Since the schools closed thousands of parents have found themselves acting as substitute teachers in their homes due to the coronavirus outbreak. Homeschooling can be hard, so we’ve created a guide to help you and your children make the most of it with helpful tips and free online resources.
Here’s our homeschooling tips:
Choose an area of the home for homeschooling sessions with a table that you and your child can sit and work at together. Similar to their desk in school, keep their books, pencil cases and other equipment on this table.
Try to keep this area for homeschooling only so your child can differentiate between the school day and leisure time. Have them unpack their school things in the morning and pack them away when the lessons are finished.
When possible try to keep to a set routine for homeschooling. This could mean having the children washed, fed and dressed by a certain time to begin lessons, setting a time for core subjects, snack time, lunchtime and home time.
Homeschooling is tough. Don’t be too ambitious with your schedule - aim to complete 2 - 4 hours of school work if you can. Prioritise what needs to be done based on advice from your child’s teacher and what your child is interested in. You can break up the day by varying the subjects and keep your child interested with subjects that they enjoy.
PE is so important for children and will help to burn off some of that pent up energy they’re experiencing. Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, streams live PE lessons from his sitting room on social media every school day. He streams at 9am but the lessons are available for 24 hours and full family participation is encouraged.
PE can also be used as “off screen time”. Head outdoors with the kids for walks, runs and cycles or bring a ball to kick around.
Now is a great time for children to learn more about nature. Here are some things you can do:
Slime, playdough and other science experiments can all be made at home with household kitchen items. Similarly, items like toilet rolls, pasta shells and egg boxes can all be used to make artistic creations. Check out our article ‘Things to do with kids at home’ for instructions.
From 11am Monday - Friday on RTE 2 the RTE Home School Hub will broadcast three concise lessons aimed at primary school children in 1st and 2nd class, 3rd and 4th class and then 5th and 6th class. The lessons are designed and led by teachers and will be a great resource for families in the country.
Here are some of the favourites among parents in Ireland:
Quiet time can be used to read or listen to an audio book. Popular children’s author David Walliams is releasing his audiobooks for free and Audible have made hundreds of other audiobooks available for free too.
Yoga is another good way to spend quiet time. There are lots of Youtube channels with yoga flows for children of all ages available.
Tip: Discover the best podcasts for kids here.
Homeschooling won’t be a walk through the park by any means. Both you and your child are out of your comfort zones and you may be juggling the role of parent, teacher and partner while also working from home. Take things slow and try to be patient. Take each day as it comes - if your child is lacking in focus one day, work on their favourite subjects and search for ways to make them exciting.
Tip: See our guide to working from home here.
Though screen time is usually something parents try to limit, it might be the only way that you can get some time to work or cook dinner etc. Try to optimise screen time with games that require maths or reading skills.
Just remember, you are doing your best.
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