For most of 2020 (and the start of 2021) schools have been massively affected by the ongoing pandemic, with much of it spent homeschooling children. With many parents and carers throughout the UK adjusting back to this way of learning, we’ve pulled together our top 3 tips (along with some helpful resources) to help make this unusual time as ‘normal’ as possible!
Between 8:30 and 3:30 (give or take an hour on either side), Monday to Friday, children are used to following a schedule, a timetable of topics and activities to do each day. So why not do the same whilst they’re at home. It’s quick and easy to make, just grab some paper and a pen and& map out how you want each day to look. We want to keep the kids as busy as possible so you can get on with other things, getting the children to suggest topics they find interesting at school is a great way to keep them interested and busy! Short and sweet bursts of activity are the best way to keep the kids engaged, along with regular breaks and snack times (the exact same format they follow at school!)
All work but play too
No matter what age, it’s important to take a break from and entertain your mind by doing something fun/active! Depending on their age, every child will have their toy/game of choice, a mixture of traditional games (jigsaws, board games, etc.) and the ‘modern-day’ approach like tablets, apps, etc. will keep their minds occupied and motivated to complete the tasks set out for them that day. It won’t take up too much time pulling ideas together, there’s plenty of existing ideas out there, such as PE with Joe Wicks, Hobbycraft’s 11am craft workshop or speaking to fellow parents for their favourite recommendations.
Don’t play the teacher all the time
This is an unusual, stressful, and scary time for all of us, including children. This is a huge change for them too – no longer being in school with their friends, different classrooms and teachers, etc. so it’s important to continue to help and encourage them in everyday life. If they haven’t already, there’s no doubt your children will start to ask questions about why this is happening and how long will it last? Keeping calm and proactive is an important approach to take when discussing the Coronavirus with children: make them familiar with the symptoms and next steps to take if they’re experiencing them, choose their favourite song for them to wash their hands to, have regular chats with them about what they think about the current situation so that you can help minimise any stress or anxiety they might be feeling.
Some resources we’ve found helpful
There are countless resources available for children of all ages, from Early Years Foundation Stage (ages 3-5) right through to A-level and BTEC studies (16+). We’ve pulled together our top 3 websites that our people have found useful when homeschooling:
BBC – great for all subjects! At the start of 2021, the BBC announced it will run Primary-school programming from 9 am to 12 pm on CBBC, and at least two hours of programming to support the GCSE curriculum on BBC Two every Monday-Friday. These are also available on the BBC Red Button & on-demand on BBC i-Player! To cover all bases, they’ve also created a heap of resources on their bitesize website, all of which have been created by teachers and educational experts.
TTS – great for English! This website is particularly good for KS1 to KS4 learning. They’ve created a range of free downloadable workbooks to keep children’s curriculum on track during this time. It can help with everything from grammar, writing, punctuation, spelling, comprehension, and handwriting. All content is created by teachers, with an essentials page to provide you with all the resources you need (whiteboards, stickers, etc.)
Twinkl – a great all-rounder! It has a dedicated section for parents, offering helpful resources for home learning, online learning, and homework. Their Hub is a great place to start, full of free resources, ready-made timetables, and time-saving solutions to help parents to balance work and homeschooling. Their blog has more information on the services they provide, as well as guides to help you through the challenges of being a parent in lockdown,
There are many more charities and organisations from all over the globe have pulled together some fantastic information and advice to help us all settle into our new routines during this pandemic. We’d highly recommend checking these out for extra advice, and as always, please refer to the NHS 111 website (111.nhs.uk/covid-19) for the latest help and advice on symptoms and procedures to follow.