If you’re reading this, then you’re probably preparing to homeschool your child for an unspecified amount of time in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. You are more than likely (understandably) worrying about what a normal day should look like. While I am hoping this blog will provide you with some practical advice, I would also like to reassure you as a home educator that nothing about this situation is normal.
What will my day look like?
That is entirely up to you. You may find it useful to stick to a timetable within normal school hours, however learning can take place at any time of the day. You may be surprised at how much you can get done in a small amount of time. It will also depend on the age of your child, for primary school aged children aim to do Maths and English every day. Intersperse these subjects with other activities like Art, Music, PE, Science etc. You don’t have to fit everything into one day though, or you may become burnt out. Our home-school lock-down timetable covers a four day week, one day for English, one day for French and one day for Maths. The fourth day will alternate between Science and Art/Music, every day there is at least one opportunity for physical activity.
How can I teach my child everything they need to know?
Your child’s school may have provided you with an at home learning pack to help you homeschool knowing exactly what they need to learn during this period. But don’t forget that learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom! You can practice maths skills by baking a cake together. You could try to find out everything you can about the virus and use scientific facts to explain the importance of social distancing and washing our hands regularly. It’s what you make of it, you may even have a special or unique interest that you can teach your child.
How do I manage more than one child?
I have a 7 year old and a 5 year old, they would be in Year 2 and Reception if they attended school. Mr. 7 is pretty confident when it comes to maths so I’ll use the time he’s doing a worksheet to go over phonics or do reading practice with Mr. 5. When Mr. 7 is working on something he is less than confident about I will set Mr. 5 a LEGO challenge to keep him occupied and out of the way. Use the first few days to find out which work your children can do independently and which areas they will need assistance with. Then plan accordingly; while one is working independently you can assist the other one.
How will I juggle working from home with homeschooling?
Teamwork makes the dream work! Get the kids to help out with age-appropriate household chores – they’re learning life skills. Schedule some quiet time activities for any important calls. Teenagers can cook dinner one evening, set up breakfast items the night before so younger children can make their own breakfast in the mornings giving you time to check your emails.
What about socialisation?
This is probably top of the FAQs list that home educators are asked. As I said before, this is not a normal situation for anybody. While your children may not be able to see their friends due to social distancing recommendations. You can still organise video chats with their peers and any family members you may not be able to see. You could also use this as an opportunity to sign your child up to online classes where they can have some social interaction while also learning.
How much TV is too much TV?
I’m personally not a fan of screen-time as it negatively impacts my children’s behaviour. However if it works for you then go for it. There are plenty of educational shows available on Netflix, or you can stick on a Disney film and test your child’s singing ability. You could even ask your child to write a review on their favourite TV show or film or get older children to compare a book to it’s film or TV adaptation. Alternatively just use it to wind down, relax and gain a semblance of control over the situation we have found ourselves in.
The first few days will certainly be weird, it will take time to find a rhythm that works for you. Just take each day at a time, stock up on snacks and celebrate the little homeschool wins. You’ve got this!
Image credit: Paloma