Author: Ben Greenwood
Posted: 31 Mar 2020
Estimated time to read: 9 mins
By now, the novelty of working from home or being in isolation has probably worn off. You’re at home with kids who are not in the mood to learn, but are in the mood to wake up at 7am and start making banana smoothies.
We’ve seen that a lot of schools are setting online classes and learning plans for students whilst they’re at home. But for those who haven’t been set work, this can be a particularly unmotivating and unproductive time.
That’s why we’ve compiled 32 of the most useful, entertaining and educational free resources we could find on the internet to help you keep your children learning throughout this uncertain period.
The student room is a forum where students go to discuss a multitude of school based topics. From GCSEs, to choosing a university and, of course, having a good old moan. It’s a great way for them to interact with other young people that are in the same boat as them. This is particularly important in the current climate, as any young person might be feeling somewhat isolated.
Cold Turkey gives users the power to block or limit certain websites at certain times to keep your child focussed. It’s dynamic and has plenty of filters and customisation options, with the option to block the internet entirely - if you’re feeling mean!
Teachertube consists of thousands of video lessons, podcasts and more, all created by teachers. It’s great for finding specific lessons and is helpfully sorted by subject so you can find the right topic easily.
We’ve all heard of TED Talks. TED Ed focuses on content for educators. It’s not going to make you a teacher overnight but it will give you a little insight into how teachers think and some techniques to try with your child/children.
One of the most popular revision tools in the UK, Bitesize, has long been the king of home learning. With interactive quizzes, a fun interface and some brilliant BBC archive resources, you can’t go wrong with the site.
Crash Course is a youtube channel that teaches complex topics like the Russian revolution, civil engineering and Marx’s Conflict Theory using short videos between ten and fifteen minutes. It’s great for a quick fix if you’ve got a little time to fill and you’re busy.
Gojimo is the self proclaimed ‘most popular revision app in the UK’. It’s a Telegraph-owned revision app that spans all subjects for all-round revision. However it is only currently available on the apple app store. So those with other devices will sadly have to wait.
Whilst it might possess an appearance that’s a little ‘low-fi’, and a less than cool name, Cool Math 4 Kids is a staple in any Maths teacher’s arsenal. It’s full of arithmetic games that are genuinely engaging. Seriously, some of the games on here are addictive whilst also strengthening your maths skills.
The Maths Factor is Carol Vorderman’s home learning maths website - it is for those a little younger, from 4-12, but might be just what you’re looking for if you have younger children. The site also has a helpful section for parents who are attempting to teach maths for the first time.
A true one-stop shop for anything maths, DFM contains videos, resources, revision materials and more, for every conceivable topic. It’s a maths learning platform of epic proportions and is a great way to improve your child’s maths skills, when learning from home.
Whilst this site promotes a paid-for tutor, it also has some really valuable, free revision materials for those that are looking at science and maths A-levels. It may look a little simplistic, but beneath the surface there’s some great resources waiting to be found.
It’s a little no frills, but there’s no arguing with the extent of the content on Revision Maths’ website. They have revision material for GCSE and A-level and even have a section on keeping the brain working between GCSE maths and A-level maths - something that’s been made doubly important since the school closures.
English and Humanities
If there’s a budding author in the family, this website is there to help young writers to plan, write and publish their first book. It includes content written by young writers themselves as well blog posts about publishing, choosing genres and developing characters.
Sparknotes is a platform that gives concise notes and theory on literature. In fact, its notes are so extensive and thoughtful that it’s gained a name for itself as a platform students use instead of reading the books themselves. Whilst we don’t recommend this approach, it goes to show how eloquent and useful this content is.
Flocabulary is an online learning platform designed to help students from year 2 to year 12 develop their vocabulary, as well as learn about topics such as Shakespeare, plot points and figurative language. The lessons tend to consist of a video lesson, vocabulary flash cards, quizzes, read and respond and a vocabulary game.
Amazon’s audiobook service, Audible, is offering a free month of listening. So sign up and have a month of listening to as many books as you and your children can. This is a great way to give yourself a quiet hour or two, with the kids encapsulated by an audiobook, you’ll have time for yourself.
A Youtube channel dedicated to tackling some of life’s most complex questions in a charming and witty manner. What makes a person attractive? How do we make a decision? and why do we eat too much? It’s more suitable for older children but is a must for those looking at a degree in social sciences, psychology or philosophy.
Duolingo is a smartphone app designed to make learning a language fun. It’s used by students and adults alike, although we’d recommend using it alongside existing language learning, rather than as a replacement for it. It’s not quite as extensive as an actual language course, but certainly keeps you motivated and helps kids practice what they’ve learnt.
Frenchpod101 is a Youtube channel with free, fun French lessons to help keep your children’s modern foreign language skills topped up during school closures. The lessons are given by native speakers, so you know the pronunciation is perfect.
An extensive site that offers French lessons for all abilities, even advanced speakers. Great for adults that are looking to hone their French with their children as you’ll both be able to use the same site - setting a good example for the young ones!
Language online is another site where appearances can be deceiving. Despite it’s simplistic and slightly dated design, Languages Online has been used by modern foreign language teachers for decades and contains some of the best vocabulary lessons, quizzes and crosswords you’ll find anywhere on the internet.
By using a carefully formulated memory technique, Memrise makes it easier for students to remember words from modern foreign languages they are currently learning. Again, this is probably best for supplementing existing learning rather than replacing proper lessons.
Mitch and Greg create some of the most engaging science lessons on their Youtube asapSCIENCE. Their funny, thoughtful and educational videos tackle psychological, biological and medical questions thoroughly and with an energetic whit. They also look at the science behind viral sensations like Laurel and Yanny and the blue and black/white and gold dress debates. One of the markedly few Youtube channels you won’t mind your children spending their time watching!
Scishow releases a video every day of the week for their audience of budding scientists. They cover an enormous array of topics, from AI to rainforests, in a number or formats. For example: Every Friday it’s science news, on Saturdays and Tuesdays you can write questions to the team and have them answered in the video and Wednesdays alternate between quizzes, talk shows and interviews with guests.
National Geographic has some great resources in subjects such as conservation, art, anthropology, history and of course geography. This includes lessons, articles and other resources. As you might imagine, the quality of these materials is extremely high and many of the topics are genuinely interesting and encapsulating for all ages.
Fizzics’ collection of 150 science experiments to do at home can be a godsend if you’re struggling to keep the concentration of restless teenagers. We recommend their ‘kitchen chemistry experiments’ for fun, safe experiments you can do with just a couple of household kitchen items.
If you haven’t seen him on TV, Youtube or in one of his many cookbooks, now’s the time to introduce yourself to Joe Wicks. Joe is an energetic fitness coach who became famous for his ‘Lean in Fifteen’ cookbook. In lieu of school PE classes, Joe is hosting daily video PE lessons that your children can do in the living room, so they don’t miss out on that all-important daily exercise.
What Adriene doesn’t know about yoga, isn’t worth knowing. She has specific sequences for runners, skaters and chefs alike. She even has specific sequences for dealing with grief, boosting creativity and bonding with your kids. If your children and you find you enjoy it, why not try one of Adriene’s 30 day yoga challenges?
The PE shed is a huge resource centre full of game ideas, lesson plans and other PE themed resources. Whilst some resources cost money, there’s a fairly substantial collection of free resources on there to keep you and your children entertained and healthy through the next couple of months.
Learning for the whole Family
Google’s street view tours of museums and art galleries are a great antidote to cabin fever. Explore the Gugenheim, the British Museum and 8 more famous global institutions from the comfort of your home. You’ll see art from the 8th century to the 21st and experience some of the worlds most highly celebrated architecture too.
If your child plays Minecraft, you’ll most likely associate it with being locked away in their room as they chat to friends and play. However, with Mincraft’s free educational packages, the whole family can join and help explore the international space station, take a tour inside the human eye and even learn about the importance of bees in our ecosystem.
If all this has worked up an appetite, why not get the kids to help you cook? Jamie Oliver’s Youtube channel is full of healthy, quick and family friendly meals that you can all cook together. Jamie’s #cookingwithbuddy is a video series that features meals that Jamie and his son, Buddy, cook together, including fresh pasta, crispy fish and a classic spag bol.
Arange some of these activities for the week ahead with our free timetable template below: