Joe Wicks

6 things that have got us through home schooling this week

The parents of south west London and Surrey have been sharing their tips

Our class WhatsApp groups have been pinging like crazy with parents sharing tips and advice on how to get through home schooling.

Here’s six we have loved this week:

PE with Joe Wicks

A new global saviour has emerged and we are logging on in droves to see fitness coach Joe Wicks motivate kids off couches with his morning workouts. Parents, grans, teachers – it seems everyone is piling in to the living room to join in with sumo squats, planks and energy jumps. Read more from Joe here. In 2018, he told us his ambition was to get one million children feeling the benefits of exercise through live workouts. And he is doing just that and more with millions tuning in daily.


Catching up with classmates virtually. Cue lots of, “can you see me? I can see you,” “Who’s on here?”, “Is that you?”, and repeat for 20 minutes. The kids don’t care – more a question of seeing familiar faces again.

Chess is the place to go for kids to learn the game and play with others.

The Great Indoors with the Scouts

The Scouts are usually all about getting outside but they have come up with some incredible ideas, along with suggested age group and how long each activity will take.

Elevenses with David Walliams

A new story is read each day at 11am so sit the kids down for 20 mins while you take a well earned coffee or get on with some work.

Maths with Carol Vorderman

Currently free, this great resource for 4 to 12 year olds has games and daily sessions.

And some other ideas we love:

A class skipping competition. Who can do the most?

A wish jar – whenever we wish we can do something, but can’t because of lockdown, we write it down. When this is over, we’ll start working through the list.

Maths and English lessons with grandparents, via Skype.

Trying our hand at calligraphy with a free online course.

Tate Gallery – great activities for kids such as making art in the style of Andy Warhol.

Parenting tips from Oxford University, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation – helpful tips in a really digestible format for time-strapped parents.

And ultimately – one of the best messages on WhatsApp this week – do not be too hard on yourself. Most of us are not trained teachers. All kudos goes out to the profession. We are parents doing our best in difficult times.

Send us your ideas – email 

And what we’re hearing from local mums:

“It is a challenge. My youngest will only do any work if I’m sitting with him, which isn’t surprising, but while working from home at the same time, this is impossible. My middle child has been on strike with school work although has really enjoyed baking and reading. I’m trying to relax and not force her too much, hopefully she will get into the swing of it. My eldest seems more motivated about school work but she is really missing the social interaction of school. We are all looking forward to the weekend!” Sue, Surbiton

“I started the first day really motivated with what I could teach but felt so deflated by the end. The kids said one lunchtime that home schooling was brilliant, but by the end of the day, the eldest said he hadn’t learned anything.” Kate, Kingston.

“We did a project on deadly animals of America. My 7-year-old listed ‘Donald Trump’ next to alligators and spiders.” Jenny, KT2

“It’s a cliche but I have an even greater respect for our teachers after this week, and found out that I don’t have half the patience I thought I did.” Clare, Wimbledon