5 tips to homeschool your kids during the UK Corona virus lockdown

How do I home school my child? That’s what the parents of the U.K have been asking desperately for the last few weeks.

The consensus from teachers, education experts, child psychologist and other Mums and Dads seems to be:

  • Do you best with the space, time and energy you have. 
  • Don’t freak out about them falling behind, every child is in the same unprecedented position. 
  • Make it fun and create learning moments from their interests. Combining maths and baking is a great example. 
  • Try and be organised and follow a planned routine. 
  • Reward effort with stickers and praise.
  • To check progress and understanding swop roles with your child and ask them to teach you the subject they have been learning about. 

Home School Curriculum

The home school curriculum UK teachers recommend is to concentrate on the core subjects of Maths and English during structured learning time and add the other subjects in during moments of play or relaxation. 

For details of the National Curriculum click this link You’re not expected to follow it but it’s helpful to see why the school has chosen to send the resources that they have. 

Check out the free online homeschool websites. You’ll find lots of ideas for how to teach a variety of lessons, from core subjects to modern languages. 

Literacy

Follow the guidance set by your child’s school and read home school blogs for more ideas on how to stealthily bring learning into day to day activities. Writing a letter to the Nanna they are missing or reading the recipe for the chocolate buns you’re making. 

Maths

Home school maths lessons should follow the lesson plans provided by the school and then be brought into fun activities such as baking and playing shop. 

Science

Easy-peasy homeschool science lessons can be enjoyed by chatting to your kids about what they see and think while watching David Attenborough’s ‘The Blue Planet’. 

Spring is here and, if you have a garden, it can serve as a giant scientific laboratory. Planting, watering, building a bug hotel and talking about the effects of the weather are all fantastic learning experiences. 

Art

An art lesson will be your most fun but messiest home school idea. You kids have had their little worlds turned upside down so treat them to some fabulous and joyous creative afternoons. Paint cheerful rainbows for the windows, build noisy musical instruments to cheer the NHS and get the potatoes out for some printing. 

Be Organised 

Create a homeschool planner

Structure and routine are appreciated and enjoyed by learning children. Discuss how you would like the week to work and have fun designing and colouring in the timetable. You can use our free homeschool planner we’ve added for inspiration and ideas about timings. 

Homeschool timetable

The number of home school hours per day UK teachers recommend would follow the 9am to 3pm school day. If you’re working from home or have vulnerable relatives to care for this isn’t going to happen every day. 

Create a classroom

How to home school in a limited space is challenging. If you live in a big house you’re laughing, use an entire room. You might be struggling in a small flat, make ‘school’ the contents of their favourite bag and a cushion that they either sit or lean on to work. 

For older children set aside a space at the dining table that belongs to them and their ‘stuff. If that means ‘teas on knees’ for the duration of lockdown, then so be it! 

For little ones it’s fine to take the lessons with you as you move around the house and garden. 

How to be a home-school teacher

If you’re wondering how to home school your child and be a parent at the same time, these tips will help:

  • ‘Why?’ is an important question for kids so start with allowing them to ask lots of questions as to why they are being home-schooled, why you are asking them to do a particular task and why it’s a good idea that they sit at the table to do their writing. 
  • Let them make decisions about their new school. Choose a name, design a badge and let them decorate the room they’ll learn in. 
  • Communicate everything. Let them know what the routine will be ‘We are starting at 9am because…’ ‘Numeracy will be worked on each week day because…’ Children are much more biddable when they understand what’s going on, what is expected of them and why. 
  • Discuss the ‘School Rules’. Lunch at 12.30, now talking over each other etc. Allowing your charges to be involved in the creation of the rules will make them respect them more. 

Local support 

How to homeschool your child is something that can be deliberately over amongst other parents. Share hints and tips on weekly Zoom meetings or WhatsApp groups. You WILL need to rant and each of you will require support at times. 

Family and friends

My Dad has a very keen interest in astronomy and some of the conversations he has had with my children about physics and the universe have been hugely influential. 

Think about who you know that has knowledge of individual subjects. Set up FaceTime, Zoom or telephone chats with them and your kids 

Home school groups for virtual playtime

Home school groups can be easily set up with software such as Zoom. At ‘playtime’ or on your lunch break coordinate with the families of your son or daughter’s school friends and let them enjoy some virtual playtime. 

Homeschool Resources 

Information from the school

Home school groups should have been set up by your child’s school to give them access to:

  • Teacher’s work emails
  • Worksheets 
  • Tests 
  • Recommended reading 
  • Lesson plans

What they receive will depend on their age and the school but have a look through all the documents. Even if you trust your teenager to get the work done it’s good to stay in the know. 

Homeschool worksheets 

Free homeschool worksheets have been added to this article to help you set ‘home-work’ and encourage further learning.  Download it here

Home-school books to use 

Collins has a fantastic range of books that can be used for homeschooling. There are loads of subjects included and they are aimed at each the Key Stage. You can find the entire serie of study books here

If you’re interested in looking for educational resources and online home school programmes to work alongside what your child has received from their teacher(s), read our article on the best homeschool apps and home school websites. 

Our free Homeschool Worksheet

Right click on the image and save them on your computer or print them! It’s FREE!

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