Homeschool hub: Our guide to the best teaching and learning resources online
Teachers and parents share their top tips for teaching during the coronavirus closures
Here we go again. Three weeks? Three months? The truth is nobody – including the Department of Education – really knows how long the schools will close for.
It’s a stressful time for parents, particularly those who have to work from home while trying to keep children engaged and educated.
With the assistance of teachers, schools and parents, we've compiled a guide to the best homeschool resources.
The good news is there are tonnes of resources out there to meet the needs of children of all ages and stages.
Literacy / numeracy:
Created by teachers, ideal for home education, it has lots of appealing games, stories, worksheets, etc. The Twinkle Go! section is free to access online during January and has lots of engaging interactive educational resources.
Irish education publishers
If you have school books, the major publishers of schoolbooks - including Edco (edco.ie), Gill Education (gillexplore.ie) and CJ Fallon (cjfallon.ie) - have online education resources for primary and secondary students available including ebooks, podcasts, games and puzzles.
RTÉ's Home School Hub
RTÉ's Home School Hub proved a big hit with students and parents during the previous school closures. Its subsequent Afterschool Hub has lots of great content. Programmes and activities can be played back on the RTÉ Player. There’s also a wide archive of ideas, worksheets and activities at rte.ie/learn.
BBC Bitesize (bbc.co.uk/bitesize)
While tailored for the UK education system, there’s a big crossover with our own and it's broken down by age range.
Nonprofit site that provides free video tutorials in maths and reading.
Subscription-based learning experience that provides curriculum-aligned maths and English content from junior infants up to sixth year.
This is a free, online collection of easy-to-read and beautifully illiustrated stories, comics and poems for kids. You can select stories by theme.
Whatever happened to the art of handwriting? This site lets you create custom handwriting practice worksheets.
This free Irish app from TG4 is aimed at two groups: Cúla4 na nÓg is aimed at under-sixes, while Cúla4 is aimed at older children. As well as TV shows, there are games and creativity sections.
Is féidir cuardach a dhéanamh ar líne do na háiseanna atá ar fáil do theagasc na Gaeilge nó don teagasc trí Ghaeilge.
Selection of primary resources
Ciara Reilly is a former primary teacher and now a lecturer in education with expertise in ICT and digital education at Marino Institute of Education. She has compiled an outstanding bank of resources at padlet.com/ciarareillymarino/primarydistancelearning, including Irish resources.
Go Noodle (gonoodle.com)
Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts and used widely by teachers who say it is a great opportunity for kids to wake up their bodies, engage their minds and be their best.
Super Troopers (supertroopers.ie)
Super Troopers offers a health homework programme that encourages children and their families to live happier and more active lifestyles.
Learn to program interactive games, stories and animations
History, Geography and Science
Órlaith Ní Fhoghlú is a third class teacher and she has put together activities and resources relating to the history, geography and science curriculum on padlet.com/orlaithnifhoghlu/wqeiqvodvbl4
Search from millions of existing games on any topic such as brain teasers, trivia of all sorts, news quizzes and science.
Susan Leahy (pancomido.wordpress.com/)
Spanish teacher Susan Leahy has a free website for Spanish teachers and students, with lots of resources for the Leaving Cert orals and the higher-level essay questions.
Leaving Cert students can keep themselves fresh by using the Vifax resources from NUI Maynooth where they take a story or two from Nuacht TG4 each week and prepare worksheets on them. vifax.maynoothuniversity.ie
Teacher John Gavin has hosted this website since 2001; it provides a host of updated learning resources relating to Leaving Cert Irish orals and the written exam. There are free daily webinars that anyone can watch live or look back on.
The Irish Times century series captures events of 100 years ago which shaped the world around us, such as the War of Independence and World War I, in vivid first-person accounts and expert analysis by today’s historians.
The lives and experiences of women in Waterford’s Magdalene Laundry can be a great case study for history and CSPE students.
Politics and Society:
PolSocPodcast.com covers all things and is presented by Dr Jerome Devitt, a teacher of Politics & Society, History, and English.
Joyce Mahon's teaching resources
Maths teacher Joyce Mahon has compiled Leaving Cert suggestions on jmmaths.weebly.com
Provides online support and exam preparation for Junior Cert & Leaving Cert maths. Subscription-based, but a free trial is available.
Students of French should check out teacher Natasha Lynch’s excellent resources, which are available on EssentialFrench.ie. Her Snapchat account is particularly popular.
SophiaPhysics.ie has a resources section and is covering topics for Junior and Leaving Cert physics while telling the story of related physicists.
Run by Julian Girdham at St Columba’s College in Rathfarnham, SCCEnglish.ie has lots of resources for post-primary English, and more resources and ideas on JulianGirdham.com
English teacher Aoife O’Driscoll has a free website and has been uploading notes for Junior Cycle and Leaving Cert English on it for over ten years now.
The Dublin-based school provdes online grinds. Some are free to access as a taster on Youtube, but you'll need to pay to access more.
Institute of Education
The Institute has live online classes and grinds, which allow students to ask questions in real time, which are delivered using Microsoft Teams. Grinds in one subject cost from €440,with discounts for more subjects.
Founded by three recent school-leavers, who between them got 30 As in the Junior Cert and over 1800 points in the Leaving Cert. Homeschool.ie provides an online grinds service for Leaving and Junior Cycle students.
The Professional Development Service for Teachers – linked to the Department of Education – has an updated section on “supporting online learning during school closures” with links to resources like Scoilnet and Webwise. It also features video to help guide teachers around online teaching.
The education publisher Edco has made ebooks for primary, Junior Cert and Leaving Cert available online. To get the username name and password to access them, see the pinned tweet at twitter.com/edco_ie
Google G suite for education
For any teachers struggling to get to grips with Google classroom, there are updated tips and tricks here on how to keep your lessons going remotely.
There are a number of short online courses in the area of digital technologies that teachers can access to upskill and gain ideas for distance learning.
Ciara Reilly’s teaching ideas
A former primary teacher and now a lecturer in education with expertise in ICT and digital education at Marino Institute of Education, Reilly has compiled an outstanding bank of resources.
This Instagram account run by Trainability.ie managing director Angela O’Connor offers resources for primary school children and children with ASD and additional needs, including how to make visual timetables for home.