Over the past few months, many of us have suddenly been forced to take up the job of teacher for kids stuck at home! This has been quite a challenge – but are there lessons and habits that we can take from our home-schooling experience once the world’s schools reopen?
Here are some home-schooling tips that we should keep in mind when studying with the little ones at home, that even after lockdown, will help children to make the most of their study times.
1. Make a ‘study space’
Doing schoolwork in the same space every day will help kids to get into the right mindset. It should be quiet, with a comfortable place to sit, a surface for writing, good light for reading, and enough space for books and papers.
There may not be enough space in your home for a permanent study area, but you can mark a place as a temporary ‘quiet study area’ by putting something like a houseplant there. When in the study zone, it’s time for study!
2. Keep to a schedule
Keeping regular hours in lockdown is difficult for everyone, especially kids! However, that makes it even more essential to draw up a time plan for schooldays and stick to it.
It doesn’t have to stick to regular school hours, but should give enough time for all work to be done. And as part of that schedule, you will need to…
3. Take regular breaks
Studying non-stop for an hour or more is not the best for learning! Remember to put breaks in your schedule – these actually enhance concentration and could include going for short, brisk walks, doing some PE exercises, or even walking the dog. TV does NOT work as a useful break, however!
4. Quality time
Parents often need to help kids, either with home-schooling or regular homework. However, you need to balance your children’s needs with the fact that you have responsibilities of your own!
It is best to schedule times when you will give the kids your undivided attention. While doing their work, get them to note down things that they want to ask you about before moving on, so they can ask you about them during the scheduled ‘quality time’.
5. Keep it flexible
One of the advantages of home-schooling is that children can do their own research about things they have learned that interest them. Why not schedule 45 minutes of ‘free study’ at the end of the day?
At the beginning of this time, ask your child what they would like to find out more about, and then let them do some research on the internet. Then, at the end of this period, ask them for three interesting facts they found out
6. Reward effort
Though they might deny it, kids want your approval. We might want our kids to achieve things, but it is more important to reward effort. After all, if we teach perseverance, then they will be able to stick with tasks until they can achieve them. So pay attention to when they are putting in a lot of work, and be sure to congratulate (and sometimes even reward!) them for this.
7. Remember, you’re not alone!
Helping your kids study can be hard work! Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help on questions or just to talk about your experiences. Social media is a great way to talk to other parents, and even after lockdown you can still get in touch over social media.
There are also educational resources available that could be used for fill-in lessons and help you with ideas if you few stuck. BBC Bitesize and our own Storytime Teaching resources packs are both fun and educational!