Home-Schooling a 7-Year-OldPublished:
Coventry Rocks Family Favourites is a new series where we showcase the personal recommendations of a local family. Here we take a trip over to Kenilworth, where local mum Kerry is busy home-schooling her daughter, Lily, who is 7. Faced with a 'lockdown' situation, we asked Kerry for some top tips for home-schooling her daughter, whilst keeping it varied, fun, and stress free!...
Hello! I'm Kerry, I live in Kenilworth my husband Nick, and we have two children Luke (19) and Lily (7). As a family we are used to being out and about all the time, visiting local parks, going for bike rides etc... so the 'lockdown' has taken some getting used to for all of us! I'm no expert, but having worked in a school I do have some tips and suggestions for how to home school your kids, whilst remaining calm and keeping it fun!
First Step - Make a Plan
I was starting to feel overwhelmed with all of my ideas and things I wanted to do with Lily, so I set to work writing a plan. I found it best to use a whiteboard, so it is easily adaptable each week, and I have put it on display in the kitchen for the whole family to see. I try not to fill the days with too many different subjects/activities, as I want to make sure we have some down-time and flexibility as well.
I also take a note of what we do each day, in case things don't go to plan or we end up doing something different. Some days are more productive than others, but I find if I write everything down it's useful to sit with Lily and reflect on what we've achieved.
I make sure Lily wears her school PE kit every day. This is so she feels like she is in a school environment, but still comfy and it's fine for playing outside. I found having Lily wear 'school clothes' really helps to set the focus and it is useful to distinguish between weekdays and weekends.
Lily has been using a wipe board to help with her story writing. She writes her train of thought on the board, and is able to rework it and make changes. Then she can write it up in her best handwriting!
We are also really enjoying the BookTrust Website which is filled with stories, quizzes, and activities to print out.
I have signed Lily up to Maths with Carol Vorderman which she really enjoys. It's free to join at the moment, and because it is matched to the National Curriculum it gives me confidence in what I am teaching her. She has a task to complete each day so it has become part of our routine.
Sometimes I ask Lily to teach me certain things, which helps the topic 'stick' in her mind, and makes her feel important.
We start each morning with PE with Joe Wicks, which we do together. This helps to get the blood pumping and really sets the tone for the rest of the day. It's great for me as well, as I'm getting a decent workout each morning!
We often end the day with Cosmic Yoga, which again we enjoy doing together, and it's great for winding down.
We love getting arty so I try to have a few different craft activities ready for the week. These are a great distraction if the schoolwork isn't going well, or as a way to break up the day. It's useful to have one craft that she can keep going back to throughout the week, like this friendship bracelet kit. It was cheap and cheerful and she really enjoyed it!
If you've got some old wrapping paper, tissue paper, sweet wrappers, or anything like that, then it's great to let the kids get creative. Lily spent an hour or so creating this rainbow collage in 'art class', and it is now proudly displayed in our front window.
Lily has been helping out in the kitchen as part of her 'home economics' class. We've enjoyed a couple of the Cook Stars Cook Along Videos, especially the Rocky Road! Yum!
We've baked cupcakes together from a simple recipe I found online, and she has also enjoyed helping to make dinner for the family.
Schedule in some "down time"
It's important to remember what a strange and uncertain time it is right now, and it's likely your kids are feeling scared and anxious. To combat this, I try to schedule in a few 'treats' throughout the week and some calm activities that we can do together. It doesn't have to be much, for example painting Lily's nails is a treat, or watching a Disney film together.
Plenty of Fresh Air
It's really important to give Lily 'breaks' like she would get at school. Whatever the weather, I encourage Lily to go into the garden to play and run around. This is an ideal time for me to clear up, grab a cuppa, or get on with some jobs!
Connect with Friends and Family
Lily has been really missing her school friends, as well as her grandparents, and it's difficult for her to understand why she can't see them. So we've been arranging regular video calls with them to ensure she feels connected. Her friends have been doing lots of singing (Frozen, of course!) and they have played a few of these Video Chat Games as well which has kept them giggling!
Look After Yourself
Don't forget to look after yourself, it's important now more than ever! I try to eat healthy foods as much as possible (with a few treats thrown in) and I make an effort to chat to friends on the phone. I try to make sure I get out every day for a run or walk, and I've signed up for a Virtual Race to win a medal. These small things help to alleviate any stress and frustration I may be feeling.
It's a very stressful time for everyone at the moment, so remember to breathe, try to relax and have fun. Home schooling doesn't come naturally to everyone (me included!) so try not to put too much pressure on yourself. I found this guide really helpful, especially the tips on keeping calm and mixing it up. It's important to remember that none of us are perfect; this is new to everyone!
Wishing you all the very best during this time, take care of each other and stay safe.