How can parents deal with this once in a lifetime situation we find ourselves in during this Convid19 pandemic? We must carry on in the best way we can together as a community, as a nation and most importantly as a world, when the unimaginable happens.
As this all sinks in and we realise this is the reality now, we are coming to terms with the possibility of home schooling our own children, often of various ages, for possibly the next 4 plus months.
I have seen many posts on social media of people saying, ‘Forget homeschool! Just play and cuddle and watch films it will be fun’ and that is OK for a short time, but this will not be physically and mentally healthy for a long time. Homeschooling can be amazing but it can also be the most stressful thing in the world, we want to help eliminate any stress that homeschooling can give you, so that it is fun for children and enjoyable for you and also allow you time for your own work.
Not only do we need to ensure we keep up with educating our children we also need to ensure we are mentally looking after ourselves and our children. Wellbeing comes first. If you are not happy, calm and comfortable you cannot relax and be calm and you cannot work or learn.
How can you create a good level of wellbeing for you and your family?
At home if in isolation keep your windows open, eat healthily, get outside in the garden or make sure curtains are open, exercise at home, practice meditation and relaxation techniques, try not to talk about the news in front of your children too much, be completely honest with your children about why these things are happening and reassure them that they will be OK. Talk about how you will keep in contact with your wider family and friends as these links are so important to maintain. Make sure you take time for yourself as an adult and have time when you have complete peace and quiet by having a bath or relaxing in your bedroom.
See our wellbeing resources here.
What should you do at home during self-isolation for a long period?
Firstly, it is important to have a schedule, children need routine. Mostly parents will have to work during this time too. Therefore, we also need the schedule to allow for a lot of independent work and play and allow for time outside giving the opportunity for children to learn more skills at the same time and parents have time to work themselves.
So we have come up with a timetable to help others to plan for their homeschooling. You can start off with this and then adjust to suit your family and children’s interests and learning style.
Suggested Routine for Homeschooling Ages 3-7
Outside Play/Yoga – It is important to be outside every day if possible. We have some planning available for outside physical play but if we want children to be independently playing the most important thing to think about is having as many open-ended resources as possible outside. Please see our blog here for Early Years Teachers which suggests resources you can gather. Children can play outside for hours with things like water, sand, painting, a makeshift mud kitchen with old pots and pans. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. We also have some yoga pose cards available to download.
Phonics/Literacy/Maths for Early Years and Primary
We provide planning for homeschoolers in all areas of learning and for phonics, maths and literacy. It is ideal to do some phonics at a set time as it is not something children will learn through play. This can be just for 10 minutes or it can be longer depending on your child’s age. Let children lead in their engagement. You can find the resources on the website for handwriting, phonics games and maths. Members can suggest any resources they would like and we will make them.. literally anything! All of our resources have been requested by Early Years Teachers, Childminders, Nursery Managers and Homeschoolers.
We devised the Early Years Staffroom Guided Maths Program designed to be adult-led, 10-20 minutes at the beginning or end of a long uninterrupted play session. This guided maths planning is practical, extremely fun, and sometimes messy. It covers 22-36 months up to Year 1, so that children who are ready to move on can still learn the skills from Year 1 in a fun and practical way.
Cooking is a needed life skill. It is an authentic experience where children can gain a range of skills, specifically in Maths. Cooking can help children understand traditions and really aids language and communication. When children can complete activities independently their confidence soars. Following a recipe also helps children to learn to read for a purpose and follow instructions. They can talk about their likes and dislikes and about healthy eating. We have a range of recipes available to download and we will be adding lots more in the coming weeks including healthy evening meals.
It is important to teach children to wash up after cooking and help with some chores around the house to help teach children responsibility.
If your child is good at something specific or very interested in something now is the time to develop it, it isn’t the time to get children to sit down and be forced to do work they don’t want to do. All children are very different, and you can adjust things for them at home far easier than at school for example if one of your children is very interested in meditating you can give them more time to practise this and this can become a project for them to research. If one of your children is interested in Dinosaurs, this can be a project for them and so on. We have some planning for many areas of interest for Early Years, KS1 and KS2 but we are happy to add any that are requested by our members. We will also be adding some examples of projects in the next week or so. You can view the National Curriuclum here which will show you how your project links to the relevent areas and what schools use to work with.
Storytelling is an important part of childhood and we must remember to keep reading bedtime stories but also children love storytelling without books. The main difference between telling a story and reading a story is that when the storyteller tells the story s/he does so by describing memorised images in their mind. When the narrative is interwoven with dialogue and actions, the story becomes powerfully real. So if you can practise this each night with your chidlren and create magical stories together it won't only aid their learning it will also create fond forever memories.
We have over 40 story maps for storytelling available on the website and we can add any you like.
Suggested Routine for Homeschooling Ages 7-13
KS3 Academic Work
For KS3 children are doing a whole host of subjects. We recommend KS3 CPG textbooks which can be purchased from amazon for children to use to do their work independently. We are looking at adding resources for early KS3 if that is something that is in demand, we will be guided by our members requests.
Older children resisting learning.
For older children they sometimes do not want to learn academic subjects because they do not see the point. Children will not want to learn if they don’t have any motivation to learn and they won’t have any motivation to learn if they don’t know why they need to learn. We need to make them understand why they should want to learn academic subjects.
For older children an idea to aid motivation and has certainly helped with my own children is to talk about what they want to do when they are an adult. What are their goals?
Once you find out what their goal is for example.. be rich! So how can you be rich? You want to have your own business? What are you interests? My 12 year old son really enjoys playing games like Minecraft and SIMS, he really enjoys observing his surroundings and planning space and building houses on the computer. Therefore, he decided it would be great if he could be an architect. He could have his own business being an architect. So, we planned how he could reach this goal and now he understands why he needs to do well at school, why he needs to learn maths, why he needs to get good GCSEs.
If you are doing a project on buildings you can go for drives in the car in your town or other towns and villages and look at architecture and discuss it, take photos and do further research around it.
Please join our Facebook community of 55000 Teachers, Educators, Childminders and Nurseries worldwide where we will share inspiration posts and ideas for things people are doing at home, we are all in this together. Keep calm and carry on.