Following announcements of national lockdowns in both Scotland and England, millions of kids will once again be at home for the next few weeks at least, instead of in school.
This can create major problems for families, whether it’s arranging childcare or making sure your kids don’t fall behind on their learning.
The pandemic has put a strain on many of us, but families with young children - and children themselves - perhaps most of all.
And while home-schooling certainly presents its challenges, there are at least a number of services, websites and apps that can help you and your family keep on top of it during lockdown. Here are some of the best.
BBC Bitesize and BBC Teach
The BBC provides probably the best known and best loved online learning platform for young people with its Bitesize website, but BBC Teach also has some great videos that will help with all kinds of subjects.
Totally free with a massive range of lessons that tie into the National Curriculum, the BBC’s resources are invaluable for all, from early years students right up to GCSE and A Level.
While Bitesize is home to activities, tests, revision guides and more traditional learning materials, BBC Teach features both live and pre-recorded videos hosted by BBC presenters and stars, who know how to keep your kids entertained and engaged while learning.
US-based Khan Academy has proved a life saver for many UK parents when it has come to online learning in the last year, particularly for maths and science-based subjects.
While the Khan Academy curriculum ties into the US School system, there’s a great degree of crossover with what our kids learn here, mainly for maths and science. However, you might find that the humanities subjects are quite different to what we’re used to.
The site is free to use online, and you can create an account to track progress.
Everyone’s favourite language learning owl has really come into its own this year, helping millions of children and adults brush up on their language skills with highly engaging lessons available for just about every language you can think of.
Duolingo might be familiar to some adults, but the special lessons they’ve developed for kids have become particularly popular during the pandemic. Best of all, it’s completely free to use.
The Artful Parent
Probably better suited to younger, creative kids, The Artful Parent is an invaluable resource for parents who are homeschooling but hate the idea of their child being sat in front of a screen all day.
The site is bursting with fun and achievable creative ideas, from observational drawing to sculpture and craft-making, along with all the necessary instructions and guidance for non-creative parents.
Words for Life by the National Lit Trust
You might have come across this one before under its previous guise as the National Literacy Trust’s Family Zone, although it has now been revamped with added content, as Words for Life by the National Literacy Trust.
With different activities and sections set up for various age groups and reading levels - from babies and toddlers up to 12 year olds - the site is packed with activities, quizzes and tests, all aimed at improving your little one’s literacy skills and sparking a lifelong love of reading.
Developed by academics and learning experts from Oxford University, Edplus uses artificial intelligence and gamification to create learning videos covering hundreds of different subjects and topics.
While you can download and start using Edplus for free, you will only initially receive three credits to spend on different topics in the app. After this, you can get more credits by using the app for consecutive days, inviting friends or by purchasing them.
This means you can try out the style of learning without committing to any monthly payments, and if you do end up paying, you need only pay for the subjects that interest you.
Busy Things is a great service for creative youngsters who benefit from learning in lots of different, engaging ways.
The games and activities are based around a number of subjects, from maths to phonics and word games, computer science and coding, to creative art-based games.
While Busy Things does come with a free seven day long trial, the full service does have a subscription cost. However, right now there’s a special offer of £1 for a month, and you can find out more about the different plans on their website.