Coronavirus implications for school and college students.

Many students will be affected by the Coronavirus school shutdowns. Looking at the latest information from the government, there will be a small number of year groups (Reception, year 1 and year 6) potentially returning to school after half term in early June. And only the following on secondary students and A level students: “Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.”

Biggest Impacts – Year 10 and year 12

At Tutor My Kids, we’re looking at where we see the biggest impacts on students.

First and foremost, we foresee that the current year 10 and year 12s will be the hardest affected.

For year 10s and year 12s, at the moment they’ve missed almost a third of this academic year (getting close to 1 whole term). When you look at the entire GCSE or A level course of 5 terms, this makes 1/5th or 20% of their entire GCSE or A level courses missed.

Given the amount that has to be covered, it’s hard to ensure that all the topics are covered in a normal school year. We think this will be doubly hard with such a lot of time lost and leave massive gaps in the learning of many year 10s and year 12s.

Many schools are providing some good input for these students, but it’s not quite the same as being in school and not all students are taking advantage of the lessons and resources that are being provided. I think that there is a lack of understanding of this problem with many parents and students.

Year 5s impacted

In the same way the year 5s will be the next largest year group to be affected.

The primary school curriculum is so full that it is also tough to get children to the right level in time for year 6 SATs, especially those who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

I was surprised that the government had proposed returning year 6s to school (unless to help ‘babysit’ the reception and year 1 students). The gaps that they have, will (in most cases) be made up in year 7 as they transition into their secondary schools.

It is the year 5s have a greater need, I believe to be back in school, to prepare them for the SATs and prevent gaps in their learning becoming problematic – see Why-maths gaps occur-and-the-problems-they-cause/

I appreciate that students in year 5 have many years to catch up, but in reality, many primary school gaps in spelling, punctuation and basic maths remain uncorrected at secondary school as the curriculum moves rapidly onto secondary topics, with the assumption that these basic topics are secure.

What can you do to help?

First and foremost, regardless of their year group, take advantage of the resources that their schools are offering – be it remote lessons, links to learning, work set. One of our tutors has been putting together some amazing resources. See Mission-to-the-moon/ This is a great multi-subject topic block for primary aged children.

I know this is incredibly difficult for parents who are juggling work, caring for younger children, so do what you can. No one is expecting you to replace 5 hours of teaching each day! However, IF you’re schedule enables it, an hour a day is a massive help. See How-much-difference-can-an-hour-of-one-to-one-tuition-make/

Can you either remotely now, or face to face later, team up with other parents who can help with the maths, whilst you help out their kids with the English?

Get a tutor – either now or after lockdown. We’re quite busy at the moment, helping out students remotely, and anticipate that we’ll be called upon to help out during the summer (hopefully face to face by then) to help fill gaps ahead of the next academic year in September. Take a look at our ‘For Parents’ page for more details – For Parents.

For an informal chat about possible options for tuition – email hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange a time to talk.

Space Day Homeschool Topic: Mission to the Moon!

To celebrate Space Day on 1st May we share some Moon-themed activities that you can do at home with children from primary age upwards.

These activities develop a range of cross-curricular skills including English, maths, science, design and technology and art.

Children are fascinated by the night sky, so there’s no better topic to fire their enthusiasm for learning.

Mission 1: Find out about the Moon

Ask your child what they would like to find out about the Moon. You could write down their questions so that they can refer back to them. They might ask: “Is there water on the Moon?” “What is the surface like?” “How hot or cold is it?” “What is the weather like?”

Together research the answers to their particular questions using books and/or the internet. Here are some possible websites and books:

Moon Facts for Kids, Cool Kids

Moon Facts for Kids, Science Kids

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty

One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh

Mission 2: Design an exercise routine for astronauts

Find out how long it takes to travel to the Moon. Discuss with your child why astronauts need to exercise during this time and how they might do so inside a rocket with limited space.

Ask your child to plan and write a 60 minute exercise programme for astronauts, dividing the time into 5 or 10 minute blocks of exercise (5 minutes of star jumps, 5 minutes jogging on the spot and so on). Your child could use a toy clock to help them to plan exercise intervals that add up to 60 minutes.

For exercise ideas watch Joe Wicks and other exercise instructors on YouTube.

Mission 3: Write a menu for astronauts

Look online to find out how astronauts eat in space. In order to write a menu for astronauts your child will need to consider that food must be non-perishable, not crumbly and so on. Your child could test a few different foods for crumbliness before they begin.

Mission 4: Make a food tray for astronauts

Due to lack of space on a rocket a food tray must be designed to fit as much food on as possible as well as taking into account weak gravity.

Provide your child with plenty of resources to choose from in order to make their tray – old cereal boxes, cellotape, glue, elastic bands, foil and recycled plastic containers such as yoghurt pots and spreadable butter containers.

Your child might decide to make a cardboard tray and create compartments by gluing on different containers or they may do something entirely different.

Mission 5: Gravity experiment

This experiment needs to be performed outside or over a container. Ask your child to put a hole in the side of a disposable cup near the bottom. They cover the hole with their thumb as you fill the cup with water. Ask them to hold the cup up high and uncover the hole observing what’s happening.

Repeat the experiment, this time dropping the cup onto the ground. Your child will notice that when they drop the cup the second time water doesn’t leak through the hole.

To see the experiment in action view the Sci Guys: Science at Home – Gravity Water Cup Drop

Mission 6: Design a Moon colony

Ask your child to tell you what they think people would need to be able to survive on the Moon (food, water, air, stronger gravity, protection from the weather and so on). Look at some artists’ drawings of Moon colonies by typing ‘moon colony’ into Google Images and ask your child what they notice about the people, buildings and other features of the environment.

Ask your child to design a Moon colony on paper labelling the different features. Before they start, they could talk to you about their ideas because this will help them to clarify their thoughts.

If your child is feeling adventurous, they might want to create their finished design in 3D. To do this they could make a paper mache lunar landscape (type ‘paper mache lunar landscape’ into a search engine for ideas) and they could make their Moon colony by taping and gluing recycled materials such as cardboard tubes, plastic containers, cereal boxes, tin foil and paper plates onto the landscape and painting them.

Would you like help to supplement your homeschooling?

All our tutors are experienced, qualified and creative teachers who believe pupil enjoyment is the key to successful learning. During these challenging times a tutor can teach your child online or set individually tailored work for them to complete with you.

Perhaps there are classmates of your child or you have a friend whose children who would also benefit from online tuition? We also offer group tuition sessions to help keep children motivated and on track.

Whatever your needs we are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today at hello@tutormykids.co.uk.