31st March 2020

The UK, like most countries is now in the midst of an increasingly tightening lock down seeing schools, colleges and universities all closed to a majority if not all of their students. This means that for many parents homeschooling has become a reality almost overnight. 

We’ve put together some of our top tips on how to make the most of homeschooling and transition students into the home environment effectively.

Space

To learn effectively, space is essential both mentally and physically. Students need to be in the right frame of mind and in the right setting to focus their mind on the tasks in front of them, avoiding the distractions of life at home. 

Set up a clear space that will serve as the ‘classroom’ over the next period, preferably in a quiet space which is free from any unnecessary distractions such as televisions, radios and non-essential tech. While their worlds become a lot smaller setting up these space boundaries will help children of all ages to cope with living and learning under one roof by having defined spaces for rest and relaxation while others represent learning. 

Structure 

Maintaining a consistent structure to their working day will help them transition from an average school day to their new home learning environment. Creating even the most basic of timetables will enable you to ensure that children are dividing their time effectively between subjects and making the most of their learning. Try to make a realistic timetable giving plenty of breaks, mimicking their day at school. 

Keep structure around breaks by prepping snacks for break times and packed lunches like you would on a normal school day, this helps sustain structure that their day would follow and maintain the routine of a ‘school night’ each evening. 

Rules 

For a lot of children, the thought of being at home for the foreseeable future might conjure up visions of an extended summer break, so it is crucial that a structured set of rules mimic the school environment as much as possible. Getting into this routine sooner rather than later will likely make the transition easier for your children as their learning experience will be undisrupted. 

Evaluating what tech and tools are needed to complete projects and homework may identify some areas which you can regulate similarly to their school. This includes access to digital devices such as tablets, laptops and definitely mobile phones. Regulating their access to these devices for leisure time will not only help bring some structure to their day, similar to their typical school experience but ensure that they are staying on task and committed to their work. 

Reading and Writing

While making sure that crucial work is being completed is obviously important, it is also beneficial to let your children read freely, at their own pace. It is no secret that regular reading helps boost children’s literacy skills during crucial stages of their academic development and during this time this is no different. In fact, reading is the perfect way to engage them in some more relaxed learning and let them enjoy some quiet work time. 

Don’t fret searching for reading lists and worrying that you might not have a library at your disposal because reading of any sort is hugely beneficial to children’s development and letting them read material that interests them will help keep reading a regular activity in their home learning experience. 

The same can be said of writing tasks, encouraging your children to take up some creative writing in any context will strengthen their key comprehension skills and encourage a wider use of vocabulary. Creative writing is also a great way to inject some fun into their learning experience while at home, giving them the freedom to write about whatever topic they like and let a story develop, while simultaneously developing their reading and writing skills.

Support

For most, filling the shoes of your children’s teachers and adapting to this new role can seem daunting; however, it is important to remember that there are resources available to you, and them. 

The best way to support your children while they learn at home is to be available for help without overwhelming them. Letting them know that you are there if they need some extra guidance without being involved in every stage of the work will encourage them to explore the problem themselves and find a solution. The more they work independently the stronger their problem-solving skills will become and they will explore the topics and projects for themselves. 

Familiarising yourself with their curriculum may help you better support your children through topics and subjects that you yourself are new too. You can find curriculum information for all key stages here

Breathe

We are all in this situation together it’s essential that you breathe, take a moment and find a structure that works for you and your children. 

Now is a great time to reach out to forums and groups, sharing tips, tricks and valuable information about resources that become available and even share your ideas with other parents. A lot of teachers are actively posting in community groups and sharing their own resources on social media so a quick search may solve any problems you encounter as you move through your home-schooling journey. 

Whether you are a parent looking for engaging activities that will help your children bring topics to life at home or a teacher looking for some easy to share resources, be sure to check out our weekly Virtual School trips. Come with us on our first trip to Amsterdam here and explore some of favourite visits in the city. 

Stay positive and stay safe!

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