Thousands of parents have opted to educate their children at home since the first Covid lockdown.

Covid fears have led to a huge rise in the number of parents taking their children out of school to be home educated.

A survey of 151 local councils by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services estimates that as many as 75,668 children were home educated on 1 October, up from 54,656 a year before.

What has driven the change?

Many families said they intended to send their children back to school once they felt reassured about their concerns over the pandemic. These might be worries children infecting vulnerable adults shielding at home or the children themselves contracting the virus.

But some parents said they made their decision because they had had such a positive experience home-schooling their children during the first lockdown, which started in March.

However, for the parents of children with special educational or mental health needs, home-schooling may be a last resort, driven by lack of support.

But whatever the reason, parents who exercise their right to take their children out of school face enormous challenges. What programme of work should they follow? Should the children guide the learning or should it be imposed, with the parent in the role of conventional teacher? How can they keep their child engaged in learning? What should they do when concentration fades?

A group of former primary school teachers have come to the rescue with Learn at Home Packs. Each one contains eight lessons with teacher-led teaching input videos, parent-friendly friendly lesson plans, slideshow presentations and printable worksheets.

Oli Ryan of educational resource gurus PlanBee said: ‘We hope these packs will take some of the pressure off parents who are new to home schooling. They’re designed specifically for mums and dads, so there’s no educational jargon. Educating your children at home can seem a pretty daunting prospect, but with these packs we think we’re helping with the heavy lifting.

The packs cover interesting and unusual topics such as forensic science, Italian culture, women’s suffrage and even include simple easy-to-follow cookery lessons.

We wanted to make sure that the lesson packs were educational, but interesting and fun, too,’ says Oli. ‘We’ve made sure they cover topics that children are unlikely to have learnt about in school previously – hopefully it’ll all be new to them!’

PlanBee have put one of the lesson videos up online for FREE, so you can get a taste of what’s included in the packs. And there’s a great money-off offer for the whole of December here.