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.

Primary


Literacy / numeracy:

Twinkl.ie
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.

Khan Academy
Nonprofit site that provides free video tutorials in maths and reading.

IXL.com 
Subscription-based learning experience that provides curriculum-aligned maths and English content from junior infants up to sixth year.

Storyberries.com
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.

handwritingpractice.net
Whatever happened to the art of handwriting? This site lets you create custom handwriting practice worksheets.

Sarah Webb’s writing games
Award-winning children’s writer Sarah Webb is posting fun writing games and story prompts over on Twitter (@sarahwebbishere).

Gaeilge:

Cúla4 (cula4.com)
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.

Cogg.ie (cogg.ie/bunchar-aiseanna/)
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.

Physical education:

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.

Coding:

Scratch (scratch.mit.edu)
Learn to program interactive games, stories and animations

Geography:

National Geographic Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com):
Learn about science, geography and history.

Nasa Kids’ Club (nasa.gov/kidsclub):
Child-friendly resource where kids can learn about science and space.

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

Games/tests:

Kahoot.com
Search from millions of existing games on any topic such as brain teasers, trivia of all sorts, news quizzes and science.

Special needs:

SEN Teacher (senteacher.org)
This site has free special-needs teaching resources and learning materials. Its print tools allow you to create, adapt and share resources.

Secondary school resources


Spanish:

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.

Gaeilge:

Vifax
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

Leavingcertirish.com
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.

History:

Century series
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.
irishtimes.com/century
 

WaterfordMemories.com
The lives and experiences of women in Waterford’s Magdalene Laundry can be a great case study for history and CSPE students.

Geography:

Eoin Hughes
Geography teacher Eoin Hughes (@_ehughes_) has compiled Leaving Cert Geography resources here: bit.ly/2TKWCMu and Junior Cert resources here: http://bit.ly/2TR4GeZ

Politics and Society:

PolSocPodcast.com
PolSocPodcast.com covers all things and is presented by Dr Jerome Devitt, a teacher of Politics & Society, History, and English.

Maths:

Joyce Mahon's teaching resources
Maths teacher Joyce Mahon has compiled Leaving Cert suggestions on jmmaths.weebly.com

TheMathsTutor.ie
Provides online support and exam preparation for Junior Cert & Leaving Cert maths. Subscription-based, but a free trial is available.

French:

EssentialFrench.ie
Students of French should check out teacher Natasha Lynch’s excellent resources, which are available on EssentialFrench.ie. Her Snapchat account is particularly popular.

Physics:

SophiaPhysics.ie
SophiaPhysics.ie has a resources section and is covering topics for Junior and Leaving Cert physics while telling the story of related physicists.

English:

SCCEnglish.ie
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

AoifesNotes.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.

Graphics:

Irish Graphic Teacher
Will Nolan is sharing graphics videos on the IrishGraphicsTeacher channel.youtube.com/channel/UCanBKZVzCbgzO-LomL-gp4w

Art:

Sheila Flaherty’s art tutorials
Teacher Sheila Flaherty has posted online art tutorials for children at youtu.be/3hSWT86uyxk.

Revision:

Dublin Academy (dublinacademy.ie)
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.

iRevise (irevise.com)
This Irish revision website is providing students with free study resources for a month due to the school closures.

Studyclix (Studyclix.ie)
One of the most popular of Ireland’s study websites, it offers notes, videos and a forum for students preparing for the Junior and Leaving Cert.

Protutor (protutor.ie)
It is running a series of free webinars on Leaving Cert accounting topics aimed at fifth and sixth years next week.

Studynotes (studynotes.ie)
Students and teachers can use the free platform to share their notes and resources.

ExamLearn.ie
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.

Teacher supports

PDST (pdst.ie/DistanceLearning):
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.

Cogg.ie (cogg.ie/bunchar-aiseanna/)
Is féidir cuardach a dhéanamh ar líne do na háiseanna atá ar fáil do theagasc na Gaeilge nó don teagasc trí Ghaeilge.

Edco e-books (edcolearning.ie)
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.

TeacherCPD.ie
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. padlet.com/ciarareillymarino/primarydistancelearning

@specialedteacherireland
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.