Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Yes ladies and gents, this is a topical discussion among many parents all over the world right now and while I love exploring my inner teacher, home schooling doesn’t come without its challenges. I have a 7 and 11 year old son, the eldest is finishing his final year in primary school and I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by, I think a new grey has just appeared thinking about so many years that have gone by since he started reception which feels like it was only yesterday. Anyway, home schooling is a dilemma for some of us. The work these days just seems totally foreign to the way we did things so many years ago, I think it could be Dothraki! The comprehension seems a bit more sophisticated compared to the simple language we used and the maths seems totally advanced for their age. Me being the true professional that I am, I stick to my guns, I look my eldest son in the eye and assure him that we can do it, besides dads know everything right? Wrong! The subject for today is the equivalence of fractions and decimals, which i don’t have a clue about, so while I get my son to read the questions, I quickly open google on my phone and search “how to calculate fractions and decimals” and BAM calculatorsoup.com pops up with everything you need to look good. We work through the sums together and I come up smelling like roses - what a result. As time goes by, things gets easier as we have a structure to our day.
With that in mind I would like to share some useful tips for home schooling.
1. Start Early with some light exercise
The day could be very long if you are going to cover many subjects, especially if you have more than one child to homeschool and if you are going to allow them to play or watch TV first then it’s going to be harder to get them to concentrate on work, but getting them to participate in some light exercise is a great way to get them going. My wife usually does the live morning workout with Joe Wicks, the fitness coach for a few minutes before we start work and the boys love it. Joe is amazing and makes it really fun for children.
2. Set a schedule with breaks in between
It is important to have a structure to the day, that way they have something to focus on and have breaks to look forward to as an incentive to work towards. We usually allow them to take a break after the 1st hour, since it’s summer and it’s hot, they get to enjoy an ice lolly in the garden.
3. Have a dedicated work space
Their room is not for working, it’s for playing and there are too many distractions like toys and games to play with, so make sure you have a dedicated area you can allocate for work, even if you are short on space like we are. We usually set them up at the dining table so they have an allocated area to work in. It might be good to even move outdoors for certain lessons like science and nature which we’ve done once when they had to identify certain plants and trees in the back garden.
4. Keep it interesting
Children have a very limited attention span, my 7 year old finds it incredibly difficult to stay focussed on a single subject for more than 10 mins before he goes and wanders off or starts to have conversations about random things like what we had for dinner the night before. Show them that you are interested in their work and if it is something you are particularly knowledgeable about then they will pick up on that and equally if it’s a subject you’re not so keen on or have struggled with, don’t say to them that it’s hard, otherwise they’ll mentally switch off on it too and you don’t want to discourage them from trying.
5. Stay Positive!
Lockdown can be really arduous for some parents and it is sometimes hard to keep up the motivation to teach while having to be a home carer and fit in normal work, but it is so important to stay positive and keep up the enthusiasm. The whole experience is different for kids too as they’re not seeing their teachers or friends for normal lessons, so try to be flexible and understand it from their POV. I must be honest, my wife is the big winner here as she has the patience of a saint and is totally relaxed while able to maintain a level of positivity throughout the day.
Feel free to comment and let us know how you're getting on.