COVID-19: HEing for Non-HEed Kids

This article has been put together by the kindness of the Cambridgeshire home educating community in response to the school shutdown following the COVID-19 UK lockdown.

If you are out of school for a prolonged period of time due to health reasons, such as COVID-19, it is not the same as straightforward home educating.


Firstly, we normally take a de-schooling period (one month off any structured learning for every year of being in school), we organise groups, socials and ‘school’ trips (all of which clearly aren’t possible when house bound), and a routine isn’t necessary for every HEing family, which often isn’t the case for those that are used to the regularity of the school day.

However, if you are currently out of school because of COVID-19 and you are looking for a bit more direction…

  • Your school should be sending you resources and directing you through the next few months as your child learns from home. If they are not, complain very LOUDLY.
  • Facebook: There are multiple facebook groups that have been set up for school closure parents.
  • The national curriculum is available online which you can use to compare what your child is doing and how they are doing with the ‘industry average’: (Note: The NC is an average desired level of attainment in very specific areas, as a result it does not measure a huge number of skills and abilities that are necessary or desirable for a complete and fulfilling life. It also tells you nothing about the intelligence of a child, whether they hit those goals or not. All children are different and will develop at their own pace regardless of what the Secretary of State for Education says.)
  • Workbooks that follow the curriculum such as: Letts, Carol Vordermann, Bond, CGP, etc.
  • If necessary there are a number of online tutors and a number of school teachers who are teaching online during this outbreak. Ask on your local facebook groups or search the national tutor websites.
  • Use Skype/Zoom/Google Hangout/anything similar with your kids and others to socialise and talk through any part of their learning they are struggling with or have found useful. Maybe look through a stimulus first, e.g. a documentary and then come together to discuss and answer questions. 
  • Organise sessions with other parents from your children’s classes and come up with ways to cover the course material – loads of resources online, and meet up in one of the above forums to deliver the session. 

Learning at home

  • Find a routine and/or work/reward scheme that works for your child, e.g. 2 maths pages every morning, 20 mins computer time for each page completed. As the child may not be prepared to initially respond to the parent taking on the role of teacher, huge amounts of encouragement might be needed.
  • Still need exercise. If you are trapped in a home, following online/Youtube dance tutorials, aerobic exercise sessions, yoga tutorials (Cosmic Kids is specifically for younger ones, but it is funnier watching your 17 year old follow it) etc. can be fun. Can also do things like turning the kitchen table into a table tennis table, turn your sitting room into a disco, start an indoor boot camp regime (not so much fun for some, but necessary for your more active beastie). Children (and adults) without exercise get nasty and irritable, and they find it much harder to learn. 
  • This is an opportunity to spend time learning new skills or breaking away from the schooliness for a little while if they choose.
  • Relax, enjoy the family time and learn through cooking, gardening, crafts and following own interests.
  • Use the opportunity to do cross-curricular projects on something they are particularly interested in, or to make sense of this current situation. E.g. keep a daily diary (look at other diarist who documented world changing events at the time, such as Samuel Pepys (great fire of London) and Pliny the Younger (Vesuvius eruption)), understanding risk by analysing probability and speed of contamination, look at the science behind infections, viruses, bacteria etc., analyse the effects and causes of globalisation, look at the environmental impact of the cut in movement on a global, international, national and local level, research and make storeroom cupboard meals (Jamie Oliver cooking program on Channel 4, specifically for this outbreak), workout your desert island discs, book and luxury item, look at the lives of other people who were famously isolated (such as Napoleon, stranded arctic explorers) etc. etc.


Resources and teaching ideas

Resources that are freely available as a result of COVID-19

Other bits

  • Everything is on Youtube, whatever you want to learn about.
  • Read – together, alone, someone else doing it for you… it is all good.


Lockdowns around the world are showing a rise in domestic violence (, so it is really important that anyone who needs help now knows it is still available. 

Here are a couple of links for anyone looking for extra support:

Save lives:


Women’s Aid:

Cambridge Women’s aid:


Support for male abuse victims:

Support for those who have suffered from childhood abuse and feelings of trauma have resurfaced due to this outbreak: 


Getting help to stop being a perpetrator of domestic violence:



There is also support for those that are suffering mental health crises, such as anxiety and depression, for children, teens and adults, be it a pre-existing condition or one that stems from this particularly weird situation we find ourselves in:

Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind:

The Samaritans:

Support during Covid outbreak:

Mind for children and young people: – also has many blogs, tips etc. for supporting young people through this pandemic.


If you are in a bad place at the moment, get help. You don’t have to go through it alone.

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