HOW TO START HOMESCHOOLING AND CREATE THE PERFECT HOME SCHOOL ROOM
How to start homeschooling?
We imagine that there’s not a single parent out there who hasn’t asked themselves this question or googled ‘homeschooling tips and tricks’ over the past few days.
The schools are doing their best to help us by providing schoolwork online and, in some cases, video tutorials, but for most mums and dads who now have to juggle work alongside being a fulltime parent/carer/teacher, it’s going to be a tough balancing act. And obviously quite stressful at times.
HOMESCHOOLING TIPS FOR PARENTS
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The team here at GLTC is in exactly the same position. We’re working from home offices, dining tables and sofas and trying our very best to keep on top of our tasks while also making sure that our little ones are happy, entertained and keeping up with their education. We may not have all the answers, and every single child and family will be different, but here’s what we’ve deduced so far, both from experience and a whole lot of research.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT’S ACHIEVABLE
No one expects you to recreate a school-like learning environment and be on hand to educate your child between the hours of 9am - 3.30pm. Work commitments, housework or simply having children of multiple ages will make this physically and mentally impossible.
Be realistic about the tasks that you can fit in to each and every day and work out how much time you can allocate to active homeschooling versus a more passive role whereby you provide your child with activities to complete while you get on with something else.
SET UP A HOMESCHOOLING ROUTINE
That said, children really do thrive on routine so even if you can’t commit to a full itinerary, some kind of loose routine will undoubtedly be helpful. It can be as simple as up and dressed by 9am, school work in the morning and free play in the afternoon, with a short list of chores or activities to be completed during that day.
Or, if you’re someone who likes to plan, and you have the time to do so, you might want to create a more detailed timetable with different topics that you’re going to tackle with your child each day.
CREATE A HOME SCHOOL ROOM OR CORNER
If possible, try to set up a dedicated home school room or corner for your child to sit and work, read or tackle craft projects. As adults, we know the benefits of an organised desk space and having everything that we need close to hand. The same applies to children and their school work. Think about a desk, desk accessories, a comfortable chair, a small bookshelf for school books, a pin board and perhaps a bean bag for quiet reading time. Don’t forget the stationery. Collect up all pencils, pens, crayons, paints and glue from around the house and pop them in a handy carry caddy.
MAKE THE MOST OF ONLINE HOMESCHOOLING MATERIALS
Even before the school closures were announced, the internet was awash with ideas, advice and materials centred around homeschooling. Now, more and more are popping up all the time as teachers and home schoolers rally to help those who are new to homeschooling. We particularly love that Joe Wicks has offered to become the nation’s PE teacher every weekday morning at 9am.
Take a look at Twinkl for detailed homeschooling resources; the Scouts have pulled together some brilliant indoor activity ideas for learning new skills; and The Week Junior Show is fantastic podcast packed full of stories and hot topics for slightly older children.
POOL YOUR IDEAS WITH OTHER PARENTS
Don’t forget that parents across the UK will be in exactly the same situation as you. Think about pooling your ideas and resources with like-minded mums and dads. Find a great printable? Share it. Come across an amazing book? Let other parents know about it. These are unprecedented times where checking in and looking after each is vital, even if it has to take place online rather than face to face.
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LINK UP WITH CLASSMATES VIRTUALLY
Interacting with classmates and working on those all-important social skills can be as important as academic learning. With all the technology available to us today, this needn’t stop. Think about setting up regular FaceTime chats or Skype sessions with your child’s favourite friends. Perhaps set aside half an hour every afternoon where you leave them to talk while you grab a much-needed cup of tea.
RECYCLING IS YOUR CRAFTY BEST FRIEND
Even if you’re a crafty household, there’s a fair chance that supplies will run low at some point. But, where adults see rubbish, children see potential. Pop your recycling in a storage basket and let your little one have a rifle through it before you bag it up for collection.
Cereal boxes, yoghurt pots and milk bottle lids, with a little bit of imagination have ‘homemade robot’ written all over them. And don’t forget all the things that you can do with a simple roll of paper.
EASE UP ON THE GUILT
Finally, when it comes to homeschooling in the current climate, remember that this is a time like no other. As well as trying to cram everything in, emotions are going to be heightened and children are likely to be a bit confused.
Some days are going to be hard. Some days you’re going to feel like nothing you do is good enough. Some days you’re going to wonder if it will ever end. It will. We will get through it. And you’re doing a great job.
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