A simple guide to home educating
Across the country, thousands of households are being plunged into the unknown as parents take on the challenge of home-schooling. Educating at home can be daunting, so TrueSpeed has spoken with education expert’s aka teachers, to provide practical advice and guidance on how to make the most of home-schooling.
Breaking at home education into easily digestible chunks, teachers Miss Fish and Mrs Crook have given us their top tips on how to keep children engaged and learning.
Should I create routines at home that mirror the school day?
It’s great to provide a similar structure to that of the school day, so children and teenagers understand that even though they’re at home, they’ll still be learning. This doesn’t mean you have to stick rigidly to every minute as flexibility is key particularly when parents still have to work. But, ensuring your children know when they’ll be starting, what subjects they’ll be learning, when the breaks are and what time it will finish will provide structure they are familiar with. Get them involved with the planning of the routines as well so they feel more engaged.
How can I keep my children engaged with at home learning?
There are loads of little things that can all help keep your children focused and engaged whilst home educating. For example
- Ensure their working space is separate to their 'relaxing' area. A designated working zone will help keep minds on track and they know they have relaxing work free zones such as the sofa or bedroom.
- Get them on voice or video calls with friends who are doing the same lesson e.g. Facetime/Whatsapp video/ Skype/Zoom/Google Meet. It can help motivate children when they know their friends are doing the same thing.
- Create an in-home rewards system that is tailored to your child. Rewards help motivation at all ages so ca be great for younger children and teenagers.
- Make sure they're still communicating with their teachers. Most schools will set up systems for this to happen and don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure.
- If you have more than one child, get the children helping each other in academic and practical lessons e.g. food technology lessons
- Introduce games such as hangman to mix up spelling and make it more exciting
How to manage the variety of subjects
The trick for parents is not to panic about subjects they might not be too confident in, and look for ways to relate them in real life.
Take Maths for example, my colleague is helping her primary school children with money, diet and maths. They have created a 'tuck shop' for the house snacks and are given £1 a day to spend on the snacks. Healthy items such as fruit are cheap and unhealthy items such as chocolate are more expensive. The children are told the prices of the snack can choose what they want as long as they stay within their £1 a day budget. Low and behold after the first week, they're asking for less snacks and saving their money!
This is also a great time to explore new skills such as cooking or arts and crafts. If you have multiple children you can even introduce a bake off which always goes down a treat!
What at home PE lessons can be done?
Over lives will become more sedentary whilst we overcome the pandemic, so at home physical activity is more important than ever. If we're not exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, we risk long term problems health problems associated with being overweight and can jeopardise our mental health.
Below are hints and tips on how the whole family can stay healthy whilst being in-doors:
- Blogs – blogs on home exercising and improving mental health are a great way to get healthy inspiration
- PE teachers should still be offering alternative lessons, this will be different from netball, hockey etc but more along the lines of aerobics, Zumba, yoga and Pilates
- Social media - Joe Wicks does live 'PE lessons' for 30 minutes and loads of influential sports people are proving at home work outs the whole family can do. I’d encourage the entire family to do PE lessons together so it’s fun and engaging.
Online learning tools
What’s been amazing, is the massive amount of online resources that have been made available to us as parents, both from the schools, but also more generally. There are loads on online learning resources for all ages and levels of the curriculum such as the ones below:
- BBC Bitesize is really handy and has pop quizzes at the end of each segment that parents and students can get involved in.
- kahoot.com – full of fun quizzes on a variety of subjects
Any other advice for parents out there?
Schools aren't expecting parents to become outstanding teachers overnight, so you don’t need to worry about being an expert on everything. No teacher would want your child to struggle at home, they’ll be on e-mail if they're working remotely or at the end of a phone if they're supervising in school for key worker's children. Best bit of advise, always ask questions don't be embarrassed, you never know you might find a subject you really enjoy.