Breathing through the stress

Home-schooling is one of the many challenges we are all (as parents) facing during the pandemic that is sweeping the world.  No only are we grounded but we must in part knowledge with our own tiny humans with minds like sponges.

It’s been years since we all left school, a lot of it may feel fuzzy and the idea overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of fun ways you can teach your kids and resources out there.

How to start!

Your child’s school should have sent home some work. Talk to your child, ask them questions, have a read through their work. This is a great starting point!

Topics

Rowan has been studying the 60’s at school. As he was near the end of the topic, we are now embracing a two-week Easter Break (as planned) and then will be starting the new home-schooling term with some new topics he has chosen.

To do this write a list of topics you feel you could teach your child. Work together, ask what they want to learn about! Be creative but also follow the guidelines set by the school.

Websites such as pintrest are full of inspiration for making home-schooling fun for all. You need it, Pintrest has it. Make a board of things with your child that you feel you can both achieve and enjoy!

Lessons

What lessons does your child do at school? Write them down! Come up with some ideas using the topics you’ve come up with.

With Rowan we decided the following:

  • English- Books, reading and writing practice, story writing, comic book writing and grammar practice.
  • Maths- Sums practice, times tables, money and telling the time.
  • History- Robin Hood and the Knights of Camelot
  • Science- Space, Planets and the moon
  • Geography- The Weather
  • Art- Dragons, paining, models and other things (this can also be linked back to the above topics like making Knights shields, Robin Hoods bow and arrows, drawing planets ect.
  • Design and technology- Cooking
  • Music- Listening to different types of music from around the world and genres using Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
  • PE- YouTube video work outs, dance and Yoga.
  • IT- Typing practice

Extra learning

While Rowan is home with us, we decided to give him some more ‘life lessons’ as well as schooling. We gave him chores to tackle daily which are written and posted on the fridge. These are age appropriate, help us out and can be exchanged for weekend treats such as a later bedtime, a movie night or an activity he would like to do- like play Minecraft on the PS4.

We also asked Rowan what he would like to learn to do, he chose to tie his laces, make cups of tea (YES!) and help cooking tea.

Rowans Jobs

  • Make bed
  • Feed the Cats in the mornings
  • Wash up plates at lunch times
  • Clean Kitchen counters and anything else we can think of at the time. His pretty helpful.

Avoiding boredom eating

Finally, we wanted Rowan to learn about budgeting and money. A lot of kids being home, tend to boredom eat which makes things more expensive for us. To avoid this, we opened the snack shop. We have a bowl in the kitchen filled with a verity of snacks.

Rowan is given a £1 budget a day and he can purchase his own snacks. The snack shop is shop between 10am-3pm, all items are priced, the healthier ones are cheaper. Rowan now can tell when his hungry better and knows when he wants to visit the snack shop and not eat out of boredom.

So far, it’s worked really well. A couple of days Rowan has eaten under his budget and we let him put the extra in his money box. Its also self service so we don’t need to keep running in and out the kitchen to get him bits. (our cupboards are really high in this house!)

The Plan!

Now we have our list and ideas what do we do with it all? Ok, remember you’re not a teacher and this isn’t school, so don’t worry about getting through it all. Most, like James and myself are still working so we don’t have time to do the entire 9am-3pm school days. Instead we break it up.

In the mornings Rowan will read quietly to himself, practice handwriting usually do work sheets set by the school, tackle some math problems. This gives James an I an hour at most to start work and get the odd jobs done. Rowan knows what his doing so can get on with minimal interaction from us.  We usually do 30 minutes of each so its not too much with a small break in between.

Writing a timetable helps. We try and keep it close to school hours like starting at 9am, having lunch between 12-1 and finishing by 3pm.

The afternoon we tend to save for the more fun activities. The more hands on stuff, messy play time learning and usually end with an educational TV show.

A typical day for us!

Here’s a home-schooling day for us!

7am-8am- Getting up and ready. Preparing for our days. ALWAYS starts with tea and toast.

9am- Writing, Rowan is keeping a diary. He likes to write stories and adventures. While he does this we usually get tidies up and see what his home-schooling book says to try today.

9.30am- School work sheet. We start Rowan off with one of his schoolwork sheets and leave him to it.

10am- Snack shop opens, time for a break, Rowan has a snack while dad or I prepare some Math questions or play some Math games. We play shops using monopoly money (click here for more keeping kids entertained at home ideas) measure and weigh things around the house and James has taught fractions using Lego!

11am- we’re usually finished morning learning here, so Rowan does his chores and then plays in his room till lunch time giving dad and I time to work.

12.30pm- Lunch, Rowan makes his own and buys snacks from the shop. We discuss the second half of the day.

1pm- Second half of learning. Its usually one of the subjects listed above, art, DT, PE ect. We spend some time talking, reading and listening (YouTube) about the topic.

1.30pm Project time! Rowan gets to do his ‘project till the end of school- making things drawing designing.

3pm- all done for the day. Final calls for the snack shop.  We tidy up, and Rowan gets to watch an educational programme on TV for half an hour. (see below.)

4pm-6pm – Free time, Rowan plays, reads, colours till dinner. He finishes any chores that remain and helps prepare dinner. One of his life learning lessons.

**Life lessons can just about slot into anywhere, especially if you’ve finished a task sooner than expected. **

Resources

Useful home-schooling programmes currently available.

  • Netflix – Has a range of education shows for kids. From Horrible Histories, documentaries and Bill Nye the science guy.
  • Disney Plus- Disney’s new streaming service not only has all the movies we know and love but also hundreds of National Geographical shows, also you can find a few shoes on Disney art and animation if you want to give the kids a magical education.
  • YouTube- Loads of Youtubers and influential people live streaming shows to help teach kids. English lessons with David Walliams and PE sessions with Joe Wicks, Music with Myleene Klass (see more here)

Don’t worry its not going to be perfect.

All you can do is your best. Home-schooling just like parenting will have its highs and lows. If it doesn’t go to plan, doesn’t worry. You just want a day off and don’t feel like it, have one. If (like mine) the kids don’t cooperate leave it at that. Try again later.

Stay SAFE. Stay Strong.

For more isolation hacks see below

Isolation Hacks with kids

Home alone hacks

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