Home Schooling - Advice from a Local ParentPublished:
Coventry Rocks Family Favourites is where we showcase the personal recommendations of a local family. In this edition, we are delighted to hear from Natalie, a local mum of 2 and qualified teacher. Natalie has some fantastic advice on Home Schooling, as well as some much needed words of encouragement...
Hi there! My name is Natalie, I live in Coventry with my husband Adam, and my two young children, Freya (3) and Theo (1). I have been a teacher for six years and I currently work in a range of schools across Coventry and Warwickshire, and I also own my own tutoring business, Thrive Tutoring. Lockdown has come in two parts for us, experiencing lockdown as a family and with both myself and husband working from home in the education sector, it has come as a bit of a balancing act!
Be kind to yourself
As a teacher, I’ve received a lot of panicked messages from parents about the dreaded ‘h’ word – homeschooling. Here we are in lockdown 3.0 and we are revisiting what many didn’t like, or even detested doing, the first time. So as a teacher, I wanted to give a few words of wisdom on how to survive, and maybe even enjoy this homeschooling stint! But before I touch on that, I want to say one thing.....
You are doing an AMAZING job, so please don’t put pressure on yourself to “achieve” homeschooling. I’m sure many of you are working, alongside homeschooling your children, so please don’t think you are failing if you only get 10 minutes out of them. Teaching is my job, and as much as I love it, it is my job and I was trained for many years to do so, this was not the job you signed up for! So be kind to yourself.
Reading is so important
If there is only one thing you can do with your children in a day, read. If it’s you reading to them or them reading to you, then BRILLIANT! Not only will your children be using phonics to sound out words and learning new language, there is also another level. Understanding and sparking their imagination. Talk about the story. Why do you think a character might be feeling like that? What do you think will happen next? Why do you think a character has chosen to act like that? This is sparking their imagination and you will be surprised what play this might inspire.
Maths - make it fun!
Want to do some maths? Times tables will always be a hit in my book! Teachers will bang on about this, but they are so important because you use them in so many other aspects of maths. But make a game out of it! Throw a ball to each other whilst you say them. See who can say their times tables in the silliest voice. Hide all the numbers round the room and get them to put the numbers in order. Get them to make a game (bingo, Monopoly, cards, kids love making their own games!) This does not need to be a chore, you don’t need to get your kid to sit down and chant them out, one by one!
You don’t need to make your home into school!
What about if you are struggling to get your child to get anything down on to paper? You can use different colours (either pencils or felt tips). You could write on things you wouldn’t usually (special pens for the windows – if you don’t mind! Try chalks for outside or using their finger into a sandpit). It doesn’t need be down on paper, all of these methods are getting children learning.
Think outside the box
Whatever subject you choose to tackle, use what you have in your house. There is no need to spend a fortune equipment on Amazon or raid the money tin to buy all of the online resources. You don’t need a million resources for homeschooling to be successful. Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
You can use Duplo to practice spellings. Write letters on the sides of them and get them to build words. If you take away one letter, what’s missing? Make it into a game, who can spell the word the quickest? What about if you give each other words and try to figure out what word your letters spell? There are so many options.
Paper and a pen can be your best friend! Write real and fake words on paper, roll a dice (online version if you haven’t got one in the house! Or make one, that’s a learning activity in itself!), who can collect the most real words? Change it for numbers, can you land on a number that is a multiple of 5? What about correct and incorrect calculations? Pick a shape and describe it, can you guess what shape they’ve described?
Most of all - make it fun
I guess what I’d say about homeschooling is don’t necessarily worry about sitting them down and getting them to do worksheet after worksheet. Make whatever it is a game, a competition, kids love to win at something! You don’t need to make your home into school! Teachers will be doing their best through whatever means and when they are back at school, they will be doing their absolute best to get them back on track, so please don’t panic.
You are doing an amazing job
This is hard. So so hard, and you're doing an amazing job. Please make sure you look after yourself so you can be ready for whatever your day brings. When we look after ourselves, it helps us to be more productive, more patient with our children, and it helps to bring out our fun side.
This guide to Self Care for Busy Parents is really useful for finding quick and easy things to do, to help turn your day around. Most of these ideas take under 5 minutes, and they really can make the world of difference.
We hope you have found this article useful, and it gives you some encouragement and support during this difficult time. If you would like to be featured in the next Family Favourites article then get in touch!
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