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Home Schooling in Challenging Times

As this is a challenging situation for so many parents – here are some tips for helping you order and manage what could be a longer time of ‘home education’..

  • This has been thrust upon everyone! Home schooling is a lifestyle choice so what you are doing is not exactly ‘home schooling’ but schooling at home, which is different!
  • It is reasonable to take some time out during the Easter holiday to prepare! That way you can take another run at it if the first two weeks were a little overwhelming.
  • Gradually ease your way into it.
  • Think long term – your children will become adults who can read, write and look after themselves… ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’…what will they learn from what they are doing?
  • Remember to include fun – fun triggers happy hormones and happy children learn so much more – and are so much nicer to be around!
  • Talk to your children to explain this is not going to be the same as school but it is not a holiday because they are still needing to develop knowledge and skills.
  • If you are working at home, it can help to let the children know early on that you need to work and they mustn’t disturb you; brainstorm together what they can do on their own if, for some reason, they need to wait for you for a few minutes and when you will be available to help them with any work from school.
  • The children will love to feel included and can be amazingly helpful when they understand what needs to happen and how important their contribution will be. All of this will teach them to be thoughtful, creative and more responsible!
  • It can help keep stress down if you create a workable schedule. What you put on it is up to you and your children (it’s a good idea to include them, too)! It could include times for: ‘work’, ‘washing’, ‘exercise’, ‘play’, ‘helping’, ‘piano practise’, ‘eating’, ‘reading’, ‘electronics’, ‘sleeping’, ‘tv’ and so on.
  • Tell them when ‘relax days’ will be (for working parents, this will be when you are free as well), the reason being, young brains love structure. They love to know what’s coming next – and when it is going to end! Another advantage is if they see ‘ipad’ on the schedule, it cuts down on negotiation!
  • Get resources together – pencils, pens, erasers, scissors etc. and put them into a central location (a large box? Cupboard? Drawer?) with someone in charge of checking everything is put back after use. This way, they don’t need to wander around looking for things when you are on a business call!
  • Leave a ‘family jigsaw’ out which anyone can do in spare moments or ‘if you have to wait’; or one of the lovely mindfulness colouring books with pens/pencils; some tracing; puzzle books; juggling balls; hula hoop; anything that can provide a ten minute independent break, at the same time encouraging the development of a skill – ask the children what they think should be included and what they plan to do if you are busy for a few minutes.
  • If they have work packs from school; it can be helpful to date the pages ahead of time so the children know what to do and when and where to file it ready to return to school when completed.
  • Have as restful a break as you can over the Easter period; release the stress as far as possible, decide how you as a family will go forward.
  • Remember, these are unprecedented times; your children are building a platform for the future – what they learn at school is actually just a small part of that and it can be quickly caught up when they go back!


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