Managing Your Child's Learning At Home During The Coronavirus Pandemic

(AD) If the idea of home schooling your primary school age children is all getting a bit much for you you aren't alone. Take a step back and try to relax. No one is expecting you to teach you children how they would be taught in school. Schools closing across the country for the coronavirus pandemic is an exceptional situation and it is stressful enough without trying to replicate a PGCE in a few weeks.

children sitting at a dining room table completing maths in workbooks is one way of managing children's learning during the coronavirus school closures
There are different ways to manage your children's learning at home during the coronavirus schools closures

As a homeschooling parent I follow on Instagram pointed out: before she made the decision to homeschool she spent months thinking it through, she studied the syllabus and planned how they would manage it. While it could be possible that our children wont go back to until September (which seems an incredibly scary prospect right now) many of us aren’t equipped to replicate our children’s formal schooling and I would suggest it’s not worth trying. However long this lasts our children will all be at different places when they go back, just like they were before the schools closed. Teachers are trained in identifying their needs and bringing them up to the expected level. In the short term it is important to get them to practice the reading and writing skills they already have and to cultivate a love of learning and curiosity. If you need more help then try Tutor Hunt for a tutor near you who can help. 

Here are some suggestions of how to manage learning at home over the next few months:

Spread The Learning Out

Many parents are trying to give their children some form of education while they themselves work from home. Older children can be set tasks and left to work more independently, but this doesn’t work for all children. Children don’t need to be doing lessons 9 til 3 Monday to Friday though, it might be easier to spread learning over the 7 days of the week (especially the weekends if you aren’t having to work then) and during the holidays too. Aiming for maybe 2 hours a day structured activities is easily enough to keep progressing their education.

Mix Up The Learning

You might feel that children are learning more if they are going though work sheets, but there are lots of different ways children learn. For younger children learning through play is still hugely important and everything from building with LEGO, to helping cook dinner or growing some vegetables is helping them with maths, science and more.

I will be encouraging my eldest to keep a diary and to write letters to family because I have noticed how her writing deteriorates over summer holidays if she doesn’t practice enough. We always do a lot of reading as a family, but bedtime stories and reading aloud are now even more important, but I also feel easier to fit in because my children aren’t exhausted from a day of learning at school.

learning at home with children doesn't have to just be formal learning, we have planted some salad and vegetables seeds and will be watching them grow
Planting some seeds in old margarine tubs

Keep Active

We all need to keep active and although current advice allows walks outside (as long as we keep our distance from others) this might change and not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden. Just putting some music on and dancing madly around the room is a great way to be active and relax, but if you want something more structured there are a huge number of people doing lives on social media or who have youtube videos for activities like yoga to ballet classes. Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) is doing live PE classes from 9am each day this week on his YouTube channel and if you miss those he has lots of work out videos for kids on his channel already.

Check Out The Schools Resources

Schools are varying widely in the amount of resources they are providing. Our school has provided a huge number of work sheets as well as access to various apps and online programmes. It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed, but schools don’t expect you to do all of these, they are just giving you various options.

My children spend so much of their downtime on small screens that I really don’t want them to spend all their learning time on there too so I will be balancing out some of the school activities with my own ideas.

Look for Other Resources

There is so much available right now to help parents in their Home Learning journey from great preschool learning aids to free printables and activity ideas from a huge range of companies and blogs there is no shortage of ideas to inspire you.

Get Help

If you feel your child was already struggling or they are at a key point in their education then you might want to take this time as an opportunity to focus on advancing their learning. One option is to use online tutoring to get the support of someone who understands the school syllabus and how children learn. This also has the benefit that it’s not just you asking them to do the work (my eldest tries much harder to impress her teachers than she does me).

Mental Health

As parents we are struggling with the enormity of this fast moving pandemic, many of us are anxious and unsure. Most children are only just beginning to realise the impact of COVID-19 and they are likely to have a huge number of emotions they struggle with over the coming weeks as they realise just how big this is. The most important thing right now is to look after the health (mental and physical) of our families. If the more structured learning at home is becoming too much for you or your children then take a break, take the pressure off and maybe try a different approach after a few days.

***Disclosure: This is a collaborative post***

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