Press ESC to close

Grab-and-Go Lessons

A grab-and-go lesson is just that.. a lesson you don’t need to think about because it’s ready to be picked up and learnt; lessons that can act as a filler activity or a complete lesson; be completed independently or with minimal teacher input.

Putting together resources that anyone can supervise because the lessons don’t need teaching makes life easy for the future you (parent/teacher). It’s a lesson that lets older homeschoolers learn independently using the instructions provided, or allows anyone else to step in and be the present ‘teacher’ in the class to guide younger homeschoolers. If a class needs a substitute teacher because your attention can’t be on them for that lesson (when you need to eg. make a phone call/leave the class), grab and go lessons are a useful tool to fall back on.

Knowing there is a folder of ‘lesson’ activities ready to use if you (parent) need to take a lesson off to focus on something ‘home’ related reduces some of the stress in balancing a home/school life and in teaching mode, grab and go lessons can be used to fill in time in a home-ed day or extend a lesson for one pupil if home educating siblings.

This type of lesson can include

  • Extension work for a previous lesson
  • Writing practise exercises
  • Additional worksheets (for any subject)
  • Maths games
  • Word games
  • Revision flashcards
  • Videos/ Documentaries
  • Podcast episodes etc.

Ready to Use Home-Ed Resources

Lesson fillers are where I tend to take the easy route and utilise materials prepared by clever people who share teaching materials online – there are thousands of ready-prepared worksheets online to download and many of them available for free. To make it even easier, a subscription to a site like Twinkle / TeachersPayTeachers/ TeachIt/ allows you to create your own resource bank directly within those sites and it’s easy to find worksheets that match the curriculum/ability of the homeschooler.

When planning a unit study, file any resources you don’t end up using and add to the grab-and-go file. The repetition of the unit study information will act as revision for home learners and because they know they know the material, the resource won’t overwhelm them at all.


Magazines are brilliant teaching materials. Whatever their interest, there’s a magazine to match. Whether you build up an online magazine library using an app like Zinio, let them choose magazines in the supermarket queue or bulk buy old editions of favourite magazines – never throw a magazine away! Pick one at random or ask the homeschooler to choose, and set copy work / art exercises / ‘find out more’ tasks based upon an article in the magazine.

and all kinds of brochures can be used in all kinds of ways, from maths lessons (set a ‘budget’ and let them ‘shop’, throw in discounts and inflation etc) to written exercises (write about the country/place, describe the photo used on page 6 etc.).

Reading a variety of reading materials helps with vocabulary fluency across subjects.

desk globe on table

Make a lesson from a travel brochure

Travel brochures offer an abundance of lesson possibilities but today a travel brochure doesn’t have to mean (though it can) a hold in the hand brochure – websites work just as well!

Ask students to explore the Lonely Planet website and choose a country to visit. Ask them to:

  • Plan a route
  • ‘What do the images tell you about (the landscape/culture) of the country?’
  • Pro vs con lists of itinerary options
  • Complete travel inspired art (it’s useful to have a separate ‘folder’ of art tutorial resources either on a Youtube account for your homeschool or via a subscription like Skillshare)
  • ‘Write a poem inspired by images’
  • ‘Pretend you took the trip and write a letter home/make a presentation and share with the class etc

Extend the lesson by asking homeschoolers to collate the information they’ve learnt about the country and culture into a project style of schoolwork.

Dip-In, Dip-Out Lessons

Because homeschoolers tend to spend a lot of time at home, it’s good to have learning activities that they can dip in and out of when the mood takes them; passive learning activities that will keep homeschoolers productively occupied and reassure you (as parent and teacher) that they’re not wasting ‘school time’.

  • Board games
    • Games that can fill a lot of time (ie. Monopoly/ Chess)
    • Games that can be quickly set up (Bananagrams / UNO/ backgammon etc)
  • Stacks of workbooks homeschoolers can work through in their own time. These workbooks are separate from school resource workbooks; completed as and when they want to.

Giving free access to workbooks, without any pressure to complete the books or the exercises inside them (it’s ok to stop for now), is a good way to encourage learners to tackle topics independently.

Colouring Books

  • can help improve concentration
  • work well as a keep-the-hands-busy side activity to a listening exercise,
  • are calming activity for stressful days

and, as a grab-and-go lesson resource, is easy to set up and put away.

Puzzle books

Like workbooks, puzzle books are no-pressure, relaxing activities. Mazes, sudoku, word searches etc. Puzzlemania have a great selection of mixed-puzzle books that work well for multiple age groups.

  • Escape rooms are always fun and there are many ways to present an escape room activity as a lesson.


Jigsaws are a great activity to keep homeschoolers (of all ages) occupied and are also a useful tool to use in the classroom. Jigsaw puzzles help with hand-eye co-ordination, are good practice for pattern recognition, and require focus. Jigsaws can be combined with listening activities and extended into written lessons (describe the image on (the finished) puzzle/’write an instruction guide to jigsaws’) or used for art class (copy the picture).

(There are an awful lot of ‘jigsaws’ in that paragraph…sorry.)

Interacty Puzzle Maker is simple to use and great fun for home-ed pupils to make and solve their own jigsaws. What’s good about using an online jigsaw as a home-ed filler lesson is that the jigsaw can be completed on the go on a mobile device – great for ‘life admin’ days.

Trying to balance screen time when home educating can be a tricky thing. You want to make sure they’re not online all day but it would be foolish to ignore the incredible access the internet gives to learning tools and materials. We (try to) alternate offline and online activities and make sure our homeschoolers know which sites they’re allowed to access independently to ensure unsupervised web surfing is safe.

The sites below are ‘safe’ sites and have lesson-fillers for every age-range.

  • BBC Bitesize is great for home educators because you can customise a learning plan for your children on the website itself. Add lessons to ‘My Bitesize’ for each child and let them work at their own pace.
  • Maths is Fun don’t be fooled by the simplistic design of the website – the content is, indeed, fun and covers primary school & secondary school mathematics. Likewise, Math Playground has fun, educational games.
  • is an academic resource that is fun to explore. If your homeschooler likes science or maths, this site will entertain them for hours.
  • Newspaper puzzle sections. Crosswords, logic, spelling, sudoku..all educational, challenging and fun. (Including a daily puzzle in a homeschool routine is a simple way to switch from ‘home’ to ‘school’.)
  • Historiana is brilliant for randomly diving into history
  • Great museums is a fantastic site that lets you explore and learn from museums and exhibits within those museums. The site has over forty documentaries to watch and even more resources to explore. It’s a great site to discover what it is that interests your homeschooler.
  • A Skillshare membership is a subscription that literally offers an alternative teacher for a home-ed classroom.

Add suggested courses to a list that homeschoolers then have free access to. Let them choose to follow a course in its entirety, or just individual lessons from a course, and give them the freedom to jump between subject courses as they choose. Read more about Skillshare for home-ed here.

This type of grab-and-go easy to set up lesson works well as intro-exit activities when transitioning from ‘home’ into the home-ed classroom. It’s not always realistic to expect home learners to fully immerse themselves in the lessons on their desk when the desk was, five minutes ago, the breakfast table. If you don’t have a dedicated home-ed classroom in your home (we don’t and don’t plan to create one), giving home learners a signal that it’s time to switch from ‘home mode’ to ‘school mode’ can make the day run smoother. Music is good for this but using a short, no pressure activity that introduces the skill or the topic the lesson will cover eases them in gently and gets their brain thinking around the topic before the lesson begins.

Ps. Because this style of activity is by default chosen to be hands-off from a teaching perspective, simple intro activities give you time to adjust into teacher mode too – and perhaps finish drinking your coffee?