Homeschooling & Coronavirus: Teachers’ Top Tips

Published 23 March 2020 Updated 30 June 2022

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Homeschooling & Coronavirus: Teachers’ Top Tips

Last Friday, if not before, your child’s school shut its doors indefinitely. You are now more than likely working from home. You have been given a list of things to do with your child and maybe wondering how on earth you will get through the day without storming out the house… but wait! You can’t do that. The whole of the UK is slowly but surely shifting towards lockdown and your options for escape are dwindling by the day.

Deep breaths.

Remaining at home and sticking to the rules is our best hope at slowing this virus and its spread. But that doesn’t stop the sleepless nights contemplating just how you and your family will get through the next few months or more.

After being plunged into homeschooling, I have tips and ideas from both local Primary and Secondary school teachers to keep you and your child (or children) focused.

Primary School Aged Children

Primary Schools have impressively created work packs for their pupils at extremely short notice. There are most likely timetables for you to follow and this can feel overwhelming.

The most important thing to remember is that they do not expect you to complete all of the work. It is there if you choose to do it.

A primary school teacher told us, “try getting into a routine but remember to be flexible. You could start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson that is streaming on YouTube each morning at 9am. (See link below) Following on from this you could do some written work depending on your child’s age or some number work. This will be enough to get them through until lunch. You could then have storytime together and complete an activity. You could come up with a list of activities together such as baking, music, art, a game or a film.

There will be a lot of ideas flying around on social media. My main advice is to avoid this as much as you can! It will only lead you to feel inadequate and that you need to do more, which you don’t.”

Remember, you have not chosen to homeschool your children. You are doing it at a moment’s notice and with no preparation. Remind yourself that we are all in this together and find some like-minded parent friends that will support you along the way. Create a Skype group and meet once a week to share ideas!

Secondary School Aged Children

Here we fall into more difficult territory. Pupils have likely been sent home with instructions to follow lessons in an online setting. They are expected to take responsibility for their learning and this sudden obligation can seem overwhelming at the very least. Some will be keen to get on with their learning, others will find it difficult to motivate themselves.

From a secondary teacher’s point of view, students and parents should be aware that they will find it difficult to follow a 9am-3pm routine: “Ideally, they should log on at 9am and complete at least two subjects. They may find that they can complete an additional subject in the afternoon. It is intense having to focus on a subject on your own; parents and students need to be mindful of their own health and well-being in these unprecedented times.

It is important that they carve out time for themselves and pursue something they enjoy. Perhaps find a yoga or meditation class to follow online. They will want to watch films, and obviously will crave social media to maintain contact with friends; allow them space and time to do this.”

Free online content:

Free stories on audible:
stories.audible.com/start-listen

BBC are showing live primary school lessons:
bbc.co.uk/teach/live-lessons

PE lessons every day at 9am with Joe Wicks:
thebodycoach.com/blog/pe-with-joe-1254.html

For older children try BBC Bitesize. They are adapting content to reflect the current crisis and school closures:
bbc.co.uk/bitesize

London museums may be closed but many will be sharing online videos so you can still get your culture fix from the safety of your sofa. Look up the Museum of London for great content:
museumoflondon.org.uk/collections

Go Surrey wish you the best of luck with these rapidly changing circumstances and challenging times.

Take care, stay safe and stay home!

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