Branching into Home Learning

Posted on: 25/03/2020


‘Unprecedented’ is certainly the word of the moment.  All of a sudden, the country has been thrown into turmoil and we’ve all had to find ways to adapt.  And while the global pandemic may have sparked a loo roll crisis, for most parents, this will also mean a voyage into the uncharted territory of home schooling. But how best to navigate a course through the murky waters of the school of mum and dad?  We believe the world of books may just be the key to plain sailing. Here’s how…


One book, many pages

Managing the learning of more than one child at a time can be tricky, so why not use one book to teach them all together?  Get the children involved with choosing a book they all want to read and take it on as a family.  Older children can read to the younger ones, or you’ll be able to find many books online or through audiobook apps.  Most stories will lend themselves to lots of different writing opportunities: 

- Write a letter or email to one of the characters

- Become one of the characters and write their diary entry for a particular event or a day in their life

- Write a postcard from a voyage or journey

- Act out a missing scene or a conversation between two characters that isn’t recorded in the book - use puppets if you have them

- Create a fact file about a place, animal or person featured in the book

- Describe a scene in lots of detail - even better if you’re studying a picture book!

- Write a news report about an event that has taken place


Stories in multiple formats

Choose books that are also films or animations.  Children will enjoy being able to make comparisons between the written and screen versions of the same story.  Talk to them about what they imagined when they were reading and how things look different onscreen; become critics and write book or film reviews; interview the stars; maybe even take part in a little living room drama and broadcast your performance to family and friends!


Choose books that have legs (not literally!)

The great thing about home learning is that you’ll have the freedom to tap into the things you know your children - and you - are really interested in.   Books can provide the perfect starting point for learning that ends up branching in multiple directions; allow children to lead their learning and you’ll be surprised where you end up!

Take a fantastic book like Lost and Foundby Oliver Jeffers as an example.  Not only is this a brilliant story (which the man himself just so happens to have recorded live recently) but it also lends itself nicely to all sorts of geographical and scientific enquiry, as well as technology and art activities.  Why not follow the characters’ journey on a world map?  Explore the South Pole and the creatures that live there? Or even make a boat to help them sail safely on their way? Choose the right book and before long you’ll have a sprawling project covering multiple curriculum areas.


Make it a family affair

We’re all in this together, right?  Rather than seeing home schooling as a battle, why not make this an opportunity to take part in a little learning yourself? Find something you and your children are all interested in and see where you end up.


Little and often

Dare we say it, but now is not the time to be worrying about National Curriculum coverage.  The best thing we can do for our children is to make learning meaningful, purposeful and above all else…fun!  Using books means you can read a chapter here and there and repeat readings of shorter books for younger children.  In fact, the more times the better, especially if they can learn parts of it and join in with actions.

So whichever books you choose and whichever direction you end up in, take your time, break the day into chunks and don’t worry if you’re ‘doing it right’.  After all, home learning is a daunting task even for the best of teachers.  You’re doing a great job.

If you want to find out more about our Home Learning Branches to support you and your family on your venture into book-based learning, visit our website at

Posted in: Home Learning | Curriculum

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