Let’s put any previous thoughts, nerves and pressures about homeschooling to one side. Given the current situation, we can all agree on one thing; we want the best for our children and of course, that includes their education. So while they’re at home for the next 12 weeks or so, let’s do the best we can to maintain their learning and routine.
As part of this, it’s also important to take an Easter break as children would normally do anyway. For the next week or so, before the ‘official Easter break’, spend some time gathering everything you need for the term ahead. We know there’s an overwhelming amount of information out there about ways to adopt homeschool techniques as well as a number of online resources so we’ve done some of the hard work by scouring the internet for you and we’ve come up with the following tips below.
Get, set, go.
Whilst you’ve probably got plenty of stationery and equipment at home to get you started, it’s not a bad idea to stock up on some essentials or choose some new practical resources to keep your activities engaging. A number of schools and organisations are shifting their focus to provide online materials and this can be anything from print outs to ideas for arts and crafts or even music – there are plenty of freebies to get your hands on. We recommend checking out TTS Group for some supplies, HypeBeast for downloadable colouring books and Wandsworth Preschool for online music lessons.
Avoid disrupting the school hours the kids are used to, this will make it all the more motivating to have breaks, enjoy lunch and finish on time. Create a schedule at home that mirrors what they would do at school. Of course this will vary slightly according to their age, but start the day as you mean to go on.
- After breakfast is out of the way, clear up and TV off
- Out come the notepads, pens and screens to help with online resources
- Focus on one subject and cover a couple of topics within this to concentrate your child’s interest in a key learning area. It could be one of the core subjects such as English or Maths
- Stop for a mid-morning break. If the weather looks dry, get outside for a kick about or some fresh air. Check out Muddy Puddles for some outdoor lesson plans
- Depending on your child’s age, you could also do some light exercise. TV personality Joe Wicks has just launched a morning session on YouTube to keep kids fit
- Make this session interactive to break up the day. It can involve planning through to preparation
- A great idea could be to have this slot dedicated to a practical session such as cooking (preparing lunch), baking (for afternoon break) or some arts and crafts
- Before you know it, it will be time to break for lunch which you can also enjoy outdoors if the weather is nice
- Use the afternoon session to go through another couple of subjects and perhaps get their energy flowing with some learning online
- This could be an opportunity to self-assess what your child has learned throughout the day with a fun quiz
Check out this extensive list of online resources to help you plan your day:
BrainPop, Curiosity Stream, Outschool, Udemy, iReady, Beast Academy, Khan Academy, Creative Bug, Discovery Education, Top Marks, TimesTables, Doorwayonline, BBC Bitesize, Up to Ten, Read and Spell, Word Shark, Nessy and Cross Bow Education, Classroom Secrets.
Teach them a new skill
Whether it’s learning a new game, an instrument, upcycling or even coding on Tynker, this is a great time to teach your child a new skill. Bring out the old board games or try looking online for some new ideas. Revisit some old books from the bookshelf, Kindle or check out World Books Online who have just made their collection of over 3,000 ebooks and audiobooks available for free for children to access at home. They have books suitable for all ages. You could take this time to do some DIY and get the kids involved too with upcycling some household junk.
Trial different online resources
As well as the sites we’ve listed above, there are a number of really useful channels on YouTube that are worth checking out. Screen time can be limited throughout the day to avoid too much strain on the eyes. Our top picks below cover a range of subjects and can help to make your homeschooling interactive at various points. We recommend having a look at these:
Don’t miss out on the new collaboration by BookTrust and Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell on new online platform ‘BookTrust Home Time‘, a new digital hub to entertain children and families at home, packed with free books, videos, games, recipes, competitions, quizzes and much more.
Team up with other parents
If you haven’t already, set up a WhatsApp group with other parents from your child’s class or school, this is a brilliant way to share ideas. You could even set up a regular video call so that the children can keep in touch with each other. Feel free to ‘mute’ it at the end of the day and at weekends for a little downtime. You may also hear a lot of people talking about ‘Houseparty’. It’s becoming an increasingly popular social networking app for keeping in contact with more than one friend or parent at a time – this may be one for when the kids are in bed!
Perhaps the most important thing underlying all of these points and for homeschooling is the emphasis on rewarding your children, the same as they would receive in school. Whether it’s a sticker or a special treat, mention this to your child so they know they have something to work towards. It could be a series of things that they collect and it amounts to a bigger reward at the end of the week. A great way to keep this going long-term could be a treasure hunt or an indoor adventure!