As you may know, my children managed a whole 3 days back to school before we had to quarantine as they had been in touch with a positive corona test. We are all fine, which I know is very lucky, however it did take us back to lockdown times as we had to home-school and work. I know everyone will say people are all in the same boat, but as only my children had to isolate and the rest of the class are still at school, I am very aware of them falling even further behind than they have over the last six months.
I am going to be honest here, I am not a very good teacher, I have realised that I struggle to understand phonics, let alone teach it and I really struggle to get my children to do their work. The husband is much better at this, but as we both have to work, I do have to pull my weight at least a little bit on the home school front. I therefore wanted to share with you some websites and resources I found helpful incase you are in the same position. I’d also consider using these if I was going on a long trip, especially if I wanted to minimise packing!
1. Reading Eggs
Website (this is a referral link, so at no extra cost to yourself you'll be earning me a coffee if you like it and use it 🙂☕): Referral Link
Reading Eggs is a learning based website and app that is split into phonics, English and maths. While I am not a massive fan of apps for children due to screen time usage, I do think this is really well done. For both the English and Maths areas, your child starts with a test which assess their current level. After this they can start playing the levels, earning stickers, points and rewards which they can then use to play games on the site. Everything is educational though, even the games and a lot of time my kids just liked doing it to win the stickers. You can also turn the games and activities off if you just want them to concentrate on the lesson (I did this and just said I didn’t understand why they weren’t working anymore.
Charlie really liked the phonics area (which is a win as I really struggle with teaching this), where they get a yeti and as they progress through the levels they can upgrade his house. This gave some instant gratification which Charlie really enjoyed as he could see his progress easily – which showed a negative to other parts of the site as the maths and English lessons could be long.
Best part is that you get a free month’s trial of the site – I’ve included a link above – which is perfect for a quarantine period. The prices afterwards can be pricey for multiple children so I would have to wait until a deal personally. I think this would also be really good for a long journey where some form of screen time is going to be inevitable.
2. Oxford Owl
These have all the books the kids get for their reading practice at school available as free ebooks for them to read. You just create a parent log in which is super easy and you can see the books at your child’s reading band. If you are a child of the 80s like me, you’ll be pleased to know that Kipper, Biff and the gang are still going strong and your child can catch up on their adventures. They seem to involve a magic house and lots of cake from the ones we’ve read so far.
I was really pleased with this as it meant Charlie could keep up with his extra level of reading practice – our other books generally being too hard or too easy, and meant I didn’t have to buy phonics reading books which won’t last that long and are also super expensive.
Using this on holiday would be great as it would mean not falling behind but also not packing tons of books, giant tick all round!
3. Phonics Play
This is a site normally used in class that has allowed free usage during the national lockdown and remains free to use at the moment. Again it’s a phonics base site (clue is in the name) that is essentially lots of games. The positive parts are that it follows the curriculum so it is familiar to the kids and has lots of levels, so I could swap between Daisy and Charlie both using it. It would be great if your teacher can tell you the level they are on, I had to guess a bit.
It is more basic than reading eggs, both in terms of graphics and rewards, however both my children really seemed to like it and I thought it was good to give them some variety. I doubt it would keep them engaged for long on a journey though and the parent does have to guide – it doesn’t automatically progress your child through levels, which is a real selling feature of reading eggs.
Phonics play normally charge for usage – so it’s free for now but this will change in the future!
Let me know if you are in quarantine – you have all my sympathy – or if you have any other sites you have found helpful!
Lots of love,