Homeschooling tips as lockdown eases
By now, most schools have responded really well to the situation and are providing older children with online tuition and many teachers are setting homework that can be submitted online too. For younger children, the responsibility for home schooling is falling on the shoulders of the parents which can definitely prove tricky. If you feel that you are managing – but only just- there may be some adjustments that you can easily make that will make everything run more smoothly in the forthcoming weeks.
Get dressed!The number one key to success is to ensure everyone gets dressed every morning! This may sound strange, but it is hard for adults to feel professional in their PJs and not surprisingly, your children will not feel in the mood for focusing on schoolwork.
Make each day important.All the days feel just the same during lockdown and it is hard to remember what day it is. Start the day over breakfast, with the date and a fun fact of what happened in history on this day. Mention any special celebrations such as a Royal birthday or big social event that usually takes place. Choose a theme for one day each week such as a virtual travel day. Share interesting facts about that country, look at it online and enjoy a traditional meal from that country together in the evening.
For younger children, making each day important can be an activity that can be stretched to include the weather and how to look at the barometer, the different seasons and how these vary from country to country. This is the perfect opportunity to bolster their confidence, by ensuring that they know the days of the week, the months, seasons and also how to tell the time.
Teach them life skills too!Being at home and having quality time with parents is a real bonus for children. As well as working though any course work that has been provided, being at home together is the perfect opportunity to teach your children all types of skills that will prove useful throughout their life. If you have teenagers, encourage them to have a go at cooking and to learn how to cook some straight forward meals and how to prepare and cook vegetables, custard, gravy etc. Next time you have a basket full of ironing, take some time to show them how to iron shirts, trousers etc. as this will definitely come in useful when they go off to uni. Teaching them how to repair a fallen hem and replace a button on a shirt is also very valuable.
Ensure that there is a framework to each day that includes study time.If you haven’t already worked out a daily schedule, now is the time to do so with the day split up into workable sections like a school timetable. This can work well with older children as they can study whilst you are busy on work calls or paperwork. It is trickier with young children, but perhaps they will enjoy a designated quiet time with their reading books or some colouring. If they would rather be active, perhaps you can give them a few very simple jobs to do in the house whilst you work.
If your child is home studying, it is a good idea for them to keep a journal of what lessons they follow each day, what homework they complete or details of any ‘life skills’ they have acquired.
Have fun with a white board.Ring the changes and test your children with some maths or spellings using a small white board. Children love using these and somehow they cannot resist writing on them, which is the perfect way to spur them into action. When they are asleep, write some sums and spellings on the board for them to tackle the following morning (they love seeing that you have spelt something wrong!)
Look online for help with school topics.There are so many different resources available now that if your child is floundering with understanding one of his topics, you will be able to find a useful video on on You Tube or similar. Don’t forget that zoos, art galleries and museums have virtual tours that you can make together. If you decide to do this, make sure that your child makes an entry in their journal to tell teachers at a later date.
Allocate time to play with younger children.Playing is the easiest way for a child to learn and it is good to allocate a couple of play sessions each day. One can be purely creative such as making models from household junk, playdough or finger painting and others can be learning letters, numbers, colours etc. Have a look online for inspiration.
Let your child study with their friend.The isolation of lockdown is proving very hard for many children who miss their friends badly. If you have older children, why not suggest that they have a zoom meeting with a couple of friends to discuss the latest homework or if you have younger children, they may well like to share an activity with their friends via zoom such as some colouring or dressing up.
If your child is having problems with a particular subject and you can’t help, maybe one of their friends has a mum or dad who could teach them via zoom to see if that makes it easier – you can offer to do the same for their child with a subject you know you have nailed!
Rediscover the fun of family games!If you have not already got your board games ad jigsaw puzzles down from the attic, now is the time! These are the perfect activities for developing your children’s social skills and much more! Games like Scrabble are ideal for encouraging good spelling. If you don’t have these games, there are online versions available.
Teach them how to debate.This is another life skill that will prove very useful in years to come! Debating can be enjoyed from quite an early age and can be fun if you choose a light-hearted subject to discuss such as why eating two ice creams is not good! Older children will be delighted if you take an interest in their schoolwork and it is amazing how much knowledge you have retained from your own school days – read up the subject online and be amazed!
Find a common interest.It can be fun to discover something that you are all interested in so that you can learn more about the subject together. The subject could be something like conservation and how to play your part in saving the planet, or maybe learn the different constellations and phases of the moon with one night a week allocated for family stargazing.
Being organised and planning well is certainly the way to ease the difficulties of home schooling and it is essential to remember that your child cannot lean everything out of a book, life experiences are very important too!