Life on the inside: 10 top tips for non-teachers faced with home schooling

Life on the inside: 10 top tips for non-teachers faced with home schooling

So schools have been closed for three days now… Do you have a sharpened sense of respect for the teaching profession?

Those long summer holidays teachers enjoy looking less of a perk and more of a necessity?

Well, fear not, here are some home schooling tips for stressed out parents whose children so far have only managed to improve their score on Flippy Race*.

*Free to download from Ketchapp Games – very addictive.

1) Routine

By now we have established you surely have to set at least a rough timetable.

It’s tough when the 10-year-old gets up at 6.30am as usual and the 12-year-old rolls out of bed at 10am, but try to stick to a routine.

Otherwise the day ends up shapeless and people are still eating cornflakes at 11.30am.

Would they do this if school was open?

Try to get at least a rough timetable going to give shape to the day
Try to get at least a rough timetable going to give shape to the day

No, they would be in detention.

2) PE

Let’s get those little ones’ hearts pumping.

Joe Wicks has taken the web by storm. He hosts an online PE session at 9am every school day and, by lunchtime, Wednesday’s had been viewed more than 1.7m times. You can join in too.

Just try not to be jealous of his pristine living room.

3) Timetable

Now let ‘The Learning’ begin. My son suggests starting off with subjects that the pupil likes best (maths and science for him) and once they have got going, to sneak in bits they don’t like (RE). But that’s just him.

This is a real teacher at work
This is a real teacher at work

Teachers advise you break it up and not to try to do too much at once.

4) Resources

Of course, there is a wealth of teaching materials online.

Here is a flavour

–  Rosetta Stone is offering free language lessons

– the British Royal Society is sharing six videos of Professor Brian Cox science experiments here.

– Twinkl and BBC Live Lessons have many more.

5) More resources

More ideas

– create your own word searches, particularly around a topic they love

– cooking teaches numeracy, motor skills and patience

– encourage them to paint or draw something for a relative they cannot see

Home baking for children can be fun – just ignore the mess
Home baking for children can be fun – just ignore the mess

– or plant some seeds and wait for them to grow.

6) Snacks

Set up a shop. Give your pupil a set daily amount to spend and make healthy items cheap and sugary snacks more pricey.

They learn to manage their expenditure and stop pestering you for sweets.

Price sweet treats to supress demand.
Price sweet treats to supress demand.

Remember, treats are vital to break up the day. Other ideas are – free screen time for older ones, stickers for younger learners.

7) Shhh!

Factor in two quiet periods of reading into their schedule. Younger members of your house could listen to an audio book. David Walliams is releasing a free story every day.

Everyone needs a break from each other.

8) Dear diary

Encourage your child to express themselves in a journal, with words or drawings of how they feel.

This period will one day be taught in the history books and they will be able to pass on their diary explaining what they went through to their children and grandchildren one day.

Writing their thoughts for posterity can be a positive lesson
Writing their thoughts for posterity can be a positive lesson

9) Wildlife

What better time to look out a window and learn about birds?

The RSPB has produced these birdwatching sheets for young wildlife lovers.

Set them a challenge over a set period to spot as many species as possible.

10) Be kind

Remember you are not a teacher (if you are why are you reading this)?

Your home is not a school. These are unprecedented times. Take it easy on yourself and your children.

They might not remember what you taught them during this time, but they might well recall how you handled it.

Amid the chaos, this can be a time to bond.
Amid the chaos, this can be a time to bond.

So be kind to yourself.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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