Creating a home school
These are some of the biggest dos and don’ts crowdsourced from thousands of parents and experts worldwide.
- Set up a routine - 'School' in our house starts at about 9.30am after breakfast. It usually starts with PE. Both of my own children need to be 'dressed' for school (no pyjamas) and usually do their work in the kitchen sat to the table. As a parent I have seen the positive benefits of a routine on their mental health and mood.
- Set up a dedicated space - Try, wherever possible to create a space for your child to tackle his or her school assignments free of as many distractions as possible. As I stated above, my kitchen table has become the 'school room'. On my next supermarket trip I will be buying some folders to keep their work in so we can keep it all tidy!
- Limit distraction - The hardest part of all might be getting your child to focus. Having their smartphone close by isn’t doing them any favours when it comes to improving concentration, so make a rule to keep their app-packed phone out of sight when it’s time for school work.
- Set time limits - As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend that KS1 pupils should not do more than 1 hour of structured work per day, KS2 should limit to 2, KS3 to 3 and KS4 to 4. This should be in short 30 minute blasts with plenty of break times in-between. I have drawn up a timetable with my own children. 'Lessons' are in little 30 minute blocks. We are doing cooking as part of our maths and are going out in the garden for Science and Tech. We are also doing exercise every day through the power of Joe Wicks and are using the resources sent from school.
- Maintain social connections - During difficult times like these, it’s important for children to maintain a somewhat normal routine that includes both school work and social time. Try to encourage you child to 'meet' up with friends on apps such as Facetime or Zoom. On all of our sites we are trying to maintain face-to face contact with our groups of pupils a couple of times a week in an online space where we support. This group time is as important as any of the traditional lessons that we are hosting.
- Be positive - Make sure you are heaping on the praise for any work that your child does. As teachers we were traditionally told to use a ratio of between 4:1 and 10:1 praise to grumble ratio. It is a challenging time for all of us so pile on the praise! Try to use a 'praise sandwich' when pointing out misconceptions - "Well done for finishing that paragraph, Have a look at you punctuation, does that word need a capital letter?, FANTASTIC handwriting by the way!" My husband has found out the hard way (he's not a teacher and is doing his best) how easy it is to dent the pride of little ones by not praising enough. We had a few tears and had to explain that daddy was just learning and would do it differently next time!
- Don't be too hard on yourself - Just do your best, if your child isn't feeling it on a particular day then don't force it. This is new for all of us and there are going to be good days and bad days for all of us and that's fine. We all went to university to learn how to teach so it's fine if you're finding it difficult.
- Don't reinvent the wheel - Websites such as BBC Bitesize, Oaks National Academy and Twinkl are providing daily lessons and resources. These are all produced by teachers and the lessons are good quality.
- Contact your child's school if you are struggling - If you need any support or resources then contact your child's school. We are lucky and have been sent weekly learning plans which we dip in and out of as it suits us. If you need anything then please contact them and they will do everything they can to help.