The home-schooling has been going on in this household for over two months and at times its been challenging, but we have finally got into the flow of things. All schools will be teaching in a variety of different ways, my children have mainly had interactive lessons, PowerPoints and links to various bits of information on line. The eldest is now at Secondary school so is fairly self sufficient, but i’ve had to do a fair amount with the primary school children. Through some of this i’ve been working full time and it has led to me come up with a few tips and tricks which seem to be effective:
- If you have more than one child set up the working environment so that the children are working together. We set up a little ‘Internet Cafe’ and encouraged the kids to sit and work together at the same time, this means they discipline and motivate each other. Nothing like a bit of peer learning!
- Start the lessons early. I’ve discovered that if we start the work almost immediately with a break for breakfast the kids are far more awake and on the ball and that leaves the rest of the day for them to do other activities such as computer games, scouting badges, exercise. They get a sense of satisfaction from having done all the work usually before about 11.
- Be prepared! It definitely pays dividends to read through the presentations yourself beforehand and to make sure you understand what is being asked, that any print outs are done in advance and that there is a plentiful supply of paper and pens nearby.
- Encourage them to use books for research. As they are sat at the computer it’s really easy to just Google things and use dictionary.com. I’ve put a dictionary on the table and banned dictionary.com. i’m also trying to put relevant books nearby (if I have them) because otherwise they are purely screen focussed.
- Buy some nice snacks. In my experience nothing motivates a primary school child than the prospect of a nice biscuit, sweet or some fresh fruit.
- Set boundaries, encourage resilience and peer learning and if all else fails ensure the child has enough confidence in themselves to come back to the task at another time when you are free to help.
- Make sure you take the learning outside if you can.
- Make good use of board games and the other learners in your household- peer to peer incidental learning seems to work.
- Ensure that there is space to be creative, to explore what they are learning and to discuss the topic and other relevant topics. Life skills are important too. Set little tasks and projects outside of the schoolwork which can contribute to other scouting badges, Blue Peter badges or even your own well-being- my kids made us a three course meal on Saturday night and I think i’m more proud of this than anything else they’ve done.
Happy Mum, Happy Baby is something which I’ve always advocated on this blog and in my life. Above all else its really important to remember that if your household is as stress free as you can make it and that you as parents are coping, then the children will learn and blossom. If you cant home school in the traditional sense then nurture your little individuals, let them use this time to learn about themselves, to build personal resilience and just enjoy the time as a family.