I know some people are loving lockdown learning but I must admit we have struggled. And yes I know some people find that hard to imagine because we are full time home educators (we home educated before lockdown started and will continue home educating once it is over). But this lockdown style of learning is NOT normal home education for us and the kids and I have struggled with this new lifestyle. We have missed our usual outings, activities and friends. And I have found that lockdown living has affected our learning. So I have been trying really hard to mix up the learning and keep it as fresh and interesting as I can (but boy do we miss going on and learning at museums etc).
So I thought I would share some of the lockdown learning wins that we have had (some are resources that we were using before lockdown and some are new resources).
Now I have used BBC Bitesize before and we have always thought it good but these daily lessons are brilliant. The kids love the little video clips that they include. The site is set up by academic year but we don’t stick to that. We jump around and look at the topic that we want regardless of which year it has been allocated too. We have used these lessons for all subjects but we don’t use them every day nor do we use every lesson (there is a lot on the site).
A completely new one for us. A few weeks ago I spotted a post on Facebook saying you could download some of their maths booklets for free and I thought – why not. So I set up a free account and downloaded a few for both my daughter and my son. And I must admit we like them A LOT. I like the way they set them out with the explanations and the exercises and the way it slowly builds up from easy to more difficult.
We have used Twinkl for years but the one resource on their site which has really become popular with us during lockdown has been the Twinkl Original eBooks. We have read a number of them and all have been excellent. Current favourites would be – Wrymstooth Crown, Pack of Pompeii, Jazz Harper the Space Explorer and Rainforest Calling. With all their eBooks they create activities to go along with the stories. You normally get guided reading questions which they kids can answer as they read, comprehensions, some sort of grammar activity and then lots of pages linked to the topic. So for Pack of Pompeii you could go look at Volcanoes, with Jazz the Space Explorer we then did a bunch of their Space pages. There is always a lot you can link in. For us these eBooks have been one of the big winners.
Activity Village is one of our favourite sites and during lockdown it has been their puzzly pages that we have really been enjoying. Their Sudoku pages have been very popular with both the kids and myself. (Their word searches, word scrambles and crosswords are old favourites which are very handy for English activities).
And my son has really enjoyed their realistic Dinosaur pages – they have some images which you can print out for your own projects and some excellent dinosaur scene pages which we have used as story starter pages (My son writes stories about what he thinks is happening – although to be totally honest when you read his stories you sometimes wonder how it is linked to the colouring page that he started with).
My daughter has been reading a lot during the lockdown and she is really enjoying the Oxford Children’s Classic books that we have at home (I have managed to buy a few extra ones online which also helped). Her favourite subject is History so we have really just let her go History crazy a bit during the lockdown. She has reread a number of History books that we have and has revisited old History topics (she liked looking at the BBC Bitesize History lessons even if they are History topics that she already knows). She has also read her next year’s History book cover to cover which is spurring her to do some of her own research into some of the events. (Can not say enough about this History series it is amazing).
My son has been sticking to his favourite topics of dinosaur and animal fact books for his reading. But I was also chuffed to see he branched out and tried The Return of the Railway Children (his sister recommended it) and really enjoyed it.
One of the new activities that both my kids have started and are loving is letter writing. Yip Good old fashioned write a letter on some paper, address the envelope and post it to your friend. They have a few friends they are writing to and they love it. They enjoying thinking of what to write about and are thrilled whenever a reply gets popped in our letter box. I must admit the idea of letter writing was completely theirs but I am loving it for two reasons. Firstly it is helping my son practice his spelling in a fun relaxed way (spelling is a bit of a struggle with him) and secondly it is giving them something to look forward to (receiving their reply). One of the things they have struggled with is the feeling that the days and weeks are just the same and nothing exciting tends to happen. And as small as receiving a letter may seem it definitely cheers everyone up.
And lastly two “other” items which have been especially popular with my kids during the lockdown have been Kids Butterfly Fishing Net Childrens Insect Catch Mesh Fish Extendable Pole Sea (ours never seem to last long but the kids love going pond dipping with them) and our K’Nex.
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