Fully qualified teachers from Everton in the Community have come up with six top tips for parents who are currently at home guiding their children of primary school age through home study.
In the wake of schools closing last week, the majority of pupils are now faced with an indefinite time away from the classroom - and although staying active and maintaining enjoyment levels are vital to maintaining a healthy wellbeing for your child during this time, it’s also important to factor in some time for structured learning, cross-curricular activities and fun and engaging projects for your child to focus on.
Coaches and tutors from Everton in the Community typically work with children in primary schools and high schools on a daily basis. Through a range of different EitC projects, our staff will provide additional support to pupils in a school setting through a variety of diverse learning techniques and subjects, and can call upon a wealth of experience in engaging and teaching children, and have devised six top tips.
Becoming the teacher as well as the parent can be a daunting prospect. It’s important to stress that all children are in the same situation, so try not to worry about your child falling behind or missing out on elements of their school day. Use this period to spend quality time with your children and work together on projects you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. For tips and advice to keep your child engaged as the stand-in teacher, you can follow these six steps to turning your home into the classroom.
1) Provide structure, yet balance to your child’s day
Timetables can be beneficial in providing structure to yours and your child’s day, but don’t feel the need to be restrained to 9am until 3pm and be prepared to adapt! PL Inspires tutor, Josh Doherty notes: “It’s important to timetable Maths and English in the morning rather than in the afternoon as minds get tired and a little more resistant to learning. It’s important to allow the child to choose their subjects in the afternoon as long as they get through each subject that they need to.” As important as English and Maths are, you should allow opportunities to be creative, do not try and conquer the whole curriculum in one week!
Make sure your child gets dressed everyday to encourage a working day and create a designated learning space in your house for kids to walk away from and switch off. Encourage reading and physical exercise everyday, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, but try and complete some activities without digital screens to maintain a balance. You may also find that children are prone to snacking too much whilst at home, so provide designated break times to snack then and only then.
Overall, it’s not about cramming the day full of work. Allow your child to be bored at times. Let them explore, be creative and understand they’ll need to be patient and independent now more than ever.
2) Find something you’re both passionate about
Learning is not just about worksheets, you can learn something from anything. Find something you’re both passionate about and make it the focal point for a project of learning. Evertonians will find an array of activities and engagement tools throughout our social media platforms on @Everton and @EitC.
Utilise your strengths. This is a great time for you to use your own unique skills to help your child learn. Do you have any skills you can teach your child such as baking, sewing, gardening etc.? You’d be surprise how many cross-curricular links you’ll find within these activities!
🇪🇸 | Schools may be closed, but that doesn't mean the learning has to stop. 🎓— Everton (@Everton) March 25, 2020
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3) Get Involved
Set an example for your child and get involved in the activities and areas of learning that you’re putting on. The more children see their parents engaging, the more likely they are to engage themselves. Get involved in their break and lunch time activities; your child won’t be spending it with their friends like they usually would do, so try and fill that void and become their best friend. Above all, find an approach which works for you and your child. Can they perhaps be inspired by older siblings? Make sure they’re part of your child’s learning too!
4) Listen to your child
We’re currently in an unsettling, and unnerving period, and it’s important to recognise how much stress this can put a child under. Make sure you’re listening to your child and find out how they’re coping with the current crisis. Discussing any worries with your child will help them open up and share some of their concerns.
You’ll have days where your children are harder to engage with more than usual. By listening and talking about their fears, it may explain some of their behaviour and reluctance to learn. You can then focus on limiting these fears and looking for more effective ways to teach them. Show patience and stay positive – you’re not a miracle worker. Be able to compromise with yourself and your child, there’s always tomorrow.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Teaching times tables and writing techniques can be out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all have our subject weaknesses, even teachers. Take a look at your school’s websites at calculation and writing policies, this will show you how to approach different learning topics. Every child is different, and every child learns differently, so don’t be afraid to reach out to teachers if you’re struggling to engage your child. Keep an eye out for useful links such as BBC Bitesize which is always a safe option, and we can also provide advice and guidance through our fully qualified teachers. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Premier League Primary Stars Coach, Elena Barton at email@example.com or our PL Inspires Tutor, Josh Doherty at Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) Have Fun!
The most important thing to remember, is to make sure your child has enjoyed their day, so don’t provide strict and coherent days of learning. Utilise this time as an opportunity to spend quality time with your child. Positive reinforcement is essential. Don’t forget to tell them how excellent the work they have completed is to reinforce a positive attitude to learning, making them keen to impress and show off their work. You could perhaps include challenges within their work, and reward them with small prizes or collecting points for good or independent work. This can add an element of fun to tasks that may otherwise be difficult to teach.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get things right. Experiment with things and tweak things whilst keeping positive. Teachers don’t get things right every time. so don’t be disheartened if something doesn’t go the way you want it to. Celebrate the learning that you have done for your child, and above all, enjoy the quality time you’ll spend with your child during this period.