Long periods of school absence can fill many parents with nagging doubts about the effect on their children’s wellbeing and learning. This is especially true when the situation prevents you from leaving your house or garden – as is currently the case with the COVID-19 outbreak. Here we hear from Nicola, a Year 2 teacher in Middlesbrough, as she shares advice about entertaining and teaching your children at home.
Like many others across the UK, my school is only open for children of key workers at the moment, meaning many children will be at home for the near future. It’s a confusing time for us all and the absence of school routine and regular social contact will understandably create worries about your children’s happiness and wellbeing.
Homeschooling is a daunting prospect for parents and many I’ve spoken to have said that they’re worried about their children falling behind. Most of these parents have to juggle work with looking after their children and this is particularly stressful for those at our school who are vulnerable or on a low income.
To help make this huge task a little easier for them we have put together a useful list of tools and websites for children and their parents to get them through this time, which I’m sharing here so all parents can benefit.
Before we start here’s a piece of general advice. A great way to start is to get your children to write their timetable so they feel they have some ownership of it. Make sure you allow some time for learning, creativity, play and resting (free time) every day! You can also get them to help set up a little desk with their favourite pencils and pad.
Maths is an area that many parents themselves don’t necessarily feel too comfortable with, but luckily there are some great resources online to help you, including:
The key to teaching writing is to provide stimulating topics which fire the imagination. You could try asking your children to:
- Keep a daily diary
- Look out of the window and write a description of what you can see
- Write a letter to their teacher telling them what they miss about school
- Imagine an adventure. Ask them where they would go – The moon?, Under the sea? To the jungle? They can then use descriptive language to write all about it.
Reading and enjoying stories can be one of the most rewarding aspects of helping your children learn. Again, there are some great online resources to help with reading – some of which are in audio format for parents for whom English isn’t their first language.
If you have any outside space planting seeds can provide on ongoing activity stretching throughout your children’s time at home – allowing them to take care of them and watch them grow.
There are also some good resources online at:
Celebrity nutrition and fitness coach Joe Wicks is currently hosting live PE sessions on YouTube aimed at children which have drawn millions of viewers – why not see if they work for you?
There’s a great activity on the CBeebies website focusing on drawing rainbows and sticking them your windows to spread a little joy.
Craftspal highlight some quick, easy crafts ideas and, there are more great resources to be found on the Artful Parent website.
The artful parent is also a great resource for fun kids recipes.
Another great source regarding cooking, and in particular about the handling of ingredients, food skills and cooking techniques is The Food – a Fact of life website.
There is a lot of information out there so I hope you find some of these resources helpful and cuts down on excess worrying.
The most important thing about homeschooling is to not feel overwhelmed and daunted. Create a plan, keep it simple and stick to it!”
If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to get in touch with our free national helpline, FamilyLine for practical and emotional support. Find out more here.