As the new term begins, at UrAbility HQ we want to share some advice about home-schooling. We know for some parents it feels like an adventure to be responsible for your child’s learning. For others, it can be overwhelming. You might be home-schooling a few students at different stages of their school journey.
It is important to remember; however you feel on a given day, you are not your child’s teacher. You are supporting them to learn in a time of crisis when they can’t go to school.
These are highly unusual circumstances and they won’t last forever. We have picked our top 5 tips for home-schooling to help your whole family make the most of it.
1. Set up designated space and time for learning
School is a highly regimented place with set space and time for particular activities. Try to achieve the same at home. Set up a specific space for learning if possible. Have a desk space with a chair that can be used while learning. If space is tight and desk space needs to be somewhere like the kitchen table, clear it and change it so it doesn’t feel like the kitchen table. Layout school materials so you have everything you need.
Make a timetable that has similar breaks to school with varying activities. You don’t have to stick rigidly to a school timetable but some structure and routine will help to keep a flow going. Make a new timetable together that suits all your family. A routine will help everyone to understand what is expected of them and reduce uncertainty and anxiety and promote a sense of calm.
2. Use technology and online resources
It is most likely that you and your child are communicating with the school using some kind of online platform or system. This is your first port of call when looking for resources. If you are having difficulty with it, other families probably are too, so speak up and ask for help!
Remember when teachers are setting work, they are estimating what students can achieve at home because they can’t be taught face to face. If completing all the work is not manageable, don’t worry too much. Do what you can do.
There are so many online resources available to support learning. Your school will direct you to some and if you need more, a quick online search will yield good results. Try not to get bombarded with resources. Prioritise what your child needs to do and find specific resources relating to that. Teaching and supporting learning require planning and organizing. Planning and organizing resources are part of your task. Give yourself time to do it each day and involve your child in the process. If your child uses assistive technology in school, use it at home too.
3. Passion projects
Even though routines are good, this is also a great time to give your child a chance to do a project they will really enjoy. Learning isn’t all about the curriculum. In school, students learn and practice lots of social and soft skills, they can’t socially interact now, but they can focus on their strengths and pick a passion project. The experience will stand to them and they will create some nice memories too.
4. Be a help but not a hindrance
In ordinary times, you are not at school with your child. Try to remember this and give them space to work and learn on their own. Be around to offer some backup when it is needed. Take an interest in what your child is doing and learning but try not to crowd them. Avoid reading over their shoulder or hovering. Instead remind them you are there and check in regularly.
5. Be forgiving of yourself and your student
Learning at home day after day is new for both parent and child. We are all dealing with the global pandemic too. Everyone will feel worried and stressed at different times. Remember you are all doing your best and that’s all you can do. Try to put time aside each day to exercise, keep active and have fun together as you navigate through this strange time. Some days might be harder than others. Some days you will get loads done. Other days you might not get a lot done. Be forgiving of each other and of the situation and start the next day afresh. Each day holds new opportunities, embrace them.