With schools closing their doors and many of us working from home for the first time, it might feel as though you’ve been landed with the impossible job of balancing your children’s education with the practical realities of home and work life. So, to make things a little easier, here are our top five tips for making the school of mum and dad work for everyone.
Trying to replicate the school day in your front room is never going to work. No one else expects you to suddenly morph into a model teacher overnight, so why waste time worrying about it. Just keep things simple and support your child’s learning when, where and how you can.
Learning from life
Education doesn’t always need to be about facts, figures and books. Try turning everyday chores into learning experiences. Cooking a meal together is a basis for discussing countries of origin, nutritional values or plastic packaging. And if you are working from home, why not talk to them about what you’re trying to do and get their input. Their ideas may raise a smile, but you might just learn something too.
Embrace the virtual world
A trip to the museum may be out of the question but a virtual tour can provide hours of fact filled fun for children of all ages. The British Museum offers a Museum of the World experience exploring continents and artefacts, San Diego Zoo have a great range of web cams and videos to explore and with Google Arts and Culture they can take virtual tours from across the globe. Alternatively, try picking a topic and set them exploring (safely) online, with a show and tell in an hour or two once you’ve done some work.
Online learning platforms
Many schools are subscribed to online resources such as Google Classroom, MathsWatch or Purple Mash where children can learn, explore, or complete work set by their regular teacher. You’ll also find additional support through e-learning platforms such as BrainPOP, Twinkl and Tynker, all of which are available free of charge whilst the schools are closed.
Just have fun
Even a board game can be an educational experience. Maths skills can be developed with number-based games such as Yahtzee or Rummikub, they can learn about strategy by playing Chess, or discover nature in the back garden using apps such as PlantNet or PictureThis. And if they’ve still got energy to burn, try the daily workouts specifically designed for children and broadcast each morning by Joe Wicks on YouTube.
So remember, focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t. Children are likely to learn far more from small amounts of quality time than hours on end sticking to rigorous schedules. Keep in mind that what they learn in these next few months is unlikely to shape their future one way or the other, so relax as much as you can and enjoy the time you have together. After all, this is a learning experience for everyone.