Home Educating in 2021

With another lockdown many parents are finding that they are now home educating again. This time the schools have been a bit quicker to organise some online learning and other resources. Also over the past year the amount of educational resources available for children has increased massively, including Websites, YouTube videos, Live streaming events and TV. So it should be easier to keep their little brains active and stimulated.

We have recently discovered some great educational resources. We home educate (and did so before everyone else was forced to home educate!), so we are always looking for more educational resources which are free to use.

BBC Bitesize Daily and other educational TV programs

Over the past couple of weeks the BBC have been running BBC Bitesize Daily programs: Mornings on CBBC for younger children, and an afternoon session for older children. It is great that the BBC are now showing these programs, and this is helpful not only for the school children who are now being home educated, but also for us and the many other home educators (who were already home educating) who are always looking some something stimulating and educational for our child to watch..

Unfortunately the quality of the of the Bitesize programs has been quite variable. Some programs have been really good (such as an afternoon program which focused of space was interesting and very informative) but some of the programs (especially those for younger children) seem to have more jokes and silliness than useful educational content. When they do get to the point, the information often seems rushed and is over before we have persuaded our 7 year old to look away from his Lego and back to the TV (as he has usually got bored or annoyed with the presenters and stopped watching a few minutes earlier). He actually turned the TV off 30 seconds into the first program, in response to a rather annoying exercise feature.
Despite the problems it is still worth a look, and it does seem to be improving.

CBBC weekdays 9am
BBC2 weekdays 1pm

If you want something more in depth for children (or adults) You will also find tons of educational programs, including many science and nature documentaries on BBC iPlayer.


Getting children interested, creative and active

For younger children LETS GO LIVE! with Maddie Moate (from Do You Know? on CBeebies) and Greg Foot, is worth a look. The programs are packed with interesting facts and science and creative activities for children to get involved with.

They began presenting half hour shows from their spare room during the first lockdown, then went on to present outside shows on location over the summer. They are currently live streaming three shows each week, but these and all the previous programs are also available to watch anytime on YouTube.


If your kids like Lego, science and technology – try this

The Kid Should See This is a site with science, nature, music, art, technology and more. What really interested us were the examples of some incredible Lego builds.

The first thing we looked at on the site was a video of the Building a LEGO Candy Cane Catapult. We were very impressed so we started to look around the site and found examples of other amazing Lego creations and technology related constructions – including How to Make the World’s Simplest Electric Toy Train demonstrating how to use a coil of wire, and battery and some magnets to make an electric toy train.

The Kid Should See This
The Kid Should See This Website – Lego Candy Cane Catapult

On their site they describe it as:

The Kid Should See This is an unprecedented collection of 4,500+ kid-friendly videos, curated for teachers and parents who want to share smarter, more meaningful media in the classroom and at home.

This site is really fun and inspiring.


Managing time when home educating

Some routine is good, but you do need to have some flexibility when home educating.

It is usually a good idea to start the day with some educational activity (except for teenagers who can’t function properly before lunchtime). but take a break and do some exercise or get out for a short walk, and come back to the education later on. Walks can be educational too if you discuss what you see on the walk and then maybe research and read about things you have seen later on. If the weather is bad, maybe try doing some cooking (and turn that into an education session too).

Be flexible about how you schedule the day, and how you balance child education, your own work (if working from home), exercise and other activities.
If you are working from home, trying to work 9-5 (or anything near) while also trying to educate and care for a child is a recipe for stress. If you typically get up early you could try to do some work before breakfast, or alternatively do some work in the evening and so create more time for childcare and education, and other family activities during the day. There is no need to only educate on week days, so spread the education time over the whole week. If the sun is shining – get outside, if it is raining – stay in and learn.

Keep plenty of books, paper, craft items – and other things such as construction toys, to be used as required. Especially things which children can use on their own for a short while, so that you can get on with something else.

TV is great as long as they are watching something educational, and they are not watching it all day.
We find that our son goes a bit mad after sitting in front of the TV for an hour or more. He really needs to move around and get some physical activity. Time for another walk – scooter ride – exercise session or some relaxing yoga!