The coronavirus has turned all our lives upside down and homeschooling is going to have a major impact on families. We now have to juggle work, housekeeping, and being a parent with being a teacher. At the moment links to resource websites are circulating on social media, but there are so many of them that it’s overwhelming. We’ve created this guide to cut through the noise. Our aim is to point you towards the resources that we think will be most valuable to you.
It’s likely that your child’s school will send work home either this week or next week if they haven’t already. The ideas and links here are intended to supplement the resources you will already have so that you have enough to keep your child busy, motivated and learning…and to keep you sane!
What does my child need to learn?
To find out what is covered in each year group have a look online at the National Curriculum for each subject. For example, you might type into a search engine ‘National curriculum design and technology year 6’.
The BBC Bitesize website is a great second port of call. On this site you will be able to see what is covered in every subject, across every year group. The best thing about this website is that it also gives activities and supplies interactive materials.
How can I structure the day?
The Five Minute Mum gives some brilliant tips about how to structure your day as well as lots of quick activities. Try to replicate the school day as far as possible, scheduling short break and longer breaks. You will know how long your child is able to concentrate for and this will probably vary day-to-day.
During breaks encourage your child to play with their toys outside. Play with them too so that they build on PE skills such as throwing and catching, dribbling a ball and more. If you want more information about how to help your child with PE see the National Curriculum and BBC Bitesize websites (as above).
Make a plan
At the end of each day sketch out a quick plan with just enough information to tell you what you’re doing the following day. Always try to build on what your child has learnt the day before so you revisit anything they find tricky.
Here’s an example of a plan:
Writing: write the beginning of their own version of The Big Pancake
Maths: revise 2 x table; learn addition pairs to 10
Reading: reading book
Spellings: revise ‘about’ and ‘down’; learn ‘saw’, ‘children’
Art: practise mixing colours from primary colours and paint trees in blossom
Science: materials – go around house/garden listing 5 things made from metal, plastic, glass and wood. Ask child why they think different things are made from different materials.
How do I juggle multiple children’s needs?
Always have tasks on hand that children can do by themselves, so that you can focus your attention on one child at a time when you need to do so.
Children could practise handwriting, do a dot-to-dot or colouring, write a letter to a friend, engage in a craft activity, or simply play with their favourite toy. See The Five Minute Mum website (above) for other activity ideas.
Where can I find resources and teaching ideas?
Some educational resource companies are offering free resources for parents. It’s useful to visit these sites once you’ve established what you want your child to learn. Google Images is also a useful resource to find specific worksheets (for example, if you want your child to label the parts of a plant for science you might type in ‘plant label worksheet’).
Activity ideas from TutorMyKids
In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 English, Maths and Science are core curriculum subjects. Here are some ideas to help you.
- Read books every day. Find free e-books on the Oxford Reading Tree website.
- Read and write poetry.
- Read familiar stories such as The Giant Pancake and write your own versions over a few days. For example, write the beginning on Monday, the middle on Tuesday and the end on Wednesday. The child could replace characters with their own ideas and change the ending or other events in the story if they want to.
- Write book reviews of favourite stories.
- Do some baking or make magic potions in the garden and then write instructions for somebody else to follow.
- Practice spellings. Learn a few new spellings every week, but make sure learning is secure before moving on.
- Play phonics games online.
- Play phonics board games.
- Play board games such as Scrabble and Pictionary that help children to practise spellings, extend their vocabulary and encourage conversational skills.
- Play online English games from Ictgames and Topmarks.
For more ideas see our blog post, Support your child’s literacy every day: quick tips
- Learn maths through songs. For example, search ITunes and YouTube for times tables songs.
- Play maths board games you have at home (eg. Monopoly and Snakes & Ladders) or make your own.
- Do some baking and use the opportunity to teach children cookery maths skills such as weighing, measuring and comparing.
- Take maths outside!
- Play online maths games. On this link we particularly recommend Oxford Owl, Ictgames and Topmarks.
- Complete maths worksheets.
Start with the BBC Bitesize website as this shows you exactly what your child is learning at school. For further activities see:
TutorMyKids’ blog post, Pop, Bang! Six super-simple science experiments
NurtureSchool, How to homeschool science
The Woodland Trust’s outdoor science activities
Top survival tips
Use rewards to motivate your child during this strange and confusing time. This might be a star chart in which they earn a reward at the end of the week or month (depending upon their patience levels!), or they might want you to replicate the system they have in school.
Our children are likely to miss their friends very much, especially as time goes on. Help them to keep in touch with their friends via Skype or FaceTime if you can to help see them through.
Remember yourself in this too. Some days will be good and some will be difficult. Have that glass of wine at the end of the day – you will have earnt it!