Ten top tips to make life easier
With most schools closed for the foreseeable future, like me, many of us will have to balance working from home and homeschooling. And, like me, will be finding this somewhat 'challenging'.
So, how do you balance working from home and home education?
The answer is with great difficulty, but with these top tips, we hope it makes your life a little easier and everyone a little happier.
Don't try to recreate the full school day
Kids aren't in class learning from the minute you drop them off to the moment you pick them up. They have breaks, dinner, walk between lessons, and daydream (don't we all). So, don't worry about making them work for 5-6 hours per day. Two hours of focussed learning around your own work on a one-to-one basis can be just as impactful as 5-6 hours in a group lesson.
Utilise online resources
There are 1000's of videos on Youtube.com on, literally, every subject in the world. Do a little bit of research and planning in the evening and save some videos to your playlist that you feel will connect with your child, are aimed at their level, and most importantly, inspire and engage…The BBC has some fantastic online sessions called BBC Bitesize that are well
structured and enjoyable.
If you are supervising your own children, you simply won't be able to complete your own work! Encourage independent learning by teaching them how to log in and navigate various websites that have great educational resources available.
The key to homeschooling is quality, not quantity
Preparation is key to achieving this. What little time you have around your own work to 'teach' should be structured and focussed on a learning outcome. It's always good to do a reflection at the end of each session with your children. Ask for the main takeaway from the lesson, what went well, and what would be better if?
The main reason (most of us) liked school was because our mates were there. Humans are social creatures and none more so than children. Arrange a suitable time with other parents where the kids can Zoom each other to talk about what they have learned and make plans for the summer. Better yet, get them to deliver to each other their favourite lesson of the day.
Have you always wanted to learn graphic design, the guitar, how to use the PlayStation? Why not learn some new skills together. It's a great way of bonding with your child and demonstrating that learning is a lifelong skill. Evangeline (age 10) and I (age 41) are currently learning how to play guitar.
If you work a standard 9 to 5 job, then why not do an hour of home learning at 8am, one on your lunch and one after work. That's three hours of private tuition!
Teach what you know
Running a local publication I possess a reasonable number of skills from graphic design, to creative writing and accounting. Think about the skills you have that you can pass on to your children. I'm sure they would love to learn what mummy and/or daddy does at work.
You are not in this alone
Talk to other parents. Ask them for advice, what's working with their routine, and where to find the best online sessions. Of course, every child is different and so is their environment, but if it's working for your child's best friend, the chances are it may work for yours…
Play to their strengths
We all love doing stuff we are good at! When it comes to independent learning set them work that plays to their strengths. Evangeline absolutely loves writing and art. I asked her to write me a short story involving a dog, a princess, a forest, and her best friend. When she finished it, I asked her to draw a front cover for it if we were to publish it as a book.
Granted, all of this is easier said than done, especially if you have more than two kids and limited access to online resources, but I hope if people take advantage of even a few of these tips it might make everyone's day a little less stressful and a wee bit more productive.
For more info see NHS and MIND links to their mental wellbeing pages.