UK schools, handwriting app Kaligo is now offering a practice-version of its software free of charge to support children learning at home.

Literacy Shed
Designed for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, this site uses a variety of visual resources to encourage children’s love of English. 


White Rose Maths 
This excellent site has prepared a daily maths session for years one to eight, and is adding more as the lockdown continues. Every lesson comes with a short video showing you how to help your child to complete the activity, too.

Math Shed 
Suitable for all ages, Math Shed is designed to make maths enjoyable while improving a child’s ability. Enjoy a free subscription while schools are closed.

BBC Bitesize
Designed for all ages and subjects, BBC Bitesize covers everything on the current National Curriculum, breaking it down into digestible chunks. From 20th April 2020, they’ll be producing daily lessons, too. 


Grammar Monster
As the name suggests, this website was created to build kids’ confidence with grammar, tricky words, and all the different elements of speech. 

Adapting to all abilities, this enables children of all ages to study spelling independently, in a fun and interactive way. 

Keystage 2 Literacy
Covering everything from reading and handwriting for children in Key Stage 2, this site also links to a wide range of resources, lessons and videos. 

Vocabulary Ninja
Designed to help children from year one to year six with reading, comprehension and grammar. 


Maths Frame
With more than 200 interactive maths games, all of which are linked to the new National Curriculum, this resource was designed by an experienced Key Stage 2 teacher. 

My Mini Maths 
Providing practice papers, worksheets and even YouTube tutorials to get you through the tricky bits, materials are suitable for students in year one, all the way through to secondary school.

The Maths Factor
Carol Vorderman’s online platform is free for the duration of lockdown. In line with the National Curriculum, there are thousands of daily sessions available, and an impressive selection of games to play. 

Times Tables Apps
Some of our favourites include Squeebles, Mr Thorne’s Times Tables Terra and Times Tables Rockstars.

Other Subjects

Every School 
This site connects you to a wide selection of free online educational activities and games, taking you from year one all the way to year 13. Covering everything from English and maths, to history, science and geography. 

Education Quizzes
Starting from Key Stage 1 all the way through to GCSE level, these quizzes have been designed by teachers to help kids remember what they’ve learnt. 

BBC Teach 
This site offers a series of live and pre-recorded video lessons hosted by popular BBC presenters. Best suited for children age seven plus, they cover everything from English and maths to science, art, PSHE and music.

This beginner’s programme for coding uses puzzles to teach kids logic as they play. Suitable for years three to six. 

Created to test your child’s fluency and understanding of a certain language, the best thing about this app is that it’s completely free.


Pobble 365 
This clever site adds a new image every day to inspire children to write, as well as offering a plethora of ideas and guidance on how to start and end a story. 

ICT Games 
Consider this a challenge for all ages – it links to the National Curriculum and breaks each area down into smaller, more digestable, chunks.


Corbett Maths 
A great website with five-a-day maths challenges, videos and worksheets – it’s particularly good for older kids. 

Other Subjects

Consider this an extensive database of all the free resources you can get for those studying for GCSEs or A-Levels. 

MEL Science
Science education company MEL Science has launched a series of free online lessons, including practical experiments for children to try at home. Suitable for ages five to 16.

History Hit TV
One for older kids, these bitesize 35-minute podcasts with TV historian Dan Snow are guaranteed to keep the children’s attention as he travels the country exploring British history. Sign up for a free month’s trial.


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