Even some teachers are feeling apprehensive about homeschooling their own children so hopefully, the tips and resources here will help us all over the coming weeks of "lock down".
Please rest assured that you are not alone and your child's teachers are here to support you with their learning each step of the way. There are lots of websites, with ideas, advice and resources online but here are some of the top tips:
1. Set up a learning space
Create an area in the house for your child to be able to focus on learning. There are no clear guidelines on what a learning area should look like because every child has individual ways of learning, so what works for one may not work for another.
Home learning has an advantage in that it can cater to the individual child. As long as the student can focus and be safe, there are no limits to where the learning can take place, whether lying on the ground or sitting at a table – whatever works best for them. But make sure it's somewhere where they know is specifically set up for learning and where they can be monitored. Also, try to limit any possible distractions. Turning the TV off and switching off app notifications will help.
2. Think about the resources they’ll need
We are setting the pupils' learning tasks via Firefly and this work will probably be done either on the ipad or in their exercise books. Occasionally children may want to print certain pages but if this is not possible, these can be saved to the ipad or cloud storage. For some activities pupils may prefer to use a PC or laptop, but again this shouldn't be an absolute necessity.
3. Create a structured routine
Make sure your children do not just see this as an extended holiday but as normal school, from home. It’s important to create a structure. In school we have a timetabled structure throughout the week, which you might wish to follow but this isn't compulsory. Learners should try to adhere to the correct ratio of learning time but all children complete different tasks and grasp concepts at different rates.
We all need time to process new learning so breaks are important to relax between learning periods. However, there are no hard and fast rules over how many breaks they should have or how long these should be. Research shows giving children freedom to choose how they learn, and how long for, can increase their motivation.
4. Good Communication
Good communication is key, so keep checking in with your child/children as to how they are progressing, offering help as they feel they need it. If you feel you can't answer their questions (and neither can Google) then remember they can contact their teachers via the school email system. Be clear on what your expectations are of them from the start and be willing to negotiate and be flexible as we don't know how long this will last. One thing, however, is for certain; tasks will be set on a weekly basis and then archived so if some work is missed they may find it harder to move on in the future.
5. Get to know what your child should know
With Firefly we have a fantastic online learning platform with lots of resources for all years. You're not expected to try to be a replacement teacher, but more a supervising adult to facilitate their learning. Sometimes you may need to take your child back a step to reinforce a concept before they move onto a new one. An example might be in long division, where reinforcing decimal points, or even subtraction, needs to be revised first. This is where Firefly should come in useful as it will detail all the topics and content they have covered since the start of Year 7.
6. Be around to help, but don't do the work for them
If your child is finding a particular task difficult, be available to make suggestions and answer some questions, but try to let them try to work things out themselves as much as possible.
If you don’t know the answer, work with your child to discover a solution. Let your child, where possible, self regulate – that is to take control of their own learning and not rely too much on you.
Remember: you already did your time at High School!