Homeschooling your children can be daunting. As a result, it is not usually something parents enter into without a lot of thought, preparation and planning.
School closures are upon us however, with no end in sight to these closures, we have all been put in the unenviable position of entertaining and homeschooling our children.
We will undertake this mammoth task alongside our everyday jobs, responsibilities and family life.
Homeschooling, like home working, needs self-discipline, planning and routine however you must spend time planning a strategy.
Covering the Curriculum
The national curriculum is a list of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools to ensure children learn the same things to roughly the same standards.
Your child’s school will have given you a list of topics and sub-topics that are being covered in your child’s current school year. To help you with homeschooling, a guide to the national curriculum can also be found on the government website. There are also many sites online that will list topics by school year.
It would be extremely difficult for you to cover all curriculum subjects when homeschooling but it is essential that you cover the core subjects of English and Maths in a structured, formal way and there are lots of other ways to tackle history, geography, PE, science and others.
Set up your ‘homeschool’
One thing guaranteed to get your homeschooling off to a great start is to get your children involved, for example in the creation of your school.
- Think of a name for your school.
- Make a sign with your school’s name on it.
- Choose the area in your house where homeschooling will take place
- Buy small whiteboards and markers preferably a board for each learner and one for the teacher.
- If you have space put a set of small drawers in the area to keep work tidy.
- Again if space allows put up a corkboard to display work and notices.
- Make some decorated pen pots.
- Prepare a weather chart with stick-on clouds, rainbows etc
- Get a calendar to update every day with the date, day, month, year, season
- Establish the homeschooling rules together. – Phones, food, drink, talking etc.
- Most importantly make a timetable and stick to it.
Help – I’m not a teacher!
Don’t worry you don’t have to become a teacher overnight to be homeschooling successfully. You may need a little more patience, but you can do this.
Use the Internet
The internet is your saviour here because online you will find a wealth of websites offering games, worksheets, and interactive activities. Using websites and apps such as Kidsmart will allow you to set your child work using their tablet or laptop and to keep an eye on how they are doing.
Use the internet to research subjects you are unsure of while along the way finding useful resources for your homeschooling.
Youtube is great for educational videos however, make sure you watch the video first before playing it to your children.
Think of imaginative ways to teach. Here are some ideas you can build on:
- Make an ongoing art project, one you can keep returning to such as a decorated book, wall hanging or large papier-mache model.
- Watch Horrible Histories then combine this with a history day involving fancy dress and for example ‘Live like a Roman Day’.
- Buy or make a large world map and use it to plan journeys or mark it up with pins and string relating to different facts, for example, highest population, weather etc. Cut out pictures of animals and place them in their country or continent.
- Make cupcakes to learn ratio
- Baking to learn weight conversions
- If you have one make use of your garden for bugs, leaves, trees, and weather study.
- Use FaceTime to interview an elderly relative or neighbour about their early life for instance, for history study.
- Your homeschooling classroom can be vast.
Make a Timetable
Use your design and IT skills. Make a timetable for example and get the children involved. Decide which days will be your homeschooling days then make a realistic timetable. Include reading time, recreation and fun time as well as lessons.
Depending on the age of your child, limit focussed learning to 30-minute blocks, most importantly, include play, food or recreation breaks in between.
Children like routine, they like to know what’s coming next because their enthusiasm for the next task helps them through the present one.
Pair your timetable with a reward chart or pasta/bead jar for example where children collect stars, beads, pasta shapes etc toward an end of homeschooling week reward.
Stick to your routine. If it works better for you, start later, for example, a 10 or 11am start will give everyone the chance for a leisurely morning. Eat breakfast, shower and dress, to eat and be washed and dressed ready for ‘homeschooling’.
Stick to your break times and don’t extend them. Allow phones and virtual contact with friends during breaks.
Mummy time. Make sure you have blocked out space on your timetable for ‘mummy time’ Use this time for yourself, connect with friends or pamper yourself. You deserve it!
Top Ten Tips
- Be prepared – Plan ahead
- Stick to the plan
- Work as a team
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Make it fun
- Healthy snacks
- Make time for yourself
- Use technology
- Reward good behaviour
- Remember fun and exercise.
I hope this has been of some use to you however, do try to have fun and use this unique opportunity to bond with your child over education. Good luck!