11 tips for parents for a stress-free home-schooling experience
By Cable.co.uk | Monday, January 25th 2021
Home-schooling was never in the news as much as it is these days thanks to the impact of Covid-19. The global pandemic has shut schools across the UK again, and there’s pressure on parents to make sure their children’s education remains on track – on top of life’s other demands.
For that reason, we’ve put together a list with plenty of useful tips for your own home school. But before that, you may want to check out these other useful guides if you’ve got children around:
- Which TV channel has the best educational content for children?
- How to keep your children safe when streaming
- The best internet providers and government help for homeschooling
And now, let’s go. Here’s our top tips for home-schooling and having some fun while doing so.
1. Reduce distractions
First and foremost, reduce any potential distractions. This means limiting the use of mobile devices (phones and tablets) until the schoolwork is done but also not having your children’s favourite toys around. A quiet, clutter-free space that is comfortable for your child and where their mind can’t be tempted by other things.
2. Reach out to your child’s teacher
This situation is as strange for teachers as it is for students. You should receive a schedule of things to go through and all the different schoolwork your child needs to complete to set you in the right direction. Try scheduling a one-to-one every now and then with your kid’s teachers so you can discuss any difficulties you’re facing. Also, highlight technology challenges that could impact your kid’s studies. Be proactive and flexible.
3. Have a consistent schedule
Moving from classroom setting to a home school setting can be a big disruption for most children and having a consistent schedule for schoolwork will come in handy both for parents and for the little ones. Don’t forget, they’re not able to enjoy the usual social interactions that are part of their normal school day. The idea is that is you have a clear and consistent schedule for schoolwork, so you can plan the workday – and your own working schedule if you’re working from home. This will help you build some sort of structure and have consistency with set times for meals, schoolwork and any other activity.
For example, you should try to get the children on the same schedule they are on when they go to school: same wake-up time, breakfast time, start hour, and so on.
But be flexible. All children are different and depending on their age they may need bite-size learning instead of longer chunks of time working on a task. Always find what works best for your child, allow for flexibility and change things around to find the right routine for your family. As a tip, it does help keeping a checklist or a planner where your children can see what they have to do, and tick it off once they’ve completed it.
4. Go offline
This one may not always be possible but, if you can, try to work with print materials and real textbooks. While your children will have to attend some online classes or lectures, spending too many hours looking at a screen can be a challenge for focus. This will also give their developing brains the time and space to think out of the box and be creative.
5. Include ‘Brain breaks’ in between learning
In the same way you need a break when you’re doing something that requires a lot of concentration, your children do too. So factoring in some time for quick breaks when home-schooling is essential to avoid frustration and burnout. It doesn’t need to be a lot but, for example, allow some time for exercise, for being outdoors or for doing something totally unrelated with learning. They’ll tackle the next task much better once they’ve had a little break and given their mind a rest.
6. Give positive feedback
Positive reinforcement and feedback are as important in a learning environment as they are at work. And your children may miss the reassurance they get from teachers and counsellors. We’d advise you build some sort of reward system – putting a check mark, star or sticker on an assignment – and praising your child when they complete a task. If your children are older, you can reward them with watching a movie or extra minutes for play before going to sleep.
7. Be flexible and kind to yourself
We’ve already said it once and we’ll repeat it again – Be Flexible. Some days will be tougher than others. Some subjects will be trickier than others. Some days you and the kids will be more tired than others. So feel free to adjust the schedule don’t get frustrated if something doesn’t get done straightaway. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself and give yourself a break, too.
8. Don’t forget to have fun
Teaching doesn’t have to be tedious and you can find a fun spin to almost anything if you need to motivate your child. Go outdoors, allow them to experiment and get dirty, turn things into games or competitions. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together and the least thing you can do is try to have fun.
9. Help children stay in touch with their friends
One of the things your children will most likely miss from school are their friends. With all the rules regarding socialising and not being able to see their friends, it’s a good idea to allow some time for this – a quick Zoom or FaceTime will go a long way to helping your kids reconnect with friends. It’s a good idea to organise a daily video chat with a friend or a group of them. And there are plenty of collaborative and fun online activities they can do together like playing games or doing quizzes. It’s important to learn maths but it’s equally important developing social ties and friendships.
10. Protect children online
The Internet is a great place to learn and develop but it’s also full of dangers you don’t want your children exposed to. For that reason, make sure you have all the right parental controls and check our guide about Internet Security for a totally safe home-schooling experience.
11. Have open conversations
Children learn a lot through having open conversations with teachers, their peers and their parents. The new circumstances mean that you will have plenty of chances to talk with them about literally almost anything that crosses their mind and that is a lovely opportunity to open up and discuss from social issues to climate change. Embrace it and you’re likely to have a lovely experience getting to know each other even better.
What do you think of these tips for home-schooling? Do you have any other ideas or advice? Share them with us and we’ll update the blog to feature them