"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
More than 10 million UK students have been stranded at home since Friday, 20th March 2020. Is this an extended holiday? Don't count on it! Being quarantined with your parents due to the coronavirus pandemic is not the idea of a holiday for most primary, secondary or even university students. As we are all realising, we will have to organize our days around our children and balance this with working from home. Trying to conduct a business meeting with the kids running riot could prove difficult.
Although exams across the UK have been cancelled this summer, don't let the knowledge built up during the school year slip away. You or your children may need it again for future exams or resitting exams if you are not happy with the expected grade given to you by your teacher/school.
Nobody knows how long the period of confinement will last. Although schools are due to reopen in September, the future is very unpredictable. For the moment your objective should be to consolidate the knowledge you've gathered. In the event that quarantine continues, school lessons may well be moved online. But what other online resources can you use to advance your learning?
Apps for Online Lessons to Use During Confinement
Of course, it is impossible for an app or a website to replace your school programme. The educational resources that we will present to you are to be used in addition to school lessons given as part of any official distance learning.
Using an app to revise makes it possible to vary your habits and break the routine of studying at home which can tire students out. It is more fun and more accessible for many secondary school students but also primary school children, provided that you can lend them your smartphone or tablet for a few minutes.
English lessons, maths lessons, geography or history lessons have never been more fun than with tutoring applications. The content is suitable for small screens and many apps are completely free.
Applications for Nursery students
Warning: for toddlers, you will want to limit screen times to 15-20 minutes on a smartphone or tablet. It is not very good for the development of their brain to leave them in front of a screen for too long.
On a tablet or a smartphone with the Numberland app, your children won't be inactive and passive like they might be in front of a cartoon. The application is intended for an audience between 3 and 5 years old for learning numbers and it is completely free.
It was developed in accordance with the Montessori method to allow young children to learn how to write numbers from 0 to 9. Be sure to accompany your child during the exercises.
In terms of letters, you can test out the Lola Alphabet Train app for children between 3 and 7 years old. As the name suggests, as your child learns the letters of the alphabet, their progress is marked with a fun animation of a train. They will gradually learn to read words and you can even expand into foreign languages since the alphabets of 5 languages are included. As always, be sure to accompany your kids and don't leave them alone with their screen.
Learning Apps for Primary School Students
For children in primary school, applications provide varied school help so as not to bore the student. DragonBox Big Numbers, for example, allows you to learn maths in new and fun ways outside the normal lessons you'd have at school. The application allows you to learn about additions and subtractions and to discover the large numbers.
In terms of English, Sight Word Superhero is a great app designed to help children learn to read and learn sight words. It is very interactive and entertaining for younger children. You can personalise the experience and target words and areas that your child needs to improve with.
Learning Apps for Secondary School Students
In Secondary school, students should be far more used to working with online technology but you should still limit screen time so as not to tire them, or yourself, out. Encourage them to work on paper whenever possible. 30 to 45 minutes a day on a smartphone application is more than enough!
To improve your knowledge of geography, there is World Geography - Quiz Game. The real plus is that several subjects are involved and the application allows you to extend your general knowledge to better prepare for GCSE and A Level.
Students will be asked to locate capitals, recognize flags, give the land area of a country, its population, the national religion, the official language, the currency, the sites of a country, the population of the capital, GDP, head of state, life expectancy, birth rate, etc. The difficulty increases as you progress.
To revise a foreign language, download the DuoLingo, Memrise or Mosa Lingua applications which allow you to learn long term and therefore significantly improve one's knowledge of a language. Or check out Univoice which uses music to help you learn in an interactive way. It priorities vocabulary, slang and long-term retention through fun repetition.
Websites to Take Online Courses
It is easy to give in to the call of the screens during this period of confinement but it is very important to keep control for the well-being of your child and their development, so be sure to limit screen time.
Websites for School Children
Here are just a few websites offering online learning and homework help for young children.
Education City is a good website offering help for primary subjects in maths, reading, science and languages. It is aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 12 and makes learning fun with interactive games and a safe online community. It is a paid service, however, at £29.95 per child per year, although they do have a free 10-day trial.
Oxford Owl is a completely free service aimed at maths and reading for primary ages. It offers great advice to parents looking to help their children and also has more than 250 free e-books to read through. Enough to last the quarantine perhaps?
The National Numeracy Website is another free website with great resources. It's also not just for kids. Adults and children alike can improve their numeracy standards. What a great use of your time!
Websites for Secondary School Students
Older students need special support and websites can help them to revise and improve their skills in certain subjects.
Let's start with the best free solution. BBC Bitesize is by far the most comprehensive site for all secondary school students from the ages of 11 to 16. They cover all subjects and all exam boards and offer revision notes and exercises to help cement your knowledge. They are also starting daily online lessons as of April 20 April for all ages. They are also starting a TC channel, a podcast and publishing videos on Player for UK residents.
Another widely used and popular service is Seneca Learning with more than 2.5 million users in the UK. They offer free learning resources across all levels, age brackets and exam boards. They have over 500 free courses in 29 subjects for you to look at.
If you're looking for online maths lessons specifically and have a budget, consider MyMaths. They cover the complete curriculum all the way up to A level offering, interactive lessons, homework, worksheets and many more resources and exercises. It is quite expensive however at £625+VAT per year, although they do have school packages so maybe talk to your school about signing up for the benefit of everyone.
For personalized support during this confinement period, do not hesitate to search for your tutor online on Superprof. 95% of tutors offer their first hour of lessons for free and currently, the Superprof Student Pass, which gives you unlimited access to all teachers and all subjects, is £9 / month (instead of £29).