Boy using digital tablet in sofa at home
Boy using digital tablet in sofa at home

Eight hacks for home-schooling parents

Parents face weeks of home-schooling, despite a plan to slowly return children back to the classroom, so online learning has never been more important.

Here are some of the best ways to give kids a virtual education - and have fun at the same time.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH ANIMALS

A hero of homeschool isolation has undoubtedly been the daily live streams from the country's zoos and aquariums. Feed the giraffes at Taronga Zoo, watch reef sharks have lunch at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and meet Elsa the Koala at the Australian Reptile Park.

Kids will be fascinated by everything from funnel-web milking to feeding saltwater crocodiles and experiencing real life Happy Feet in the penguin exhibit, with trainers teaching them all they need to know about their favourite animals. Viewers can even ask questions on social media which are answered by experts in real time, giving children the thrill of interaction, even in lockdown.

ABC TV

Remember BTN? From 10am to 3pm on weekdays, ABC TV Education on Channel 23 - or 723 on Foxtel - has something for the whole family. Go through the schedule and set reminders for what your children need - from specials on Antarctica to fun maths lessons, science, English, and of course, story time.

ART, THE KEN DONE WAY

Famed Sydney artist Ken Done has put together free online art classes for kids. The worksheets are divided into age groups - three to six, seven to eight and nine to 11 - and help youngsters draw their own interpretations of Done's paintings.

Looking for things to pass the time? The best shows to watch, the funniest videos, the best hacks and home workouts? Find it all at our Life (goes on) in Lockdown section

Younger ones can count jellyfish, create sea creatures and design T-shirts, while older budding artists explore colour, shape and strokes.

READ A BOOK WITH ITS AUTHOR

Ever wanted to curl up and listen to Mem Fox read Possum Magic? Or David Walliams read The World's Worst Children? Now you can, with some of the world's greatest authors offering free read-alouds during COVID. Alison Lester, Oliver Jeffers and Ben Clantoon are also offering audio recordings of their favourite books. Find the free downloads on their social media accounts and websites.

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Reading Aloud

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STEM LOVERS REJOICE

NASA At Home is bringing space to your living room with astronaut talks, virtual tours and experiments like how to make your own cloud in a bottle. Virtual Science Space is also offering daily experiments, science demonstrations and expert Q&A sessions with scientists and aspiring educators from 10am for a science power hour on their Facebook page. Sign up to their Virtual Science Space email list for a video about the day's experiment, instructions, video scripts and activity sheets.

SURVIVAL, BEAR GRYLLS STYLE

Survival expert Bear Grylls has teamed up with Scouts to create The Great Indoors, a collection of 100 activities encouraging children to try new challenges and learn new skills while at home. They can trawl through everything from learning code to practising digital camera skills and making hot air balloons, or lollipop catapults, teaching them to problem solve their way through days at home.

MUSIC TO OUR EARS

Free music classes are the perfect way to inspire children through the challenges of isolation. Myleene's Music Klass on YouTube is a great place to start. Straight from the Rockefeller Center, The Rock and Roll Playhouse are also doing live performances seven days a week, flooding the house with music for the whole family.

You’ll have mini-Mozarts in the making. Image: Getty
You’ll have mini-Mozarts in the making. Image: Getty

SPORT ON SCREENS

From ballet lessons to soccer training and yoga for kids, most sports and after-school activities have moved online. From free dancing with The Ballet Coach on YouTube, to live streamed soccer clinics and rugby drills, there is no shortage of physical activity to keep youngsters busy. PE with Joe Wicks is another great - and tough - way to exert some energy. Live on YouTube Monday to Friday at 9am, the famed Body Coach is inspiring kids across the globe to keep moving through lockdown.

Originally published as Eight hacks for home-schooling parents



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