So… you are homeschooling due to Corona Virus?
Have a read of some of this guidance (from a mum and teacher!)
1) Take time to set boundaries and expectations.
This is so important – you and your children will both be navigating your way through these extraordinary circumstances. You will make mistakes, you will find it tough… you will want to quit (both of you!). Set realistic expectations and work from there.
2) Start with a small timetable
For children who are not used to being home schooled, work in time slots of around 15-20 minutes and work up from there.
Give you and your child grace… this is so new for them.
Expecting them to sit down and do an hours Literacy lesson is not going to be realistic. Even in a school lesson, within that hour, there will probably be a 10 minute starter, 10 minutes teacher talk, some group work and a 10 minute finish. And that’s for Key Stage 2.
Work in small blocks with lots of breaks and build up over the next few weeks. Set timers, so your child knows how long they need to do an activity.
See my example timetable here…
3) Lots of praise (and link this to your boundaries and expectations)
I highly recommend a sticker chart or a reward chart. Praise both great learning and behaviour.
In our house, Cody used to work towards a toy/treat from the pound shop at the end of the week. That is obviously not going to happen at the moment.
It might be ‘extra time’ on the Xbox/iPad or a toy/treat to work towards at the end of the week… e.g. a new app on their ipad, a book to read, a lego minifigure. Be creative (and make use of Facebook Marketplace!). Maybe it’s time with you, playing a board game!
For your children, it might need to be a daily reward…
4) Have a system (a plan) for dealing with behaviour now… so you don’t lose your rag later…
For Cody, he knows he gets a warning, and then depending on the behaviour, it will either be time out to think about the choices he has made, or removing treats (like time on the Xbox).
In our house, aggressive behaviour tends to get time out. Other behaviour (arguing, constant ignoring instructions) will tend to lead to treats being removed.
5) You will both need down time.
At school, teachers get (for the most part) a break over lunch and get to switch off, away from the children. You are not going to get this, so make sure you can get some space and a break from each other (if you need it). In our house, this might look like Cody playing in his room, while I read book in mine.
6) Don’t feel guilty.
So, you have a day where he spends most the day watching TV – in the big scheme of things, let this go. Get back to the timetable tomorrow.
This might happen for 100 different reasons:
- trying to get work done
- conference calling
- you know if you have to explain that maths problem one more time, you are going to lose your mind…
- you are both ratty with each other and just need some time…
7) Your relationship comes first…
You and your child are going to muddle through this together. Treasure this time together. Pick your battles and use this time to grow closer, not further apart with arguments over work.
That being said, boundaries need to be respected and you are not your child’s friend first, but their parent – first and foremost.
8) Get outside
Oh my goodness! Get outside – you will both feel better for it.
Maintain social distancing – absolutely, but go for a walk, go for a run (they could cycle), take learning into your garden, put on wet weather gear and splash in puddles.
Check out these ideas for taking learning outside.
What do you think?
Would you add anything?
Wishing you all the best, get in touch if you want help or advice… I’ll do my best to help.
Anna is a primary school teacher, with experience in special educational needs, specialising in behaviour management. She has a Masters in Education, a PGCE and a law degree as well as being a mermaid!