Don’t Panic: Top Ten Tips for Home Schooling!
Help with home schooling from Logbook Loans …
So how’s the home schooling going?!
Two words that, until recently, we may have occasionally used in passing. Most of us know someone who has decided to home school their children. We may have all kinds of feelings about that. Perhaps it seems like a great idea but feels too daunting, so we feel a bit guilty about our reluctance to consider it. Or perhaps we are completely bewildered as to why anyone would want to do that when there are good schools and expert teachers available to help our children.
Either way, like it or not, all parents are now home schooling their children for the foreseeable future. Officially there is not the expectation that parents are able to replace teachers. The main teaching unions issued a joint statement saying that “we cannot home school the nation’s children”. But there is definitely the expectation on every parent to do as much as they can.
Because of the pandemic, these new demands have come at a time when many parents are also trying to work from home. So there is a lot of pressure on everyone to somehow make it all work.
So we’ve put together ten tips to help you home school your children. We know you’re busy so will keep them short and simple. And there’s no test at the end!
- Establish a routine. This may not work every day (see Tip 10) but if you can, it’s good to aim for regular times when you will do your lessons. These do not have to follow the pattern of the normal school day: it’s totally up to you to decide what works best for you and your family.
- Break up lesson time. You will probably find it best to schedule short lesson times and alternate these with exercise, breaks, fun activities and food. This will help everyone to concentrate and focus, and hopefully give you some time to yourself in the process.
- Don’t overdo it. No-one is expecting you to do a full 6-7 hour school day! In reality, it’s probably more like an hour or two a day for infant children, 2-3 hours for juniors, and 3-4 hours for seniors. Year 10 (GCSE) pupils could do more but should be able to work independently for most of the time. If need be, check with your child’s school for guidance.
- Use existing lesson resources. There’s an old saying “don’t reinvent the wheel”. So if your child’s school has provided resources for the lessons they want you to do then use those. If not, check out the daily lesson resources on BBC Bitesize or The Oak National Academy. You don’t need to create lessons from scratch.
- Be flexible. As we have just seen, there are lots of teaching resources available out there. But don’t feel you have to stick to a rigid timetable. For example, if you had planned to do some maths this morning, but your children are really interested in the starlink satellites then why not find something for them to do on astronomy instead? As long as you are gradually covering the topics that your child’s school is asking you to do, your child will still be making progress.
- Vary your teaching methods. We all get bored doing the same old things so don’t expect your children to sit in one place for the duration of your home school day. Make sure they are doing a variety of activities including reading books, writing, drawing, making things, watching videos and using computers or iPads. All these are valid ways of learning and it’s good to have a mix.
- Set homework with rewards. If your child usually gets homework from school then continue this tradition. Give them an extra piece of work to do on their own, and provide a reward for them when it is finished: with extra reward if it is really good.
- Build in exercise. Daily exercise is really important, so make sure they are getting plenty of it. During lockdown there are limited opportunities to go out, but there are other things that you can do at home. If you have a garden then they can enjoy outdoor running or ball games or mini circuits with activities like skipping, throwing and obstacles. Indoor activities could include floor exercises or TV workouts such as Joe Wicks.
- Extra-curricular activities. As well as exercise there are other activities you can do to broaden their horizons. For example, think of domestic things that you need to get done anyway, and use the opportunity to teach them some practical life skills such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, pet care, car cleaning or maintenance. Or why not all sit down together and watch a travel or animal documentary on TV or Youtube?
- Remember tomorrow is another day. Last but definitely not least: be kind to yourself. This is hard for everyone and there will be days when things just don’t go to plan. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Maybe just do something completely different for the rest of the day and start again tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.
We hope that these tips help you to move forward with your home schooling, and realise that you are not alone.
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