How to make home educating work: tips from the experts


Are you wondering how on earth to manage home education now that schools are closed again? We want to help you to bring science to life on your kitchen table and have made loads of resources available for you right here. They include:


🧪 Activities from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club These simple, fun, home science ideas using household objects were designed for school science clubs and youth groups, but work brilliantly for home school too!
🧪 Curriculum-linked science activities and reading comprehensions
These hands-on science experiments and science reading comprehensions are linked to the National Curriculum for children in years 2 to 6. They’re ideal for use at home and each one includes a straightforward explanation of the science involved.
🧪 Virtual science quiz for kids
More quizzes coming soon!
🧪 Collectible science badges to earn
Your child can earn their Wildlife Watcher, Eco Hero and Super Scientist awards!
🧪 Super science-themed colouring pages and posters!

Keep reading to find out how our experts make home educating work…


The first attempt at home-educating was a culture shock for our editor Tammy back in March 2020. Tammy had a picture in her head of how home-schooling would be – a structured daily routine with children sitting neatly at the kitchen table, completing the work she’d set them, whilst she herself was working away on her laptop beside them. Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way! It didn’t help that Tammy had builders in repairing her roof that week, resulting in a ceiling collapsing! The whole family was in tears before the first morning was out.

And here we are again – schools have suddenly closed and many parents’ brains are exploding at the prospect of keeping their children engaged in education while juggling their own jobs and responsibilities. While many of us have already had one stint of homeschooling, things are different this time around – schools’ expectations have changed, and many of us haven’t quite shaken off the lazy Christmas holiday routine yet – so, we thought we’d ask for some advice from our lovely home-educating Whizz Pop Bang readers and gather some top tips. We hope you find them useful…

1. Learn through everyday activities
Don’t underestimate the amount of learning there is in just being. As you chat, children will learn from the language you use. Look at the clock and notice which hands move faster. Get busy in the kitchen – cooking is an exciting new subject when children reach secondary school but can be done from a very young age at home and includes lots of learning potential of the maths of weights, measures, volumes and ratios, and also the science of chemistry and reactions. Do the laundry and feed animals together, and discuss what you’re doing. It’s all useful learning.

2. You don’t need to sit at the kitchen table for hours
Practically none of the school day is 1-on-1 attention. Lots of it is crowd management, such as dealing with undesirable behaviour, changing for PE, queuing to leave the classroom, going to assemblies, etc. If you manage four half hour 1-on-1 bursts, that’s probably more than they do in primary school, so don’t stress. You really don’t need to sit them down at a desk for hours on end.

3. Let them build their own schedule 
In school all children follow the whole class timetable. Take this rare opportunity to let them set one or two things they would like to achieve for themselves in their day (tidy a shelf, read something, make something). And then see how they scheduled their day to achieve it. Failing is a useful learning experience. Was it too ambitious or did it need better time management?

4. Try not asking them to do anything
Just leave interesting, educational things about and wait for your child to be inspired to want to learn more about something that interests them. Instead of setting work that you choose for them, experiment with exploring something that they find interesting that day, whether that’s a ladybird they’ve found on the windowsill or something they saw on TV that morning, and ask them to investigate that some more. They can find information from the internet, books or magazines and create a project by drawing, clay modelling, writing, acting or however they want to present their findings.

5. Go easy on yourselves
It’s going to take time to find a system that works for you and your kids. The whole family will need lots of time to adapt, so try to ease yourselves into a style that works for you all. You might find it easier to wait a few days until they get bored of having nothing to do and are feeling more receptive to learning. Whatever you do, go easy on yourselves. Avoid setting yourselves up for failure. Go with the flow and remember not to worry if you feel you haven’t achieved anything that day – there’s learning in just playing in the garden!

After their disastrous first morning, our editor Tammy’s 8-year-old son said, “It’s a bit like the first pancake that never works very well.” And we think that’s a lovely philosophy that can get you through almost any less-than-ideal start. Keep flipping pancakes and you’ll soon be rewarded with success!

Here are some more tips for juggling home-schooling with home-working  and you’ll find lots of really useful home-educating resources here

If you’re looking for a more structured approach, Whizz Pop Bang’s in-house teacher recommends getting some CGP books. Simply select your child’s year group and perhaps start with a maths, a reading and a SPAG book.

These free websites are also worth exploring:
Primary Resources
ICT Games
BBC Bitesize

Finally, the home educating community would like to point out that self-isolating is not how they normally do things! The adults in the household aren’t working full-time jobs on top of attempting to teach. They play in the park, in the woods, at the beach, have other home ed kids over, and go to all kinds of clubs and activities. Being cooped up in the house is hard for them too.

And at the end of the day, if all else fails, take heart in the proposed schedule that’s currently doing the rounds on social media…


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Mask mess

To help stop the spread of Covid-19, face coverings are now required in many countries. However, this is coming at a cost to the environment; a recent study estimated that the world is using a staggering 129 billion disposable masks each month during the pandemic.

Environmental charity Greenpeace is urging people to instead choose reusable masks wherever possible. Throwaway masks contain plastics, which clog up habitats and pose a threat to animals and nature. The World Health Organisation recommends that the public should wear suitable cloth coverings that can be washed and re-worn.

Find out how to make reusable masks here

Read the latest science news in every issue of Whizz Pop Bang magazine!


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Returning to school during COVID-19: 6 easy ways to prepare your child

By Helly Douglas

September is almost here which can only mean one thing: it’s back to school time! But preparing for the new term is a little more complicated in 2020. As well as shelling out on school shoes and packing pencil cases, there’s also the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to consider.

The latest government advice states that “all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term”, so many of us are wondering how to prepare our children for going back to school during a worldwide pandemic.

It’s natural for us all, parents and children, to feel a range of emotions about the start of a new term during this unusual time. We might be excited about our children seeing their friends and returning to learning in the classroom, but also worried about health risks and changes to normal school life.

We asked childhood mental health expert Dr Naira Wilson for her advice on how to help your child feel ready to walk back through the school gates.

1: Talk about how school will be different

There’s a fine balance between preparing your child and depressing them with all the things they can’t do. Talk calmly and factually about what it will be like when they return. Changes are different, not bad. 

Naira suggests you can help your child be curious about the changes. “Let them wonder what things will be like rather than thinking it will be good or bad.” They can tell you whether their predictions came true after their first day.

Read school communications together and note important information. It’s okay to feel in the dark or not remember all the changes. This shows them that everyone is learning a new way of schooling – even the teachers.

2: Focus on what will stay the same

Whilst there will be plenty of changes, many things continue as usual. They will still complete activities and games, see their friends and be taught by a teacher. Reminding your child of the normal features of school will reassure them they are returning to a familiar place.

Naira recommends talking about how long it took for lockdown to feel familiar. “We all went through a process of adjusting to the change,” she explains. “Our bodies slowly get used to something new until we feel comfortable again. Going back to school is another change we will get used to.”

3: Help them talk about their feelings

Children don’t share feelings on demand. Look for opportunities to talk when they feel comfortable. This could be over a meal, at bedtime, cuddled up watching TV or when out walking. Listen to their worries, even if they seem insignificant. Minor things, like which toilets to use, can feel huge to them.

Guessing and wondering how they’re feeling are great ways to begin a conversation. Sometimes children can’t articulate their emotions. Be confident with your guesses. If you’re right, they will feel you understand them. If you’re wrong, they’ll want to explain why. It shows them that parents can misunderstand sometimes – and help you find out what the real problem is.

4: Be honest about what is happening

If children know why it’s important to socially distance and wash their hands, it’s easier to get them to do it. Talk factually about COVID-19, without focusing on the risks – we’ve got more great tips from Naira on how to tackle conversations around coronavirus here. If you don’t know the answer to a question, suggest you can find out together.

Whilst you’ll want to show that you’re positive about their return, you don’t need to pretend everything is normal. Naira says, “Parents need to be honest. They can say, ‘I’m worried too because I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ It’s normal to feel worried sometimes.” 

5: Involve them in preparing for school

Children enjoy helping to get things ready. Check your school’s latest guidance and make a list for them to tick off. Let them pack their bag (with your help) so they know where everything is when they’re at school. 

Naira suggests looking for ways to give them a sense of more control over the situation. Could they make a ‘how to’ help sheet for students who will return after them? Encourage them to see themselves as leading the way for other children.

Are you feeling anxious? Children are quick to pick up on our emotions. At school drop off, smile and be positive. Help them have a great start to their first day back. 

6: Stay calm and positive

“This isn’t a whole new approach to parenting,” Naira explains. “We are always preparing our children for change. Be confidently uncertain about not knowing all the details.”

Once your child has returned to school, you’ll be surprised how quickly they adapt. The strange changes will seem normal before long. However, if your child feels anxious about returning to school, discuss any issues with their teachers and see if they can help. If your child’s feelings don’t subside, or if they get worse, contact your GP to discuss your worries.

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!

Dr Naira Wilson is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who specialises in childhood mental health.


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Thank you, science heroes!

It goes without saying that we are immensely grateful for the incredible efforts of medics and everyone who works for the NHS, and we want to extend our thanks to include all SCIENCE HEROES who are working especially hard at the moment. 

From clinical research scientists working on vaccines and cures, to engineers keeping our infrastructure up and running, to behaviour analysts working on how to ease lockdown, thousands of SCIENCE HEROES are using their amazing skills to keep the country running during the pandemic. 

We want to show them how grateful we are, so here’s an awesome poster by Whizz Pop Bang’s brilliant illustrator Clive Goodyer to print, colour and display! Find it here: www.whizzpopbang.com/lockdown-science – scroll down the page to find it in a few different sizes.

Are you a scientist key worker? We would LOVE to know what important work our readers’ families are involved in during the COVID-19 crisis!  👇


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