Our schools have now been closed for two weeks due to Covid-19. Whilst I’m used to being home with my kids due to being a SAHM, I’ve never had to home school any of them, and so like the majority of people this is new territory for me. I think that homeschooling is wonderful, but for most people, it’s something they choose to do, and go into it prepared, unlike a lot of us that have been thrown into it recently.
My initial plan was to take a very unstructured approach to homeschooling, and to go with the flow of the day. But within a few days it became clear to me that Emma prefers a more structured approach to learning, as she has consistently checked her school calendar to see what she would be doing. However, with two other young children to care for, and a house to run, I knew I couldn’t commit to a rigid schedule. I didn’t want to attempt to plan out each hour of the day, only to feel I was failing when I fell behind because of an extra nappy change, or a longer-than-expected feed.
As a solution to Emma’s desire for schedule and my need for flexibility, I created a plan for the week inspired by Emma’s current school timetable. It sets out what we’re going to cover that day, with loose times (morning/lunch/afternoon), so Emma can see what she can expect next. I implemented this approach this week, and it seems to be working well for us both. I’m also not stuck trying to remember what we still need to cover, as it’s written out for me!
In terms of the learning itself, Emma’s school sent home some books and worksheets, and we have access to resources on her Google Classroom that have been uploaded throughout the year. I’ve also spent a lot of time looking for things on Google (informational texts, worksheets etc) for her to read and complete – thankfully the internet has been very fruitful. I try to spend about 15 minutes on a subject, and then move on. I find that Emma loses focus if I try for more than this in one go, and then becomes resistant and moody.
In addition to what was sent home, and what I’ve found through my searches, I’ve also seen a lot of home school support businesses offering discounts, and free upgrades at this time, which I’ve found super helpful. One website that I’ve used many times in the past (as a parent, and also during my time as a Childminder) is Twinkl. They have so many resources, and are currently giving parents free access to their premium subscription (check out their Instagram for the code for your country). I’ve downloaded and printed lots of worksheets and activities for the girls. I can’t recommend it more for ease of use, and quality resources.
Whilst we’ve been doing structured learning, we’ve also been spending lots of time learning through playing, baking, doing crafts, going on walks, and lots of other fun activities. If you need some ideas to keep your kids busy you can read my post here. This is a great way for children to learn, especially as they don’t even realize they’re learning, so there’s often no resistance!
Our county have just announced that they’re rolling out an online learning service this week where teachers can set work for the children, and have meetings with them to catch up. So it’ll be interesting to see how that works, and what I’ll end up doing to support that.
I’d love to know what you’re doing on the homeschooling front during these wild times.