Right now, I know I’m not the only parent in the UK who feels as though I’m doing a rubbish job of balancing all the plates I have spinning right now.
To be completely honest, during the first lockdown, I tried hard to get my daughters to do all the work set by their school. Their teachers had worked hard to prepare it all, and as a teacher myself, I felt if I weren’t expecting the highest of standards from my children, I would be letting down the whole profession. Silly really, on reflection, but nevertheless, my feelings were just that: my own.
This time round, I have set about doing things differently. We primarily aim to do the English and maths each day, but I supplement them with bits the girls want to learn about, things that just crop up. For example, as I switched on my computer, my eldest spotted a beautiful Antarctic scene with hundreds of penguins. She showed a keen interest in learning more about these cute birds, so we set out to learn more.
So, here are some ways in which you can set about ensuring that your home-schooling endeavours work for you and your children:
- Create your own school
I must say that we haven’t actually gone down this route ourselves, but I have read so much about this, and it seems like it could be such fun. Creating your own school could involve coming up with a name, such as something linked to your surname. Next, design a logo; using something like a rose svg could make it look so professional. Finally, make up your own certificates incorporating the school name and logo. At the end of the week, you can present them to your children for the work of which you and they are most proud or the wonderful qualities they have shown.
- Make worksheets attractive and colourful
Dull worksheets can switch off learners in an instant. Ensuring that anything you make yourself is colourful and attractive will help your children to engage. Ok, so you might end up spending a small fortune on printer ink, but it will certainly be worth it. However, it is also essential to choose fonts and colours that will actually support your children’s learning rather than detract from it. However, it is also essential to choose fonts and colours that will actually support your children’s learning rather than detract from it. If you are short on time, there are some excellent resources available over at Twinkl, which is a favourite amongst educators and parents alike.
- Go with their interests
If you have a sport mad child, try to incorporate this into their work. Use top-quality images, such as a basketball svg or royalty-free stock photographs. These will add a flash of colour to your worksheets or PowerPoints that you create. Using role-play whilst incorporating their interests can be highly effective. We set up a beauty salon, giving my daughters a certain amount of money to spend on their treatments. They had to decide what they wanted, add up the total and work out how much change they were owed. Such fun and so memorable!
- Give them some ownership
Flip things round for a change. Instead of you creating the resources for them, why not allow them to carry out research which will then allow them to create presentations, posters and information booklets? You could take it one step further and allow them to teach you and their siblings a lesson here and there. For example, if you have a star gymnast or a keen runner, they could plan and teach a mini lesson showing you the perfect technique.
Finally, I’d like to express to every one of you that these are unprecedented times, and it is challenging for us all, even us trained teachers! If you cannot complete every single piece of work set by the school, don’t worry. If you struggle to get the kids to switch the TV off one day, you’re not a failure. We can only do so much. Don’t be too hard on yourselves.