Almost overnight, the way children learn has temporarily changed, with many children now learning from home. While teachers are sending regular work and pupils are adjusting to this new scenario, it is also important that the parents feel able to support their child at home. To help, here are some tips for studying at home:
Establish a Daily Routine
Being at home without the structure of the school day may mean that your child’s motivation and energy for school work may significantly drop. Setting in place a routine may help them. Set up a timetable that covers the subjects they need. This will give them an idea of what they need to achieve for the day and provide them with a clear focus. Ensure that the timetable works for both them and you, no-one is expecting them to work the same hours as if they were in school. If your child works best in the afternoon, set the core work for that time.
Days will look different dependent on your child’s age, but irrespective of this, keeping your child to a routine will create predictability and reduce anxiety. Ensure that this daily schedule includes a balance of academic, creative, physical and fun activities, with clear expectations for wake-up and bedtimes.
Divide up the work
Not every child learns at the same pace and some may feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to complete. It may help to divide the work into manageable sections, with a couple of tasks a day to complete. Devise a list of tasks to complete within a day or week and your child will feel a sense of achievement when they are able to tick the work off when completed.
Everyone knows that children have bundles of energy and it is important for them to be able to release it whilst at home. There are plenty of resources available online for children to be able to complete their daily exercise or just a run around the garden to let off steam, such as the Joe Wick daily PE lessons.
Whilst older children would probably spend a lot of their time online anyway, it is important for them to exercise and get some fresh air for their mental health and wellbeing. Staying active as a family can also have positive impacts on mood.
Social distancing is vital at this time, but staying in touch with friends is also important for children. Their days at school ended abruptly and they may be struggling with not seeing their friends every day. Providing your children with the chance to interact socially with their peers digitally or over the phone will help boost their mood and maintain those important connections. They would have a chance to have a break and have fun with friends at school, so why not at home too?
There are a huge host of technology options available to support these connections, which can also be used to stay in touch with extended family.
Take regular breaks
It is good to maintain a working routine whilst at home but it is also important to take breaks when needed. Research has found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than longer, less frequent ones. It’s ok to accept that your child may not always be feeling productive. Let them go take a break away from their work and they may come back to the task with some fresh ideas and a new mind-set.
Create a study area/space
As children don’t associate being at home with doing school work; setting up a designated area for study may help. If you have the space, set up a quiet area in the house where your child can work and focus. Even if they space is temporary each time you use it, for example the kitchen table, place some physical objects around to create a workspace, like their pencil case and work books.
Turn off the tech
Although your child will need access to tech to complete their schooling, remember that technology can be as distracting as it is is resourceful. Keep mobile phones away during school time, just as they would be during a normal school day, and keep an eye on the websites and apps your children are accessing.
Reach out for help
It is important to remember that during these unprecedented times everyone is in the same boat. There is no right or wrong way to home school your children, ultimately you can see what is and what isn’t working for them. But if you’re struggling, other people are probably feeling the same way. Reach out to other parents for advice or even to share something you find works well.
Although many children may be used to online learning now, for others, it will still be as strange to them as it is for you. Just make sure you reassure them and let them know that they are doing a great job in settling into this new way of life.
Staying positive is not always easy, but remember, we are all in this together. You are doing a fantastic job!
Don’t forget to have fun
Set aside a little time to plan some off-screen activities that the whole family can enjoy. With school and work, it is unusual for families to have this much time together, so you may as well make the most of it.