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Kol Chai Home Schooling During COVID (Key Stages 1-5)

Once again, we are in lockdown and our children are unable to go to school. Once again, it is parents who must take on the responsibility for continuing education at home; not easy for all the reasons you already know! Teachers are working so hard to adapt to online learning and I have seen some outstanding and innovative teaching, but do remember, home should not be ‘school’ in the literal sense because it will drive you potty! But if you think more in terms of ‘home learning’, with a flexible timetable to suit your family routines and life style, it might make things a little easier. Perhaps the following ideas and links might help just a bit. Apologies if you already know exactly what you are doing!

Keep scrolling down! Lots of links to discover! If you have ideas, websites or apps that you have found helpful and would like to share, please email pauline.kolchai@gmail.com. Thank you!

Update – (11.02.21) A Paper Horse that Walks? Or how about learning the Haka?

Schools have really upped their game and are providing good lessons and learning ideas to their pupils at home. But it’s a huge task for teachers, many of whom are not only teaching children who are eligible to attend school in person, but at the same time monitoring and adapting their teaching to ensure the same learning opportunities for pupils at home. And also for parents, who are juggling work with teaching and keeping their children motivated, away from the routines of the school day and their friends. Children are resilient and, despite all the reports of the potential dire consequences for their future, I believe that most will be ok once they are back in school. Teachers will be working hard (again!) to facilitate the transition back to class and supporting childrens’ mental health and wellbeing so that they are happy and ready to learn. Additionally, more and more schools are recognising the benefits of having a trained counselor on the staff.

In the meantime – if you have the energy to look beyond set school-work, there are more and more great resources out there (but some are dreadful and will never be mentioned on this page!) Don’t forget to revisit the earlier ideas and suggestions further down the page  but also check out this excellent site from West Sussex College recommended by one of our members:


There’s lots of good stuff for Key Stage 1 & 2 here, but also ideas for pre-school and 12+. All the suggested links have been checked and approved. I was particularly impressed by  www.oxfordowl.co.uk/ which, apart from advice and support, offers a free eBook library for 3-11 year olds. The ‘Well Being’ section is also great, with tutorials that teach the art of making really good paper planes, a free flight simulator and live bird webcams! Or, how about making a paper horse that walks ………
All of this and more at:

Keep going! You’re all phenomenal!


Update – Focus on Secondary Students (18.1.21)


Don’t be under any illusion. The anxiety and stress being experienced now by many young people is huge. I’ve heard people say things like, “I would have loved to be off school for ages when I was a teenager…” or “Snowfakes! They don’t know what stress is…” Comments such as these are not in the least helpful and do our young people a great injustice. Just think….
• Some schools are better than others at supplying work and providing support.
• Some students do not live in homes with a ready supply of books, computers and parents able to support learning
So the gap is widening between those that do and those that don’t. There is no level playing field – teenagers worry about this – they have a keen awareness of social justice.

A typical day in the life of a secondary student – perhaps in GCSE or A Level Years might be:
• Wake up
• See the desk and computer looming in their bedroom. What work will be there today when I log on?
• Have breakfast
• Return to room and, depending on what individual teachers are demanding that day, spend the greater part of the day, on your own, stuck in front of a screen – perhaps taking refreshment breaks at your desk. If assignments are not completed, you know more will be added tomorrow…..
• Now all work is ‘homework’ so you spend time beyond the normal school day at the computer – with no ‘walking home and socialising with your mates’ down time.
• After dinner, the only way to meet up with friends is…… via the computer screen.
This is not how teenagers should be living. Please don’t compare your adult brain’s ability to manage stress and work/life balance with the typical teenage brain, which won’t be fully developed until their early 20s. This is not their fault! Trained teachers know this and manage learning accordingly.

There are, of course, loads of suggestions out there for helping young people to manage stress and anxiety and most of them are excellent; but there is nothing like the face-to-face opportunities offered during the school day to laugh, be daft, offload, complain and generally chill with friends. At the moment, this can’t happen. All I’m saying is, at a time when everyone is experiencing pressure, feeling anxious and scared, struggling with work and family, missing friends and loved ones, please don’t assume that because teenagers don’t have the same pressures as adults, the worry, stress and loneliness they may feel is any less. It’s just different.

University College London has provided some great resources in all subject areas for all ages, and the ‘secondary’ link is really excellent. 


This link shares how teenagers have devised their own strategies for managing stress: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/lockdown-has-been-hard-on-teenagers-but-they-have-shown-remarkable-adaptation/



HS1• Schools should be providing work – decide with your child how, when and where they will complete it. Each day’s ‘timetable-on-the-fridge’ should take into account:

• Concentration span. Even adults can only focus on one specific task for 20 minutes, we need to reawaken attention and motivation, so, for example, an essay or piece of creative writing is one task, but it will involve talking about ideas, a bit of research, making a ‘story board’ – the sequence of the story/essay, before settling down to write.

• Brain breaks – check out https://www.verywellfamily.com/brain-breaks-for-busy-kids-1257211 for ideas

• Longer refreshment breaks – keeping the brain (and body) hydrated and moving is essential for optimum learning

• Make lunch a thing – perhaps they can plan and prepare lunch for you.

• Go for a walk, find a YouTube daily exercise class you all like.


A couple of ideas….

• Pre-schoolers or early readers will enjoy ‘reading’ a book where they are the star. Take photographs of them cooking, playing, getting dressed, going to the park, having a video chat with a grandparent or friend etc. Print them off and make a book with a short sentence describing what is happening in each picture. Or make them into a ‘presentation’ on an iPad. Read it and remember the activity together.

• Improve listening skills! Go on a ‘listening walk’ somewhere away from traffic if possible. Close your eyes, what can you hear? Which direction is the sound coming from? It’s fun to do this around a quiet house too…. (it’s never absolutely silent!)

• Make use of the brilliant BBC Bitesize – stuff for all key stages! https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize


Other links…

Many thanks to homeschool guru Rachel Barnett Jones for these tried and tested links. Rachel homeschools Toby, is the brains behind the wonderful ‘Sky High Stories” and is an experienced informal educator, writer and drama practitioner. Her husband, Andrew Barnett Jones is the award-winning writer of (to name a few) Danger Mouse Christmas Special, Melted and Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small. He is also head writer of ‘Numberblocks’ – truly excellent for early Maths fun.

• Fly High Stories: https://www.flyhighstories.co.uk/

• Number Blocks: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b08bzfnh/numberblocks

• Yoga for Kids with Adrienne: https://yogawithadriene.com/yoga-for-kids/

• Money Sense (NatWest) for great money, maths and financial literacy resources https://natwest.mymoneysense.com/home/

• Podcasts! Rachel suggests ‘The Weekly Junior’, ‘DiddyPod’ and ‘The Penny Dreadfuls’ on BBC Sounds for re-telling of the classics.

• The ‘Borrow Box’ App which offers unlimited free audio books.

• The ‘Google Arts and Culture’ App

• If you have a budding poet, sign them up to the Young Poets Network for great poetry writing prompts: https://ypn.poetrysociety.org.uk/

That’s more than enough for now! How about sending in anything that you have found helpful? Perhaps we can start a ‘Kol Chai Home Schooling Resource Base’!

Most importantly, remember gin and tonic is an essential tool for home learning!

Pauline Grant

PS Please do email me with any other ideas or links.  Pauline.kolchai@gmail.com