How Parents Can Support Homeschooling
As we enter another lockdown with schools closed until after February Half Term, Phillip Evitt, our Headmaster gives advice to parents who once again face helping their children with homeschooling.
“Although the closure of schools is obviously disappointing for children, parents and teachers alike, we should remember that this is not the shutting down of a schools’ operations, but simply the closure of the physical buildings. Although we prepare for the likelihood of schools being closed for at least the next six weeks, we at Highfield and Brookham Schools, will of course be ready to open our doors and carry on as normal, with the children back where they belong, as soon as we are able to do so. In the meantime, teachers right across the UK will rise to the challenge of providing an inspirational curriculum via remote learning, and as parents, there is so much that you can do to support your children with their homeschooling:
Try to read every day with your children for at least 20 minutes. Discuss what they are reading with them. Consider their favourite characters, ask them what they think will happen next. Ask them what they are enjoying about the story so far.
Introduce them to a new word every day. Work with them to remember how to spell it and what it means. Can they remember all the new words at the end of the week?
Try some cooking with your children – weighing and measuring ingredients is all great for maths and the aroma of a baking cake will always help lift a dampened spirit!
Screen time is inevitable during this time. Do take the time to talk to your children about any computer games they are playing, or videos that they may be watching. Consider the amount of screen time you allow your children and please keep a close eye on what they are up to online.
There are some excellent websites that offer guidance on internet safety and protecting children online, including www.saferinternet.org.uk www.gooseberryplanet.com www.thinkuknow.co.uk www.parentzone.org.uk.
Perhaps take some time to plan a vegetable garden to plant in the spring. It is incredibly rewarding to grow plants especially if it is something the children can eat. Many vegetables are easy to grow in containers, should space be at a premium. Cress is an easy thing to get started on will happily grow on a window sill.
Games are great all-round activities, so do try to find some time to play quick games, memory games, card and board games.
Allow the children to listen to audio books and take some time to discuss them. Ask them to recount the plot. Perhaps they could draw a picture of what they think the characters look like.
Encourage children to paint, draw or make things, they will have had a wonderful grounding in this from their art and DT lessons at school.
Encourage them to make a scrapbook or to keep a diary of their experiences in lockdown. It will be so interesting for them to look back on in the future.
Encourage them to write stories of their own. These could be inspired by ones they have already read – could they write the missing chapter of Harry Potter?
I cannot stress enough the importance of establishing a routine when working at home. Try to ear-mark specific times for the children to work and play.
It is also vitally important for both physical and mental well-being to fit in exercise, and some time outdoors. Wrap up warm, don the wellies and get outside (locally) in the fresh air to reap the benefits.
But above all please remember, that some children will take to the return to homeschooling readily, others will not. Some of you will find balancing the demands of helping to oversee their learning, while juggling working from home and managing a household easier than others. Where you have more than one child to look after, some might be co-operative, others might not be. Following a timetable at home may be easy for some, but challenging for others.
We have been here before and we got through it and I am sure that you found ways that worked and adjusted family routines accordingly. Please do understand and accept that some days things just might not work in quite the ways you or we had hoped. This really is okay. Tomorrow is another day and we will all adjust and adapt.