Coronavirus homeschool routine when the schools are closed
With many schools already closed due to staff shortages and homeschooling on the horizon, what will you do with your children over the next few weeks?
For a bit of context, I am a self-employed business owner and Mum of three boys 13,10 and 8. My youngest has hyperactivity traits on the ADHD spectrum (Currently in long drawn out diagnosis process). My husband is a PE teacher with alternative education provision. We’ve always supported homework and reinforcement of learning and do firmly believe that our kids are our responsibility.
I recently discussed with my kids class teachers what might happen and what we as parents could be doing to help and this idea of structure evolved from some of the conversations I had.
At the weekend, we had a family meeting (sounds very posh, but we are not posh, it’s the only way the only woman in a house of boys can get any action, without screaming and crying!) we discussed imminent school closures and homeschooling. Ok, I get it, this will be just another burden on us as parents, but they are our kids after all, and I for one don’t want this virus to have an impact on their learning and social welfare.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for allowing them on tablets, watching TV and playing on Fortnite in moderation, but not 24/7. It’s a fact that schools will be sending work home and especially for secondary school kids, of which I have one thirteen year old. He’s already been told that they will have lots of work sent home, which they’ll be expected to do and will be closely monitored. It might be an idea to encourage your older children to do their schoolwork in the morning, then (if they want to) can join in with the creative stuff in the afternoon.
But for our primary school kids, it’s less likely to be mandatory and there’s definitely more scope for bowing out.
During our family meeting, we touched on what the ground rules would be and explained that 10 am – 3.30 pm was going to look a bit like school, which meant no gaming tech during those hours. Luckily they were already on board (School have already prepared them for work being sent home) and so we then went on to get excited about how we could make it fun and do PE every afternoon ( goodness knows I’ll need it!) and we’d have ‘Aspire’ afternoons where we’d do cooking, seed planting, walks, art, photography and anything else we could think of during the next few weeks. I did suggest jewellery making, but Henry said ‘There is no way I am making jewellery, that’s for girls!’ ;-O
(Aspire afternoons are activity afternoons they already do at school on 6-week rotation, where they learn fun and practical skills akin with life skills: such as Engineering, Forest school, sewing, baking, Fitness and healthy eating)
So for those of you (like me) who love structure and routine, we’ve come up with a bit of a plan as a family for when school closes.
Many children, especially my own, really thrive on structure and routine and need to know where they stand and what they are doing each day and this is why I’ve decided to do this, print it out, put it up on the wall, so that my kids can look at it and see what we are doing each day!
Monday – Friday
Start work at 10 am. No point busting a gut to be ready for 9 am!
Get washed and dressed and for me, put makeup on and get ready for the day. I’ve never found my work ethic or focus motivated by PJ’s, slippers and no makeup. Just ask my friend Helen, The Wardrobe Fairy, https://www.wardrobefairynottingham.com/ I’m sure she’ll have some tips about that!
- 10 am – 10.30 am – Reading 15 mins – ask questions about what they’ve read
- 10.30 am – 11.00 am Spellings 15 mins – Test the ones they’ve learned (They should be in the back of your home school diary)
- 11.00 am -11.30 am – BREAK – go into the garden, get some fresh air, have a drink and a snack
- 11.30 am – 12.00 pm Timetables – learn one times table – use the FREE worksheets here at https://www.timestables.co.uk/worksheets/
- 12.00.pm.- 12.30 pm – 30 – 60 mins maximum – Schoolwork that may have been sent home.
- 12.30pm – 1.30pm – LUNCH BREAK
- Arts and creative time
- PE / physical activity.
TRY TO REMEMBER THAT SOME KIDS HAVE VERY SHORT ATTENTION SPANS actually 30mins may be too much for your child, don’t worry.
Just stick to one task at a time, in short bursts. That way you’ll both get a sense of achievement.
If the school haven’t sent anything home, you could look at the FREE resource packs that TWINKL is offering to parents during the school closure period. They are age and subject appropriate. Schools and homeschoolers and just parents like us who want a bit of extra help for their kids. Their resources are fab and very interesting for children. All you need is a printer! https://www.twinkl.co.uk/search?term=school+closure
Another idea is to watch Children’s BBC programmes like;
Newsround, Horrible histories, The Dengineers, Operation Ouch, Nature on CBBC
This may be an opportunity for you to get a bit of work done yourself while they are watching this, and then afterwards, ask them to write a short description of what they learned from the programme.
It’s all learning after all and Children’s BBC programmes do tend to be very healthy, wholesome programmes with a high level of wisdom, common sense and education in them.
THEN HAVE A LUNCH BREAK
Your children could help you prepare the lunch, set the table and clear up afterwards. All very important life skills. I’m not saying this is easy, mine moan at every little job they are given, ( I seem to remember I did when I was their age) but it didn’t stop my mum and dad from making us do jobs. Good luck:-)
1.30 – 3.30 pm – PE and creative activities.
With all the hard work out of the way, you could get a million ideas from Pinterest for something creative and maybe stick to a theme related to the work they did in the morning. Teachers call it learning reinforcement apparently and I am married to one!
If we are still allowed, we’ll be out for a walk (why not take the dog for a walk) or run each day and as my husband is a PE teacher, no doubt we’ll be doing fitness circuits and other health-related activities in the name of Physical education!
We’ve all agreed that up until 3.30pm there will be no tech gaming time unless it’s actually related to the school work and then at 3.30 pm they’ll be free! The Gaming will be the carrot, quite possibly used every five minutes to blackmail them into completing a task!
This will then leave the evenings for me to work, allowing them to waste their lives on XBOX live, but losing the parent guilt by knowing that they’ve at least utilised their brains in the daytime!
It’s just an idea really, a guideline that may work, can easily be adapted and includes some FREE resources for you to use.
Now I’m definitely not saying this is going to be easy and there’s no guarantee it’ll work. Some days, we may just sack it off completely and stay in PJ’s and if we do get ill, it will go completely out of the window, but it’s an idea, for those of you reading this article, it’s highly likely that you would like to attempt some form of home ed during this difficult time. It may be that you make big adjustments, or you may have your own ideas, in which case please share them with me as I anticipate needing all the help I can get.
Good luck, love and prayers for our healthy future and don’t forget to use the FREE resources mentioned, oh and please leave any positive suggestions in the comments below.
Best of luck
Mum of three and wife to one!
Here’s your Free Printable with space to add your own notes. Save as a JPEG