Sunday, 17 September 2017

Educating K | Useful Resources, Websites & Books

When I first started homeschooling these are the kind of posts I would search for online.  Something to help me along and read about other peoples experiences and advice.  So I really hope my Educating K series has been useful.  Today, I'm sharing my favourite resources, websites and books that have helped me and K start our homeschool too.  I'm also sharing other books that I've come across which I think will be useful in your homeschool.  I haven't bought them yet, but they're definitely on my list.


Oh and before I forget, ask whatever you like on Google because you'll find an answer to your question somewhere.  I did a lot of googling and found some brilliant resources that way too.  Also, if you know anyone who homeschools don't be afraid to ask them anything.  No question is a silly question, seriously.  You won't look like a fool because we've all been there, feeling a little lost and just in need of a helping hand.

LESSON PLANS/WORKSHEETS


Twinkl - The first website that I bought a subscription from.  I remember feeling really lost and not sure where to look and what to do until I found this website.  I love how colourful and inviting this website is, but not only that, this website has helped me out of so many situations and is my go to.   Not only does it have lesson plans for every single subject, there are also worksheets, assessments, crafts and school club packs which you could use in your homeschool too.  There's more to Twinkl than just lesson plans.  I always find something here and so I would highly recommend you subscribe to it to make the most of all the resources they have to offer for KS2.

Teachit Primary - Has a range of worksheets and printable resources for English, Maths and Science as well as other KS2 subjects.  They are great for supplementing learning and adding more to your lesson.  If you're planning your own lessons you'll find something here to add to them.

Hamilton Trust - This is a website that K actually told me about.  She tried to help me in so many ways when she realised I was still searching for something to help me out and remembered this website that her teacher used.  I've used the Science lesson plans and have also taken a look at the English lesson plans too.  Although I like them and would have used them, like I mentioned in this series, I struggled with planning our English so I decided not to go with these.  However, if you feel you can take on English then this website has a range of lesson plans you can choose from for every year group.  For £28 for a whole year you will have access to all the lesson plans for English, Maths, Science, Geography and History too.

Roald Dahl Lesson Plans - K is a big fan of Roald Dahl books so the lesson plans here were perfect for her.  I've used Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Lesson pack and also The BFG pack which both had a range of lessons on topics related to the stories.  K loved these lessons as they were so engaging  and not outdated at all.  And because she was learning about something she already enjoys, the lessons were very interesting and she was always eager to get started.

Snappy Maths - There's a large range of printable worksheets for you to print for every topic in Maths.  I know K's teacher used this website too and we printed lots of times tables question papers to test K.  It's a very simple website with clear worksheets.  However, the only downside is that there are no answers to accompany the worksheets so you would have to work out the answers yourself.

TES - A teaching resource website that I'm quite familiar with as I used to get most of my lesson plans and worksheets from here when I used to work in a school way back.  There are lots of free lesson plans and worksheets as well as some paid ones too.  I've never bought one but they are all submitted by teachers who have used them in their own lessons.  I particularly like to visit the forum as there's plenty of advice and tips on there as well as book recommendations.  It's always nice to hear what the teacher's have to say and usually if I'm not too sure about a certain book or online course, I'll find my answer here.  This is where I read about the Target Your Maths book and it's a popular book amongst the teachers on there.

Educational Book Publishers 


Here are the websites I found that have a range of educational books on each subject that you can use  to teach in your homeschool.   For some reason, I just felt the need to have books with information and questions.  Maybe it's because I'm so used to that way of learning when I was at school, I don't know.  I searched everywhere and came across a few websites that may help you too. 

Galore Park - I bought our Science and History books from here, but I quite like the English book too.  I've seen the sample pages online and if I was more confident with planning then this a book that I would have definitely bought.

Pearsons - A website with resources that a lot of schools in the UK use so if you're looking for something similar then they have Abacus Maths textbooks which are very colourful and of course Bug Club, which is all about reading and grammar.  It is very pricey, but I found other alternatives which I will list below.

Scholastics - I remember this name very well from my school days.  They'd provide our school with books to sell and we'd get a small catalogue to take home and choose them.  So whilst browsing on this website I found that not only do they have a range of fiction and non-fiction books, they also have a large range of educational books too.  From Curriculum Resources, reading guides, English and Maths Workbooks, Poetry, Grammar, Spelling and Handwriting too, as well as revision guides.  There's even more so I'll let you explore further.  But before I stop I have to add that they also have book for every subject with over 100 lesson plans for you to work through too.

Collins - Although I wasn't too happy with our English and Maths books that we used when we first started, I bought the Geography books and atlases which are great.  If you get the chance to, then browse their Primary section for lots more resources as sometimes what doesn't work for some people does for others.

Schofield and Sims - We used a lot of their books during Year 3.  Their website is very easy to use and there are plenty of sample pages to help you make your decision when it comes to which book to purchase.  I bought all the Maths books in each topic as well as the Spelling book and Handwriting too.  I have to say they helped K so much and she loved working through them.  With just the right amount of explanation before each set of questions, these books helped K to complete Year 3.  I also bought a few other books to help us along and they were worth every penny.  Definitely have a browse to see everything that's available here as you really won't be disappointed.

CGP - Although I'm not a big fan of these books as I feel they are very basic.  Having said that, I do think that their revision guides are brilliant though.  What we have used on this website is their times tables game which was perfect for K during Year 3.

Oxford University Press - A wide range of resources for reading, writing and maths.  If you've ever heard of Mastery in Maths then this is where to get it.  Singapore maths is a new way schools are learning maths in a way that teaches mastery in maths.  This means that the children are taught to learn each part of mathematics in a way that they don't ever need to revisit and learn it again.  If you're interested then you'll find the Inspire Maths range here.  Although, I love this method I knew it wouldn't work in our homeschool so instead opted for Conquer Maths.  For reading, we've used the OUP Oxford Owl website.  K loves to read so she can read a range of ebooks here.

Maths No Problem - Another way to teach Mastery in Maths.  If this is something for you then you can either go for this one or the one I mentioned above.  These books are very colourful with beautiful illustrations and clearly written too.

Cambridge University Press - Whilst searching for more books online, I came across their English, Maths and Science books.  I was tempted to go for the Science books to teach K and although I liked them, in the end I felt that Twinkl would be best for us.  We were already familiar with their lesson plans and it had worked fine for us so we decided it would be best to go with what was already working.  I should point out that with these Science books they have a two separate books too, one for high achievers to challenge them further and another for children who may need a little more help.  So when it comes to differentiating your lessons and tailoring them to your child's need, this science curriculum will have you covered.

Safar Publications - This year (Year 4) I really wanted to make sure we included Islamic Studies in our homeschool so when I saw these books, I just had to have them.  They are perfect for teaching your children about Islam in small bitesized chunks which are easy to understand and with the teachers schemes of work I have been able to approach each lesson in a way that is engaging too.

Letts - Another name I remember so well from my school days.  I bought the grammar revision book so that K could use it to quickly revise what some of the grammatical terms mean and see examples too.  It has been very useful in our homeschool and for me too when I need to explain something to her and help her understand it better.

Rising Stars - Like all the other educational books websites this one also has books for other subjects too.  But I was specifically looking for computing lessons which also had something that could help me teach coding too.  This is where I found the Learn to Code books which are so easy to use with clear instructions.  K loves this lesson and usually just does it all on her own with very minimal help from me.  As well as coding, K is also learning other programmes like Powerpoint and Excel.  So these books really do cover everything!

Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics - These books are fantastic for non specialist teachers, but especially for homeschool parents too.  I've had a look through the Science book and it covers everything your child needs to learn during the primary years.  It has lesson plans, explanations, teaching ideas and is a great guide to see you through.  Geography, Computing, History and Art and Design are just some of the amazing books in this range.

Online Courses

Conquer Maths - This is how we're learning Maths in Year 4.  All the lessons have a video tutorial which your child can view as many times as they need to and then answer the questions that follow.  You can view your results instantly so there's no waiting around to find out how your child has done and it's easy to use.  All the lessons meet the National Curriculum requirements too.
Mathletics - This is similar to Conquer Maths, however there's no video lesson, however, you can print out worksheets to go along with the lessons online too.  The video lessons in Conquer Maths is what really drew us to it and you can always sample a few lessons before you commit to any one of these.
Wolsey Hall Oxford - We're learning English with this online school and it's brilliant so far.  It's taken a massive weight off my shoulders since I don't have to plan or mark anything and we have regular contact via Skype with K's tutor too.  They provide all the lessons through an online system called Canvas where we can communicate with K's tutor and course manager too, as well as download all the lesson plans and submit  completed work.  We have also been sent all the books we need for Year 4 and have access to Education City.  You can choose to enrol your child on other Primary subjects too.
IXL - The first online Maths course for primary school children that I came across online.  It's very detailed and again covers the National Curriculum.  I've tested it out myself and so has K.  The questions are easy to read and if you get them wrong, it also shows an explanation and how to work it out too.  This website also covers English, although I haven't looked at that subject so can't tell you more.  But what I can say is that this website also has lessons for Secondary school like many of the other resources and websites I have mentioned.
Code - We've used this website to further K's learning on how to code.  It has some very engaging games and tasks that help strengthen their knowledge.  What we love about these small lessons is that it really doesn't feel like you are taking part in a lesson.  It feels more like you're playing a game and trying to complete the task to move onto the next level.
Code Academy - Another great way to learn coding but maybe more for older children.  If your child is eager to learn then once they've mastered the art of coding in primary school, this website will help them to increase their skills.  Learn more about HTML, CSS, Javascript, building a website and more.
Khan Academy - A great website filled with plenty of videos and exercises for a range of subjects from Primary through to Secondary education.  It is also tailored to your child's strengths and weakness and so will have lessons to help your child excel in all areas.
Education City - A great tool for helping your children to work on their SPaG skills.  It's engaging and fun to play the games too.

Cheap Books Online

I know too well how expensive books can be so I found some websites that you can buy the same books for a lot less.  I would definitely shop around because I saved £££ when shopping for our books.  Instead of buying them from the actual publishers websites, I would then search for them on these websites below and make a good saving each time.  Although I love visiting Waterstones and sometimes WHSmiths, here are few online bookshops I love to browse too.

Book Depository
The Book People
Wordery
Amazon
Ebay

Apps

Borrow Box - Allows you to borrow books online and read them on your iPad.  Great for those times when we can't go to the library,
Homeschooling News - For latest information and news regarding homeschooling as well as tips, advice and blog posts like these.
Dorling Kindersley 10 Minute Maths - We've used other apps too but at the moment this is favourite. A great way to brush up or learn your times tables without getting bored.
Doddle Maths - Tailored maths questions to your child strengths and weaknesses.  Bright and colourful app so kids love it.

Books

Library - If you are homeschooling then you'll be all to familiar with the library.  We get a lot of our books from here and it's always empty whenever we go.  Since everyone else is at school, we have the library all to ourselves and as well as picking out books to read and to use for K's project or other lessons, I like to create a treasure hunt lesson for K at the library too.
Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics - These books are fantastic for non specialist teachers, but especially for homeschool parents too.  I've had a look through the Science book and it covers everything your child needs to learn during the primary years.  It has lesson plans, explanations and is a great guide to see you through.
Oxford Owl - A great place to read books online and for free too.  Find a book which is perfect for your child's age group and its great for the younger ones too.
How To Write Your Best Story Ever - I bought this book to help K with creative writing and it's full of words she's never come across before so it has been very helpful indeed.  Its filled with colourful pages full of hints, tips and how to write powerful sentences for any audience and genre.  A great book to help your children become better writers.
Stem Activity Books - A set of four activity books, Maths, Science, Engineering and Technology, that help children to learn and understand each concept in a fun and creative way without even realising.
History A Map Colouring Book - Since we'll have finished our History subject well before the Summer holidays, I thought this book would be a great way to keep learning and kind of revise and revisit what we've learnt and introduce parts of what's to come in Year 5 too.  It's not too much and I know K will find this very interesting too.
Maps Atlas - This is a book I've had my eye on for a long time and I think it's about time I finally bought it.  I love all the beautiful illustrations and each page is packed full of information.  There's so much to learn about all the countries in the world.  After browsing through this book on my last visit to Waterstones, it's time to get my hands on this book before it's too late.
Get Coding - I bought this book when we first started homeschooling after I picked it up from the library.  It's a book that we're hoping to use once K has finished working her way through the Learn To Code Books.  The Get Coding book has step by step instructions on how to build their own website.  Use this book alongside the Get Coding Kids website to get the best out of each lesson.

Youtube Videos

Here are just some of the educational videos we've come across on Youtube.  There are plenty of videos on there so you're sure to find something to help.  I've also watched a lot of homeschool videos talking about planning, curriculums, homeschool room tours and so many more that I can't even remember.  However, there is one name that I searched and watched a range of videos by that taught me how to approach the different areas of English and those are by Pie Corbett.  So if you get a chance to, do read up on his teaching methods and watch his videos which will teach you how to apply those in your classroom or homeschool.

Art Hub Kids - Draw along videos to help your children become more confident in drawing.  Rob is always so encouraging and like he says, it's all about having fun.  So it's ok if your drawing isn't perfect as long as you're having fun then it's all good.
National Geographic and National Geographic Kids - There's a wealth of information on these channels and you'll find an answer to most of your questions here.  The videos are always so interesting and K loves watching these.  She always learns something new each time.
Crash Course and Crash Course Kids - One of the first channels we came across when we started learning at home.  I searched online for videos to help K with states of matter and came across Crash Course Kids.  Although Sabrina talks quite fast the videos are all no longer than 5 minutes so are just long enough to keep your children interested.  The small bitesize videos have helped K and she often asks to watch them when she has nothing to do.

Another tip I have to offer is, before you buy into a subscription always ask if they offer a homeschooling discount because they usually do.  You'll make saving and hopefully it'll work out for you.

So that's my super long list of EVERYTHING that I've come across on our homeschool journey.  Apologies for the extra long post but I really wanted to share this with you.  I know it will be so helpful for those of you who are looking into homeschooling.  I know only too well that it can be quite a scary move going into the unknown.  So hopefully this will help you get started.

These resources aren't just for homeschool families, but can also help if you want to add more to your child learning even if they are at school.  It will definitely help to improve their grades and not only are these resources for Primary education but also for Secondary schools too.

Before I go, let me tell you from experience don't worry too much and enjoy the time you get to spend with your children as you teach them the skills they will be forever grateful for.  There is plenty of help out there for you and you're not alone.  One of the things I used to worry about a lot was qualifications such as GCSEs and university courses, even though it's a long way off.  However, I really didn't need to at all since homeschool children can choose to take GCSE's or IGCSE's which are a recognised qualification in over 23 countries around the world!  And many of the schools in London are already offering these as opposed to the regular GCSE's.  As for University, even that is possible.  If you speak to your chosen University, chances are they'll be more than willing to help and take you on and are very accepting of homeschooled children.  So just because your child is homeschooled doesn't mean they will be left behind.  In fact it's the total opposite!

I hope you've enjoyed my Educating K series and don't forget if you have any questions, make sure to get in touch.




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