Homeschooling Resources UK
The following resources are books, websites and other home education / homeschooling resources that my family personally use and I recommend (we have home educated for nearly 10 years). I will continue adding to this list of UK homeschooling resources as I discover and review more. If you are looking for a ready-made annual homeschooling curriculum please read my post on UK homeschooling curriculum. I also recommend the following of my blog posts:
- What We Learned In One Unschooling Day
- What is Unschooling?
- The Only 10 Things You Need To Home Educate
- The Benefit of NOT Being Academic While Home Educating Your Child
These posts will help you to relax around the idea of needing lots of different resources, as well as helping with how to implement them. I particularly recommend learning about strewing in your homeschool as a great way of introducing new things without pressure!
Best Homeschooling Books
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the number of homeschool books and it isn’t necessary to have tons and tons of each type in your home. For this reason I have simply listed the top 3 homeschooling books that I would recommend for getting started if you are following a traditional approach (these are suitable for all primary children).
For easy, simple English homeschool workbooks our top 3 are:
- The Collins Easy Learning series
- Carol Vorderman English made Easy books
- The Scholastic English 100 Practice Activities Books
For primary Maths homeschooling books I would recommend:
- Carol Vorderman Maths made Easy books
- Letts 5 Minutes a Day Maths
- The Scholastic Maths 100 Practice Activities Books
For primary History studies our top homeschool books 3 are:
- The Horrible Histories books by Terry Deary- funny, fascinating and gruesome stories and facts from the past
- The DK History Year by Year encyclopaedia, providing an excellent timeline and commentary of notable events
- The Smithsonian Visual Guide to Natural History, perfect for animal or nature lovers
Do look at my specific History curriculum post for more amazing books!
For Art, our top 3 books for homeschooling are:
- The Children’s Interactive Story of Art, a great introduction to fine art and different techniques, artists and works.
- Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking & Mixed Media
- “I’m NOT just a Scribble”– a beautifully written and illustrated book showing children that every artwork and effort is unique and valuable.
For homeschooling Geography our top 3 are:
- This illustrated children’s atlas as a beautiful visual resource covering every continent and country
- The National Geographic Kids’ First Atlas, packed full of info and pictures from around the world
- The Horrible Geographies series for going more in-depth into specific subjects such as ‘Raging Rivers’ and ‘Earth-shattering Earthquakes.’
For homeschooling Science our top 3 are:
- The National Geographic Science encyclopaedia
- The Dorling Kindersley 101 Great Science Experiments (for classroom or home)
- Mistakes That Worked: 40 brilliant inventions and how the came to be
(Be sure to check out Science homeschool curriculum for even more fun!)
For social learning and imaginative books, my top 3 picks for children’s bookcases are:
- Little People, Big Dreams series (beautifully illustrated biographical accounts of amazing people such as Martin Luther King, Jane Goodall and Marie Curie)
- The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton
- The Boy In the Dress by David Walliams
Educational Websites & Apps
These are websites (organised by subject) that provide info, games or lessons for kids- many are free! Using these you can put together your own free UK online school that is tailored to meet your child’s unique passions and abilities.
Literacy Home Education Resources
Teach Your Monster To Read: A fun and interactive free online school reading program that helps kids learn to read with their ‘monster’, from the beginning stages through to older kids who need a bit more practise. It works on iPhones, iPads, Android and Kindle tablets as well as any laptop or desktop.
Reading Eggs: Reading Eggs uses animation, bright colours and fun characters to keep kids engaged in an interactive multi-level program from phonic identification to more complex challenges. This has been an absolute game changer for our family when it comes to teaching reading! You can get a free trial of Reading Eggs; the annual subscription is £39.95.
Lovatts Crosswords and Puzzles: I love this website- choose from crosswords, word searches, Sudoku and quadra puzzles in themes from ‘mythical creatures’ to ‘at the park’.
All You Can Books: This audio and e-book website has over 40,000 titles on offer and you can get a ‘all-you-can-read’ free trial for 30 days.
Pixton is a brilliant app that lets children create and edit their own comics and graphic novels
Maths Home Education Resources
Mathletics:This is a great platform for helping children with various maths concepts through games, activities and tests. Mathletics is around £59 for an annual subscription, working out to less than £5 per month. A free trial is often on offer.
NRICH is a maths website project put together by Cambridge University in order to help children thrive in maths.There are resources for both primary and secondary children as well as teachers.
The Funbrain Maths Zone has plenty of attractive maths games and activities for all ages.
AAAMath is a website with thousands of free maths lessons, games and activities for children from Reception to Year 8.
Daily Sudoku For Kids: Does what it says on the tin- daily printable Sudoku puzzles for children!
The Maths Factor is Carol Vorderman’s website for teaching children maths and has a 2 week free trial as well as 93% parent satisfaction rate.
DragonBox is an app that gives children aged 6+ a good foundation in understanding numbers, through play. DragonBox Algebra introduces children to algebra in a fun way, either from age 5+ or 12+ and DragonBox Elements introduces children to geometry with over 100 fun games.
Mathantics YouTube channel has a collection of videos about mathematic terms and concepts, explained and illustrated simply.
Video Math Tutor YouTube channel has many maths lessons for all ages, including brain teasers for interactive learning.
3 Blue 1 Brown is a maths YouTube channel that strives to teach through graphic animations- great for visual learners!
Science Home Education Resources
Nasa Kids’ Club offers children a fascinating insight into space and the Universe through games, cartoons and mission info.
Nat Geo Kids opens up the natural world to children in a fascinating and interactive way. Activities on the website each have objectives for multiple subjects, so it is an excellent resource for exploring by topic or subject.
Science Kids.co.nz: A huge free resource of science-related info, games, activities and challenges. From Earth facts to science word scrambles and plant-growing activities, kids will love browsing this science site.
LoveBalls is a great app for mastering the basics of Physics- kids create ramps and tunnels to get the two cute balls to meet!
Star Walk is a brilliant map of the night sky- hold the device up and the app depicts each star and constellation above you.
The Human Body app has interactive chapters that teaches children about the foundations of human anatomy.
Periodic Table App showcases each element in their natural state as well as with real-life applications; children can also explore the discovery of the elements throughout history.
Science360 offers scientific news, games, videos and articles, updated weekly.
SciShow Kids is a YouTube channel full of ideas for scientific activities and experiments as well as myth-busting videos about the natural world.
Nat Geo Kids‘ Youtube channel has wonderful, weird and wacky videos featuring science, pets, nature and more.
NASA’s YouTube channel offers an insight into astronauts’ lives and satellite cameras around the world.
Mr. Fast is a YouTube channel that showcases amazing inventions and incredible engineering to inspire kids to get creative and enjoy science.
AnimalWonders Montana YouTube channel has plenty of animal care and fact videos featuring unusual animals such as sugar gliders and beavers.
Minute Physics is a super fun YouTube channel with live animated drawings explaining fascinating scientific concepts and facts such as “is it better to walk or run in the rain?” and “Einstein’s biggest blunder”.
Seeker YouTube channel offers enthralling insights into the natural world and the science that underpins it.
Charlis Crafty Kitchen YouTube channel is run by two kids who love to bake and make tasty kids-friendly treats.
The Brain Scoop is a YouTube channel all about natural history and biology and includes some fascinating dissection videos (caution advised!)
Music Home Education Resources
New York Philarmonic Kids Zone is a fantastic website with many games, puzzles and activities for children to learn all about music.
Classics For Kids is a children’s website dedicated to learning all about classic music through podcasts, clickable music pieces, games and a “Composer of the week” focus.
VirtualDrumming.com is a great website for learning all you need to know about drumming, including video lessons, quizzes and virtual drum sessions!
Music Tech Teacher is a free website for children interested in learning music technology.
Joytunes has the Simply Piano app- a brilliant resource that teaches children to play the piano in a simple step-by-step process.
Art Home Education Resources
Art For Kids Hub is a user-friendly platform that has loads of drawing and art tutorials for children.
RedTedArt.com is a great resource for arts and crafts, including ideas for creative sessions and free printables for children.
Moriah Elizabeth is a highly creative and engaging YouTuber who does all kinds of quirky art and craft activities on her channel.
5 Minute Craft Kids YouTube channel does what it says on the tin- from making dolls house furniture to DIY soap, all from around 5 minutes!
Cartooning for Kids YouTube channel has a lot of tutorials including how to draw many of our kids’ favourite characters from Spiderman to Pokemon!
Duo Lingo is a free language-learning website and app that offers over 30 languages to choose from. This is perfect for adults too so why not embark on a new learning journey with your child?
BBC Bitesize offers basic lessons in French, German, Mandarin and Spanish.
Rosetta Stone offers online learning in Spanish, French, German and English for both adults and children.
Do look at my specific Spanish homeschool curriculum post too!
60 Second Histories by Squaducation offers a 2 week free trial and has over 300 history videos and activities (plus a discount for home educators!) It also has 20 videos that are free to view without registration.
Historyforkids.net: Touch on Tudor topics and delve into the Druids with this free and comprehensive history website for children (and curious adults). Download free PDF worksheets and colouring sheets on different history topics or play games and quizzes online!
More Cross-Curricular ‘Activities + Printables’ Websites
Twinkl: This is a go-to for primary school teachers and is a colossal goldmine of printable games, lesson plans, wall charts/signs and the like for all subjects. You can join this Facebook group which will notify you when the homeschool discount is available, as well as providing a community of other parents homeschooling with Twinkl!
Ducksters.com is a packed website with separate sections for History, People of Interest, Geography and Science.
CBBC: Play games featuring CBBC famous faces, take quizzes, watch CBBC programs and find info on your favourite topics on this completely free website for kids. We particularly enjoy the material in the ‘animals’ topic section, with wildlife odd-one-outs and dino footprint classes.
Activity Village is a great primary resource and contains everything from printable life-cycles and water-cycles to printable jigsaw puzzles and maths challenge colouring sheets. Loads of the resources are completely free and there is a paid upgrade option at just £17.50 for a full year of access!
Education.com has over 30,000 lesson plans, printable worksheets and online games across a wide range of subjects.
BBC Bitesize is a free website that offers guides, videos and revision lessons for both primary and secondary aged children.
Open Learn is the Open University’s free online program portal and has over 1000 free courses, videos and more.
Khan Academy is one of the most popular educational websites out there and offers unlimited resources in maths, science, arts and humanities.
Apps For Fun
Apps for mobile devices are excellent resources when it comes to making your own free online school. They are both fun and educational and many are enjoyable for adults too!
Geocaching is an app that reveals the location of secret buried treasure (‘geocaches’) around your local area – a brilliant way to spend a day out with kids!
Minecraft is an immersive small-world experience where players can mine for resources, raise animals, defend their territory and build infinite possibilities.
Pokemon Go is a super fun way to get out and about- users hunt for and capture digital creatures in the real world!
Flow Free has over 2000 puzzles for children to enjoy while developing key skills.
Toca Boca Builder is a brightly coloured app for children who like to design, create and build whatever they like.
Annual Memberships (Days Out)
Investing in annual memberships is one of the ways in which we keep our homeschool costs down (see the exact amount we spend on homeschooling here). If we are at a loose end we can simply head to one of the places for which we have a membership and presto, an easy and free day out!
National Trustmemberships start at just £6 a month and are a fantastic way for children (and adults too!) to explore nature, history and art in a living, hands-on way. There are more than 500 National Trust properties around the country so we’ve found it brilliant for free days out while holidaying in the UK as well as at home!
The Merlin Pass is one of the most popular annual memberships for families and several of our friends swear by it- unsurprisingly as the membership gets you unlimited free entry to Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers, Legoland, the London Eye, Madam Tussauds, the SeaLife centres and more (over 30 attractions!) The Merlin Pass is now offering monthly payments which makes it much more affordable than it used to be.
RSPB Wildlife Charity membership gives you free access to over 170 nature reserves as well as free welcome gifts, a welcome pack, quarterly magazines and more.
English Heritage properties include Stonehenge, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle as well as 400 other sites to explore- all free for members.
The Forestry Commission membership offers free parking at Forestry Commission forests as well as discounts on outdoor companies such as Go Ape, Forest Holidays and Muddy Puddles clothing.
Educational Subscription Boxes
We started using subscription boxes around a year ago as a way to have interesting and novel activities to do without me having to think of them all the time- I also think they are absolutely brilliant as the kids think of them as presents, as opposed to ‘educational resources’.
They can’t wait to get stuck into them and we have tried everything from STEM to gardening to cookery boxes- here are our favourites! You can sign up to each of these through the same platform, www.uopen.com– I have an exclusive discount of 10% off for my readers when you use the code adventuretravelfamily.
Mud and Bloom box– this is a wonderful, novel and creative box that comes with everything you need for your children to both grow lovely plants (edible and decorative) and create other outdoor crafts such as sundials, stained glass and wind chimes.
Our Little Globe box comes with a box of country-themed goodies including a spice pouch to make a local dish, a kids’ passport, stickers and crafts as well as a suitcase to store their creations.
The Foodini Postal Club delivers one sweet and one savoury recipe for children as well as a related craft and info sheets about ingredients- vegetarian and often vegan friendly, this is great for kids who really want to get stuck into their cooking!
Sand Art box – a great package to make sand art on canvas, including glue, sand, canvases and a little wooden easel for display!
The Letterbox Lab is a handy kit of 5-10 science experiments in every box, from making magnetic slime to discovering ‘dinosaur poop’ and more! Includes gifts to build up a kit including safety goggles, a microscope and more so that children get the full ‘scientist’ experience.
The Space Journey box is perfect for future astronauts- each box comes packed with activities, facts, stickers and gifts such as dehydrated astronaut meals to try or space sunglasses.
Cookie Crumbles Baking Club delivers all-natural baking mixes from blueberry and vanilla muffins to chewy chocolate chunk cookies- ideal for children to develop confidence and independence in the kitchen as well as trying new flavours and textures!
Play Based Learning Resources
There are some resources that have become invaluable to our kids in terms of play based learning. Our girls enjoy these at home or at their homeschooling groups; all of these are high quality and long-lasting.
STEM toys are a brilliant way of engaging children in fun activities that stretch and expand their critical thinking, logic and fine motor skills. I wrote a whole post on the best STEM toys for children and I would highly recommend you invest in a couple of these as an excellent base for home education.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to have fun, increase concentration and are a perfect rainy day activity. We love these excellent puzzles (many are Usborne jigsaw and book sets):
- The Solar System (48 pcs)
- Jungle Animals (100 pcs)
- The Periodic Table (200 pcs)
- Insects & Bugs (100 pcs)
- A map of London (100 pcs)
- The World Atlas (300 pcs)
- Flags of the World (300 pcs)
- A map of Great Britain and Ireland (300 pcs)
- A map of Europe (300 pcs)
Snap Circuits are a fantastic introduction to physics for children, who can use the equipment provided to create their own machines including an AM radio, lie detector, a touch lamp and more!
Schleich Animal figures are the most anatomically correct animal figures on the market and we have bought these on a regular basis since Esmae was a baby- they’ll last forever so our grandkids will be able to enjoy them too, and our girls play with them every day!
Magnatiles are durable coloured tiles that can be used for STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) activities as well as simple construction and imagination play.
LEGO is also an excellent and timeless resource for STEM and imaginative play, either individually or in groups. There are some great LEGO books that have suggested builds and themed ideas to complement play. We have a lot of the basic bricks as well as specific project sets.
Playmobil is our favourite small-world play resource; we have many different playsets and it gets taken out to play at least once every day!
We got a Smart Globe when the girls were tiny and us adults found it just as fascinating as the kids! This globe goes from day to night showing 88 constellations, and has plenty of facts and info via the interactive app.
Homeschooling Support Networks
I have written a whole post about the best UK homeschooling support groups and how to find your local home educating community. The following websites and online groups are a great way to get support in your homeschooling journey. If you would like to meet other homeschooling families in your area, search for local groups on Facebook or ask in these bigger groups:
Home Schooling UK Facebook Group is an active and supportive group for anyone homeschooling in the UK (primary or secondary)
Home Schooling Ideas and Projects UK is a place where parents can share ideas for homeschooling projects and activities
Home Education in London does what it says on the tin… activities, groups and info for those in the London area.
Homeschool Room Organisation & Storage
I have written a whole post on how we organise our homeschool room and the educational toys we love, so here are the highlights of that post:
Trofast drawer combinations are our other go-to for homeschool room organisation; they can be bought at any height and it is a brilliant way to organise art, maths and science supplies.
Expandable Filers are how we keep our children’s work stored and organised; the multiple compartments mean that separate subjects can be easily found and having one file per child works very well as a neat and organised record of what they have done each year.
Tuff Trays are absolutely brilliant for messy play such as exploring non-Newtonian fluid (cornflour and water!), sand and of course slime, or simply having Lego and Playmobil readily accessible! At the homeschool group our children attend there are several Tuff Trays so the children can choose an activity Montessori-style, and they work perfectly for either keeping your floor free from mess or as outdoor-play areas. These elasticated covers will protect whatever you put inside your Tuff Trays!
I hope this post on our favourite homeschooling resources has been helpful; please take a look at the rest of my homeschooling blog posts for more info and advice on UK homeschooling!