Homeschooling children can be tough, especially for parents who are not teachers or education professionals. Some head teachers have called for schools to make up for lost time by repeating the summer term, and think this is the perfect opportunity for educational establishments to push for a “fresh start” for students. Express.co.uk has everything you need to keep your children motivated and wanting to do their school work.
How to keep your children motivated during the lockdown
Patricia Warner from SchoolExams.co.uk and a teacher with a 30-year career in education, says the best thing to do is take it easy.
Ms Warner told Express.co.uk: “It is important not to put too much pressure on yourselves and your children in terms of learning during these unprecedented times.
“However, children respond well to structure and routine so my advice is to implement their learning at the same time every day.”
Ms Warner said younger children tend to get on better in the mornings, where their brains are most active and willing to engage, and recommends 20-30 minute bursts of work before taking a short break.
She added: “Find space in the house where it’s quiet and without distraction, making sure there’s a table and comfortable chair for them to work from.
Home schooling can be challenging, but there are ways to make it easier
Make the most of resources available to you online
“If you can, aim for an hour in the morning of two 30 minute sessions covering maths and English, and in the afternoon try to ‘learn together’ by finding an engaging topic to write, draw, take photos of, find facts etc. to keep the learning experience as engaging as possible.”
The experienced teacher said children are more likely to engage when they are looking at a topic they are interested, and that this technique can be applied to a wide range of school subjects.
Ms Warner said: “Read together in the garden for a more relaxed environment. Talk about the book, ask questions and enjoy the learning experience.
“If you can, aim to read a book a day with younger children as it will really help them in the long term.”
The Oxford Reading Owl is a great website with accessible free e-books based on a child’s learning ability, which Ms Warner recommends.
Take the learning outside if you have a garden
For older children, she recommends studying somewhere quiet and without distraction, focusing on exam practice papers in core subjects like maths and English.
Ms Warner said: “Try to get them to spend an hour without a break, it’s important not to lose their skills and understanding in these key areas.
“Try to use the most of the morning for learning and incorporate exercise, science and art in the afternoon to break up the day.
“Again for children in years 10 and 11 they need structure and routine and I suggest that one hour a day of maths and English should try to be achieved.”
Try to find a quiet place, free of exterior distractions
She stressed the significance of practice papers for GCSE aged students.
Ms Warner added: “It is statistically proven that practicing exam papers will lead to a higher result in the future.
“Its also a great way for parents to check out the latest teaching methods and replicate the home tutor experience.”
Mona Golmohamad Linkova from the University of Roehampton’s School of Education says parents do not need to stress at the prospect of homeschooling.
In terms of devising a routine, Ms Linkova told Express.co.uk: “Parents may have to find a balance between working remotely and arranging a schedule for the day which encompasses play, study and time to get outside under the current restrictions.
It has been proven that children achieve higher results after doing practice papers
“It is important to consider realistic intervals for quality time as well as reflection or quiet moments.”
She also recommends utilising online resources and educational facilities.
Ms Linkova added: “Make use of a network of rich content across the internet from local schools, your local community and organisations.
“Many schools are using their website and online platforms to offer remote support. BBC Bitesize or Teach are popular resources, but there are also fantastic apps available such as EdPlace.com.
“Parents can broaden this out to more immersive services too. The British Museum has collections online for children to explore. You can explore artists and society in rooms made available online by the Tate Modern gallery.”
For younger children, try and get through one book together a day
She also recommends National Geographic for kids, which offers resources to provide a meaningful and engaging learning session at home.”
Ms Linkova added: “Learning doesn’t have to take place solely at a desk or in front of a screen.
“Whether it be in the garden or on a daily walk, you can link nature or things you witness outside to a learning task.
“It can be as simple as naming the different birds you see outside and researching them later that day.
“Some schools are still working flexibly to offer teaching remotely but in a period that is a test for us all and displaying just how altruistic our society can be, parents should instil a positive approach to the needs of their children in what could be a very fulfilling period for families.”