7 tips for Happy Home Schooling

Schools are closed for the foreseeable future and the prospect of keeping children entertained whilst at home self-isolating or in lockdown is daunting enough. But home schooling? Not something most of us are prepared for! Luckily there are lots of resources out there to make things easier for parents. Here are some tips to make home schooling your children that little bit happier.

Set realistic expectations
It’s important not to pile too much pressure on yourself (or your children) at what’s already a stressful and challenging time. You may have children at different stages of education; be trying to work from home or have a child who is resistant to the whole idea of home schooling. Learning will depend on the age of your child, how much work is sent home from school, your child’s character and how much time you have! Every family will be different and in reality, children don’t spend the hours of 9-3 solidly working at school! For some great advice from a team of home tutoring experts, take a look at the My Baba blog.

Stick to a routine
Children thrive on routine, familiarity and boundaries so try and stick to the same daily timetable as much as possible. Theschoolrun.com recommends about 45 minutes of Maths and English per day and 15-20 minutes reading.

Keep them active
We probably don’t need to mention Joe Wicks P.E. Lessons! But if you haven’t heard, The Body Coach is getting kids (and adults) moving with a fun 30-minute daily workout (weekdays at 9am on YouTube). For something a little less challenging, Cosmic Yoga is a fun way to introduce children to yoga and mindfulness and for really little ones, Andy’s Wild Workouts on YouTube are funny and educational – a win win! If you’ve got a garden, getting the kids outside for some fresh air is always a good idea, but if you don’t have access to outside space then take a look at London’s Little Thinkers blog for some ideas for getting kids moving indoors.
Try these fun challenges for pre-schoolers: get them to throw a beanbag up the stairs and then count the number of steps they can throw it. Running up and down the stairs to collect the beanbag gets them moving and counting the steps encourages them to practice their 1,2,3! Or make an indoor obstacle course and encourage your child to jump (e.g. like a kangaroo), crawl (e.g. like a badger) and hop (like a rabbit).

Read, read, read
Reading independently, sharing stories with siblings or parents or being read to is one of the most important activities you can do with your child. Reading and stories develop language, help with creative writing and get little imaginations working.
Audible.co.uk has made its entire range of children’s stories free to listen to for the duration of the school closures. And if getting your child to read is challenging, there’s a really helpful article on the Babyccino blog (along with loads of other lovely stuff) with tips on encouraging your children to read.

Get them crafting and cooking
The younger your child, the more important it is to mix in some more creative activities with structured learning. Crafting and cooking are great for developing fine motor skills and reading recipes, following project instructions and counting and measuring ingredients all contribute to wider learning. For lots of lovely crafting ideas such as making your own fairy garden, have a look at the Babyccino blog..

BBC Food has lots of yummy recipes, perfect for cooking with children.

Use online resources
There are tons of online resources available to help parents. If the sheer volume to wade through feels a little daunting, here are a few ideas to try:

  • Twinkl is an absolute goldmine of information, with a handy daily timetable, downloadable worksheets, online exercises, live lessons and so much more. All content is free to access during the school closures.
  • The National Geographic Kids YouTube channel makes it fun to explore the world with ‘weird, wild and wacky videos’.
  • Oxford Owl provides educational activities and games and a free e-book library for 3-11 year olds.
  • CBeebies presenter Maddie Moate’s new show, Lets Go Live will air on her YouTube channel every weekday at 11am. Join Maddie for games, craft projects and interesting info.
  • For older kids, Tynker.com has made all of its premium content free for the duration of the school closures. Promising to provide everything needed to learn computer coding the fun way, children will learn a hugely beneficial skill.
  • Finally, keeping in touch with friends is as important for kids as learning, so help them stay social with the Houseparty app.
  • For lots more ideas, have a look at The London Mummy blog for a comprehensive list of online resources for home schooling

Finally, allow them to play
And the more imaginative and independent, the better. Not only is this hugely beneficial for children but encouraging independent play will give you precious time to work or just take time out for yourself. Have a look at My Baba.com for a great list of imaginative toys you can add to your Little Wishlist.