As a parent or carer of a school-aged child, you may be beginning the rather daunting challenge of homeschooling your children. Whether your child is in primary or secondary school, it’s likely that they’ll need you to be there to help them tackle any online work they have been set, or help them learn whilst not at school.
For many of you, this may be the first time that you’ve turned your hand to teaching. To point you in the right direction, we’ve put together five top tips to help guide you through this time of change!
top tips for homeschooling:
- Set a schedule with targets and break times
- Get creative with your classroom
- Provide encouragement where you can
- Prepare for frustration!
set a schedule with targets and break times.
Your child will be used to a structured day at school - they will arrive, complete lessons and break times, and go home, at the same time. To help them learn productively, sticking to a schedule can really help (whilst helping you maintain your sanity!). Obviously it doesn’t need to be as rigid as a regular schedule, but setting a get up time, a lunch time, and some break times can help. If you are working from home, speak to your manager and team if you need some flexibility and try and protect those times for you and your family where you can.
In addition to this, setting targets will help your child (and you) feel as if something has been achieved during the day or week. A mix of simple, easy to achieve things and more difficult tasks can work well to inspire and motivate.
If you have more than one child, it can help their learning to differentiate the learning material - your 7 year old won’t want to be learning the same things as your 11 year old. Similarly, mix up what they are doing each day - keep it fresh with creative, artistic work, as well as any classwork they have been assigned.
get creative with your classroom.
It’s very unlikely that you’ve got a built in classroom, art room, science lab, and drama studio in your home. So, get creative with your set up to inspire your children. Look for opportunities to break out of the mundane and support children to use people, objects and their imagination, as much as possible. If you're able to, use different spaces in your house. If you're juggling working from home, there's still ample learning opportunities in the kitchen if you're cooking dinner or if you're gardening at the weekend.
provide encouragement where you can.
No matter what they are learning, it’s important to encourage children to learn and achieve their best. Whether you do this by helping with a difficult task, or by just being there to encourage them when they get stuck, or by praising their work or their attitude towards working, this can really help.
prepare for frustration!
This way of working requires a new set of skills and attitudes for everyone involved, including you - in this case, you are teaching your children whilst learning too. Don’t be afraid to open up about the frustrations involved to friends, family, and your children. Using new software, waiting for limited broadband speed, or losing work is equally frustrating for everyone.
It’s important to be kind to yourself and your child too - it is a very unsettling time for you and your children alike, and your children are likely to be missing their normal routine and their friends. If you test them on one spelling a day, that’s fine. If you play football in the garden and do nothing inside, that’s also fine. If you read to your child, or sit and read your books together, that’s fine. There's no right or wrong and there are thousands of working parents juggling work, parenting and schooling.
If you are looking for some online resources to support your child’s learning, take a look at our top ten resources for parents here.
You can also find more advice on working from home here.