WITH schools closed until at least February half-term, parents will need all the help they can get with homeschooling their kids.
Schools and colleges were shut earlier this month as part of the government’s raft of tough new Covid restrictions to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
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Schools are shut until at least February half-termCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Only children of parents who are key workers can still go to school – but places are being rationed amid fears that the policy could undermine lockdown.
The new measures have been rolled out in a bid to tackle a new deadly strain of Covid which is 70% more contagious.
But if parents need a little help keeping kids on track with their studies, some companies are offering free learning tools.
So what can you use for free to help teach your kids a lesson or two? Here’s the best on offer that we could find:
Lessons with Rachel Riley and Professor Green on Amazon
If Maths isn’t your strong point, maybe Rachel Riley can help your kids out on the sums.
Amazon has made a video with Countdown presenter Rachel Riley covering the subject.
She talks about topics such as prime numbers, factors, and does some quick sums on a whiteboard.
You can check the video out here.
The video is part of a free video series Amazon launched in December last year featuring celebs dishing out lessons for free on a variety of subjects.
The series, called ‘Very Important Breakfast Clubs’, includes stars like Professor Green, who gets kids to rhyme in his freestyle rap session.
Amazon is also offering other free learning resources too.
The online retailer has launched a free virtual coding programme to help your kids develop computer science skills.
And you can put on a free audio book for your little ones using Audible.
You can steam a collection of books from authors including Breatrix Potter and Rudyard Kipling onto your computer, phone or tablet.
Some learning tools Amazon are offering are free, but can only be accessed through its own products.
If you have an Amazon Fire Tablet, for example, you can download these maths games for free.
Help from the Beeb
The BBC will be coming to the rescue for a lot of families with an array of tools to help kids keep learning through lockdown.
Bitesize has long been a firm favourite for students up and down the country, and it’s sure to be just as in demand during lockdown.
It’s available for children aged between five to 15, and you’ll be able to keep them occupied with videos, quizzes and practice activities which can be accessed online.
If your child is older than that, then the BBC Teach website has subjects ranging from Art and Design to Physics to help pupils study.
If you don’t have access to a computer or can’t get online, then your kids can watch lessons on your TV.
Lessons and educational programmes will be available on BBC Two and CBBC as well.
If your child is in secondary school, they can tune into lessons on BBC Two between 1pm and 3pm.
And if they’re in primary school, they can watch lessons between 9am and 1pm each weekday.
You can catch up if you missed them on iPlayer.
Free learning packs on famous books
If your child is a fan of the Gruffalo or Zog and has the books to hand, then you might want to check out these free learning packs.
Scholastic has created a load of activities your child can do while reading their favourite books written by Julia Donaldson.
To get the learning packs, click here to the Scholastic website and just enter your email address to create a free account.
You can then download the packs as PDF.
History and science lessons from museums
There are some museums offering online sessions to get your kids clued on subjects from history to science.
If your child is aged between seven and 11 years old, then you might want to check out the British Museum’s website for help on history lessons.
They’re offering resources on topics from Ancient Britain to Ancient Egypt.
The Science Museum is also providing activities, games and videos so your kids can learn more about science and maths.
You can download PDFs to guide you through science experiments you can do at home – including how to make a fizzy mountain using a bottle of fizzy pop, a roll of mints and a tube.
If you want to know how to apply for free school meals during lockdown three, then here’s our guide and what you need to do.
But be aware that schools have been told not to provide meal vouchers to families during the February half-term.
And Boris Johnson has warned that it’s “too early to tell” if schools can reopen after the half-term holiday.