homeschooling

7 educational websites and apps to help kids during school closures

Home-schooling tips to get you through the coronavirus crisis

Nichola Murphy

To slow the spread of coronavirus, schools have closed their doors and parents have found themselves taking on the role of teacher for the foreseeable future. If you're worried about how to tackle home-schooling your children, then fear not because there is a huge selection of educational websites and free apps specially designed to help kids learn at home. From general reading and writing skills with the National Literacy Trust to language skills with Duolingo, read on for some of our top tips on how to keep children of all ages learning throughout the social distancing period...

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WATCH: Sophie Wessex shares her home-schooling tips

National Literacy Trust

To help kids tackle home-schooling, the National Literacy Trust has launched 'Family Zone', which is a free website where parents can go to get ideas for engaging activities that will help their children's reading, writing and language development. Choose from audiobooks, live stories with author Steve Antony, and activity sheets based on popular children’s books such as Where’s Wally?.

Speaking about how to cope with kids being at home on This Morning, Phillip Schofield said: "We've just had World Book Day. What was the one thing that so many kids have lost touch with? Reading. So if you can reconnect people with reading, then just sit and have a couple of hours a day where you say, 'Right, let's get a couple of books and let's do something we wouldn't normally do.'"

For more information visit literacyfamilyzone.org.uk

Duolingo

For those learning a language, there's no better place to start than with Duolingo. Available as a website or a free-to-use app, Duolingo is not just for adults, with special lessons that can help walk kids through written and spoken languages such as French, Spanish and even English. With personalised learning, rewards and regular quizzes to help reinforce their learning, it's a fun place to start.

For more information visit duolingo.com

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TED-Ed@Home

Everyone has heard of TED talks, but now they can be used to help you teach your kids at home. Suited to everyone from reception to University, Ted-Ed announced it is helping support students, parents and teachers by creating free video-based lessons on a daily basis. Whether your child is studying business and economics or needs to learn about science and technology, the lessons cover an array of topics. With subjects such as 'The mysterious life and death of Rasputin', perhaps parents may be interested in learning a thing or two from their kids, too!

For more information visit ed.ted.com

BBC Bitesize

There's a reason BBC Bitesize has been around for years. Covering a wide range of subjects with resources for all ages, the free website provides small, digestible lessons tailored to support the National Curriculum that won't overwhelm your children. Whether it's reception ages looking to brush up on their geography skills or A-level history classes, there are plenty of options to choose from. Plus, you can see if the lessons are really working with the tests!

For more information visit bbc.co.uk/bitesize

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There are several apps and websites suitable for all ages

Busuu

Another way to keep your children up-to-date with their language lessons is via Busuu, an app built by linguists in London. Its Kids Keep Learning initiative offers free online lessons, in which you simply select a language - such as Chinese or Spanish - and the child's age group, pick a lesson in your time zone and stream it on YouTube. Unlike missing a lesson in school, they can easily catch up with missed work online. 

For more information visit busuu.com

Khan Academy

US-based nonprofit Khan Academy is a hugely popular resource for teachers, so there's no reason parents couldn't jump on board during the COVID-19 crisis. It offers lessons in maths, science and more with personalised learning allowing kids to practice at their own pace. If you're struggling with structuring your school day in the home environment then you can also use the daily schedules for those aged 4-18, while specific parent accounts are available to track your child's progress. For more detailed guidance about getting through home-schooling, it covers frequently asked questions such as, 'How might I structure learning time for my child during school closures?' and, 'How do I figure out what content to cover (if there is no guidance from my school)?'

For more information visit khanacademy.org

BrainPOP

BrainPOP is an animated website to keep kids interested and entertained with movies and games while learning about topics including English, Social Studies and Arts and Music. There are also webinars parents can watch to learn more about how to use BrainPOP for remote learning. 

For more information visit brainpop.com

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