School closures during this third national lockdown once again mean that carers are trying to teach their kids at home, requiring a range of resources.
And thanks to television presenter Holly Willoughby, one mum will be getting a little something extra to help her home education mission. During a phone-in segment of ITV’s This Morning with agony aunt Deidre Sanders, a woman shared her worries about homeschooling.
She mentioned that she didn’t own a printer – which she thought might help with giving lessons. In a kind gesture, Holly offered to give the caller her spare one.
We know that there are lots of great online resources out there, but if you’re keen that your child doesn’t spend too long looking at a screen, downloading and printing out worksheets means they can work device-free.
Here we’ve picked out some things we think will help if you want to use worksheets as part of your child’s learning, including the best printers, helpful education websites with printable activities, and desks.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
A decent printer can be a good investment both for homeschooling and homeworking: every now and then it helps to have a printed version of something you’re looking at.
And if you’re concerned about the cost, you needn't pay huge amounts for a good printer. This good-value Epson expression home XP-3100 (£49.99, Argos) made it into our rundown of the best wireless printers of 2020.
Our reviewer noted: “There’s one black cartridge and three individual colour ones here, which helps keep costs down – usually budget-priced printers have much higher ink costs.”
It doesn’t have a touch screen like some pricier ones do, but it does print on both sides, which we like.
If you’ve got a little more budget, this Canon pixma TS8350 (£139.99, John Lewis & Partners) won our best buy award.
Our tester described this printer as “a great all-rounder that matches a good price with fast and effective performance”. They described print quality as “consistently impressive” across both text pages and colour photos.
There are six inks: four dye-based inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, black blue) and two which are pigment-based (photo blue and black).
With a printer purchased, the next step is to find some great resources to print out on it.
Education site Twinkl has thousands of free worksheets to download, and even says that if you tell it about a resource you’d like, it will try and make it for you.
The site made it into our round-up of the best online resources for homeschooling, which noted that it’s “particularly helpful if you have kids across different learning abilities, aged from three to 16”.
Another site to try is Learning Resources. It has a whole section of activities for preschoolers and children in key stages one and two.
There are also three weekly planners that set out timetables for the day, including activities like Joe Wicks’s PE classes, as well as set times for creative fun, maths and English.
If space allows, giving your child their own desk will hopefully go some way to helping them feel they’re really “doing” school at home.
This stylish stackable desk and chair (£75, Cuckooland) is great for small spaces.
Our reviewer of the best kids’ desks commented: “We popped this in the corner of the lounge, where it doubled as an unobtrusive coffee table, and we noticed that our six-year-old tester gravitated towards drawing much more than watching TV with this in place. As it can be stacked away, it would work well to have two in a shared bedroom.”
For something with a more nostalgic feel, you might like this kids’ writing desk (£89.99, Wayfair).
It’s grey colour gives a modern twist to the traditional school desk, and it is practical too.
Our tester said: “There’s a safety catch on the lid to prevent little fingers from getting hurt, and lots of room beneath the desktop – really handy for tidying away school supplies at the end of the day.”
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