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It’s far from easy, trying to do the job of the class teacher while you’re on a Zoom meeting with your boss – but there are ways to make it better for you, and your ‘pupils’.
“Home-schooling is difficult,” says Michael Heverin, CEO and founder of Liverpool company SupplyWell, which is championing a new way of getting supply teachers into schools, and helping teachers to stay by looking after their financial and health interests.
“Add a pandemic and working from home into the mix and you have yourself a real challenge.”
He adds: “Many parents and care-givers have had to take a hands-on approach to their children’s education, although sometimes it is easy to forget that they have always been the primary educator of their child, even though they may not have not always realised it!
“The headteacher of a local primary school shared some wise advice to parents: ‘You are doing enough. You are loving your kids and supporting them through a difficult time. Look after yourself.
“’Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don’t let this be something that stresses you. Accept it is in your circle of control, you are the primary educator, and this is all your call’.
“This advice is so critical and is a reminder for all parents that there are no wrong moves during this unprecedented time.”
So at the start of a new school week, we asked SupplyWell for a few tips to help while you’re teaching children from home…
People learn in many different ways:
* Some learners prefer listening. This is known as auditory learning. It can include reading aloud materials, verbal instructions and discussion.
* Visual learners learn by seeing, this includes looking at graphs, powerpoints and watching demonstrations.
* Kinesthetic is learning by doing, this is a hands-on style of absorbing information.
* Reading and writing is another way of learning, including reading books, other written materials and taking notes.
Once you work out which kind of learner your child is, you will be able to adapt, allowing them to be educated in the best way.
Eg. Kinesthetic learners will find educational value through measuring ingredients while baking a cake; auditory learners can tune into a free ebook about the particular topic they are studying; visual learners can watch a useful YouTube video demonstration, while reading and writing learners can read a fun book. There are many opportunities to help your child learn in the most natural way for them.
Setting realistic expectations is important for yourself and for your learners. You need to consider that you have never given home-schooling before and remind yourself that your best is good enough. This is not the prepared and structured home-schooling that we typically imagine but rather this is distance learning that you are trying to facilitate.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be performing in a particular way. Do what you feel is appropriate and what suits you. Some days you might be able to sit at the kitchen table practicing maths with your child for a couple of hours, and others they might be playing on the iPad while you work. This is okay, you can’t be expected to do everything!
Learning through play is one of the main ways children learn. You can turn educational activities into fun activities, for example incorporating real life maths into the day by getting your ‘pupil’ to help with shopping list budgets.
Even having your child read to you or put on a concert with an instrument, is still a form of learning. If possible, writing projects can be integrated into your daily fun too, such as diary keeping and comic-designing.
Maintaining a routine during lockdown is important as it gives your children a sense of stability and security. You can do this by having lunch together, having time for free play and then set time for more formal activities.
Repeating the various topics of learning on particular days of the week is also helpful in creating a routine.
You may benefit by having a calendar where the structure of the day is available for everyone to see. You could even video call your child’s classmates at lunchtime to further simulate a regular school schedule, and keep your pupil socialised. However, limiting screen time is also a good routine to establish, as too much screen time has been linked to problems with sleeping and physical health.
It is important to maintain a level of understanding and consideration. The process is new to everyone. It’s new to you, to your child and to the schools too. There was little notice, so teachers have tried their best to provide materials and keep school going via Zoom. In such unprecedented circumstances there is no handbook on how things should be done.
The most important thing is that you and your children remain safe. It’s impossible to juggle work, schooling at home and the various stresses of the pandemic. You need to be considerate and kind to yourself and remember you are doing your best.
Adds Michael: “As long as you and your family remain safe, this is the priority from the perspective of schools. Ensure that you are looking after yourself, your mental health and trust in your instincts when it comes to home-schooling.”
SupplyWell works with schools to reduce absences, improve retention and keep money within schools and education. Phone Supplywell on 0333 305 0601 or email [email protected]
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