Homeschooling during lockdown: 10 ways to keep children actively learning

Homeschooling during lockdown: Family playing board game with a 7 year old girl

Homeschooling during lockdown and finding ways to entertain children indoors will become more challenging as schools remain closed. Don’t despair: there are still plenty of activities out there to pique their interest – and stretch their minds.  Here are ten great ideas that parents can implement straight away ease the burden of homeschooling during lockdown.

1. Children’s magazines

For Homeschooling during Lockdown, magazines are a great way to keep children in touch with the wider world. Reading educational magazines will improve a child’s literacy – particularly if they find longer books a challenge. Aquila magazine is a beautiful monthly publication for 8-13 year olds featuring English, Maths and Science. For those interested in current affairs, The Week Junior covers major news events in an age-appropriate way. Similarly, National Geographic Kids is perfect for nature fanatics. For younger children, Anorak and Okido have illustrations, stories and activities galore.  

2. Games

Families often have cupboards filled with board games that come out once a year – usually at Christmas. Now is the time to get them out again! Games such as Junior Scrabble and Bananagrams are great for children’s spelling and vocabulary skills. Unlike school work when children play games it never feels like a chore. Other favourites are Dinkee Linkee – where players answer clues and make connections. Also The Horrible Histories Board Game, and strategy card game Exploding Kittens.

3. Online tuition to support homeschooling during lockdown

It is tempting to let the national curriculum go out of the window when homeschooling during lockdown, but it is important to retain some educational structure. While many schools have arranged virtual lessons and upload resources, private online tuition is another option to consider. At Hampstead & Frognal Tutors, we are fully equipped to teach remotely, and many of our tutors have taught online for several years. 

4. Books & story tapes

There has never been a better time to get children into reading than now. With hours to fill, the only question is which books they will enjoy. Lots of book suppliers – including Waterstones and Amazon – are encouraging customers to shop online so there are plenty of stories to choose from. Our reading lists for primary and secondary school students may also give you some ideas. If your child finds reading a challenge, audio books are also a fantastic resource (Amazon-owned Audible recently put a selection of its children’s stories online for free). 

5. Support homeschooling during lockdown with Brain training apps

Lots of parents are trying to keep screen time to a minimum during lockdown. However, it is worth remembering there are some excellent brain-training apps to boost maths, language and verbal reasoning skills. Games such as Monster Math and Squeebles Spelling Test are popular with young children, while Peak, Elevate, and Lumosity are great for teenagers. For those interested in languages, Duolingo and Babbel are well worth a try. 

6. Baking

Fun activities are just as important as strictly educational ones during lockdown, and baking is the perfect way to keep children entertained. Baking provides an opportunity to teach them some practical kitchen skills. Whether you fancy fairy cakes or flapjacks, the BBC has put together a list of lockdown recipes, with ideas if you’re struggling to buy key ingredients. Meanwhile, Jamie Oliver’s ‘Keep Cooking and Carry on’ television show has some easy supper recipes to try at home. 

7. Educational websites

The pandemic has spawned some excellent online resources to help children keep on top of core subjects. Set up in response to Covid-19, AimHi is a global online school where students are taught by experts with impressive credentials. Students can ask questions live and respond to challenges – or simply watch lessons in their own time. The BBC also airs six 20-minute programmes each day for different age groups, featuring various famous faces.

8. Exercise

Fresh air may be hard to come by whilst homeschooling during lockdown, but it is crucial for children to stay active. As well as daily bike or scooter rides, PE with Joe Wicks – which streams live on Youtube every weekday morning at 9am – is a great way to let off steam in the living room. When the sun is shining, garden activities such as bat-and-ball or skipping are also sure to go down well. 

9. Art & Crafts

Painting, drawing and sewing are all fun skills for children to master during lockdown, with lots of art supplies available online from the likes of Hobbycraft and John Lewis. Other ideas you could try are collages and scrapbooks, or a big family tree complete with photos and mini biographies. For older children, museums such as the National Gallery in London and the Guggenheim in New York have arranged virtual tours so visitors can view famous paintings from the comfort of their sitting rooms. 

10. Skype and Zoom sessions

It is very easy for children to feel isolated during lockdown so regular video calls with relatives and school friends are very important – Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp are all reliable platforms to use. Children could also try writing letters to family members. This simple, old-fashioned form of communication is good writing practice and few things are as nice as receiving a handwritten letter in the post. 

Further information and reading

Homeschooling – Wikipedia

What is Homeschooling? A guide for Parents and Students