Many people – ourselves included – have focused on making home-schooling work during the recent lockdown, but we might risk focusing on the work related aspects of being stuck at home for teens when it can be difficult for energetic young people who are stuck at home even when the school day ends, or when the weekend comes around. Our Behaviour Outreach Support Service works to promote inclusion in schools and so we asked the staff there to share some of what they’ve learned through working with young people to create a list of top tips to share with them. We hope they help.
Create a timetable:
Creating a timetable with schedules and goals allows you to feel more in control of your work, and allows you to take more pride in it, but this timetable isn’t just about homeschooling. It should also include activities you want to do to relax or have fun. Remember that your mental health is a priority.
Find a hobby:
Baking, yoga, painting and many other activities are all great ways of keeping you busy during the day. You could even try to learn an instrument. By doing so will also be learning essential life skills and passions that you will be thankful to have in the future… but you don’t have to admit that!
Exercise is a great way of staying active and keeping you feeling motivated and productive. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to workout equipment or an outside space – there are lots of exercises and workout videos online that you can easily complete indoors. Even if you don’t like exercise you could always try a dance workout? You’ll be getting your endorphins pumping as well as having plenty of fun!
Remember to take breaks from your school work:
If you are doing your schoolwork it’s okay to get stuck on questions that you may find tricky and difficult. It happens. This doesn’t mean you will fail at that subject. If you don’t know the answer to the question don’t worry. Take some time away from your work and have a recharge break – go grab a snack and a drink and do a fun activity such as baking. Once you’ve recharged have another attempt at the question to see if you can tackle it in a different way. If not your teacher will be happy to help, or even your friends. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
“Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.”
Work at your own pace:
There’s a lot of talk about the negatives of home learning but if you feel you need to spend longer on a piece of work to understand it then the luxury of homeschooling is that you can do this. Don’t feel you have to rush through everything and stick to the times you would spend on the lesson at school. Homeschooling allows you to control how much time you spend on a task and lesson, thus allowing you to work at a pace that you’re comfortable with.
Limit screen time:
It is a good idea to set a time limit for how much screen time you have each day, no matter how hard this may seem. Instead of picking up your phone or going on a games console when you’re bored or on a break why don’t you read a new book? (Books based on computer games count!)
Accept you can’t control everything:
Due to there is a lot of stuff in our lives that is now out of our control, whether this is not being able to see our friends, feeling like we are missing out on vital schooling, or even going on a holiday. It is important, however, that remember what is happening right now is out of our hands and we have to stick to the law to keep everyone safe. This doesn’t mean that we can’t still make the best of the time we have right now. Zoom your friends and have a virtual party, try that new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try, go on adventures with your family. We can’t control what is happening with COVID-19 right now. But we can control how we spend this time and how we can make it as enjoyable as possible.
Talk to people if you need help:
We all feel low sometimes and that’s completely normal. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, remember there is always someone who will listen, whether it is a friend, a parent/guardian or a helpline. Kooth as well as many other helplines offer a free 1-1 counselling service where you can get support about whatever is worrying you. You are not alone.
For a personal account of how difficult managing family tensions can be, as well as some practical advice for how to manage family tensions take a look at our article “The lifejacket approach to tensions at home”.