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Children at home – continuing education

School’s out and for many parents and their children, especially those preparing to sit exams, this news will have come much too soon. The good news is that the online community has already brought together some fantastic resources. And the best news is that many of these are free.

Home-schooling may be a new and daunting aspect of parenting, dropped on most of us by the unwelcome arrival of Covid-19 but, for many parents, home-schooling is their choice. Learning from these ‘professional’ home-schoolers is a great place to start, and there are plenty of online blogs for ideas.

Here are a few tips to help make sure you and your children don’t lose their way.

Agree and establish a routine

We are said to be ‘creatures of habit’ – having a regular daily routine can feel very reassuring. So think about beginning this new adventure by planning your weekdays and separating them from weekends.

In the workday-weekdays, think about allocating time to different activities – including free time, quiet time and exercise, as well as schoolwork (and some household chores!).

You could try planning the day for your children, but you may have more success, particularly with older children, if you plan these days together. The art of negotiation is an essential skill for children to learn. And when you have agreed on all of this, think about creating a wallchart – to avoid any doubt or misunderstandings. You could go as far as signing it together. Okay, maybe that’s going a little too far…

Establish some ground rules

For example, if you have agreed that schoolwork will be scheduled from 9:00 am-12:30 pm, agree on the break times within this timeslot – remember, no lesson lasts three and a half hours. You may be surprised by how quickly you get through any schoolwork that’s been set, and how much freedom this creates to explore other areas.

Create a dedicated Learning Zone (if possible)

Ideally somewhere that’s well-lit, comfortable and quiet. But consider exploring different environments – including outside in the garden if the weather is good.

Teach them some life skills

Learning how to open a bank account, manage savings or even insuring a car or house, are all useful skills that don’t generally get taught at school. And of course, there are other life skills such as making a meal or using the washing machine…

Check out these online resources

One place we’ve discovered is chatterpack. They’ve done some of the heavy lifting and pulled together an amazing online library of resources and links. Other sites you might find useful include Duolingo and BBC Bitesize. Duolingo is an excellent resource for learning that second, or third foreign language. Something to try as a family perhaps?

Networking

Although close social contact is discouraged, most childrenwill soon be missing their friends. Facetime or Skye are just some of the ways they might want to keep in touch. In some cases, you might have problems keeping them off. Maybe fix a time slot each day when they can log on and catch up. If you’re struggling for ideas and worry about online safety, take a look at the Education Hub.

You might want to think about extending their network to children in other countries around the globe. PenPal Schools is offering free access during the pandemic.

Look for signs of stress

While many children may be excited about what’s happening, many more will be anxious. Having a routine will help. There’s some helpful advice to parents from the World Health Organization.

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