Artefact Cards Blog

Homeschool Hacks

Posted on March 24, 2020 by John Willshire


As you may have read, we're keen to help anyone who's suddenly homeschooling if we can.

We know of a lot of people have used Artefact Cards in different ways to help people learn, so we'll be gathering techniques and approaches from them, and sharing regularly here on the blog.

Before we get to how we'll do that, here are our basic starting points for using cards in homeschooling, based on our our experience and reading.

1. Make the most of movement

The key superpower of cards is that they keep moving around.

Imagine each card holds a certain piece of information. Because they're now on cards, these pieces can now readily find new partners and groupings as you keep moving the cards around on a table.

This makes cards great for exploring the different relationships between things, and how they are similar or dissimilar.

For example, imagine you're doing space as a topic, and you make a card for each of the planets. You could then ask children to arrange them in different orders; how large they are, how close they are to the sun, or the average temperature.

2. Get ready to reveal

The fact that cards have two sides is really useful.

On one side, you can have a question or prompt, and on the other have an answer.

Lots of people have used cards for learning languages - a word in a particular language on one side, and its counterpart in your own language on the other.

Give the focus on times tables for younger children, you could try making a times table game.

Have a series of cards with different sums on one side (3x8, 5x6 etc), and then on the other, have the answer. For younger children, just asking the answer is enough. For older ones, you could turn over two or three at a time, and ask them to calculate the sum of all three cards.

This method would then work well for homeschooling children of different ages, perhaps - the younger ones can answer the individual sums on cards, and the older ones can be adding them all up together.

3. All about ownership

The act of making the cards in the first place can be as important as playing with the cards themselves.

We know that when writing down information, we process that information differently than when we just type a button of press it on the screen. Therefore, getting children to make the cards for any game will help them process the questions and answers as they're thinking about them.

It also means that these things can become theirs. Let them take ownership of the cards and the packs, even decorating and writing on the boxes so that they feel more attached to the information within.

4. Planning your learning

Finally, you can use cards to plan out a schedule together with children, so that they have an expectation of what is going to happen and when.

Remember, they're coming to of a school environment where the structure is collectively important, so having a plan in place at home is a good idea too.

Having the things they need to do on cards then lets you move the schedule around accordingly (e.g. "we've got to do these things, which shall we do first...").


That'll get you started, but there are lots more ways out there we will share.

We're reaching out to our community to solicit ideas on how they've used Artefact Cards in learning situations. We're putting that call out in our newsletter shortly. 

If you have an idea you want to share with fellow homeschool heroes, drop me a note with a paragraph or two and maybe a picture, and we'll collate those in future blog posts.

And you can have a look around the internet yourself, of course. The key word you're looking for is 'flashcard'... which I only know because my mum was a primary school teacher (perhaps I've just picked up the card habit from her).

There are lots of flashcard resources for learning out there, like this, so if you want to find a method for a particular subject, perhaps just search using 'flashcards for...' and a subject and age level. 


That's it for now - remember, use the discount code homeschoolhero to take 30% off any cards on the homepage.

Good luck, everyone.