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Homeschooling Survival Guide

19 January 2021

We have consulted interviews with parents and clinical psychologists to create the perfect guide to surviving homeschool during lockdown. Keep reading to find out more.

A new year, another lockdown. Who would have thought that five days into 2021, the government would announce another national lockdown that would keep both parents and children working and studying from home?

To any, now seasoned, homeschooler, the news, announced this week by vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi, that lockdown will only be “gradually eased” from early March is far from good.

During the first lockdown, in April last year, we collaborated with Harrow School Online to devise a helpful guide on “How to make the most of virtual learning in quarantine”. Now, with the vaccine roll-outs well underway, it’s understandable that parents and school children alike are losing their patience. So, this time, we’ve consulted interviews with parents and clinical psychologists to create the perfect “Homeschooling Survival Guide”.

 

1. Brainstorm a routine together, and make time for yourself

In our previous blog, we spoke about the importance of selecting and following a routine that works for everyone. We talked about how older children can devise their own schedules that are then approved by an adult, whilst younger children may need more assistance. However, sometimes schedules can be seen as overbearing to-do lists that can stress parents and children.

It’s extremely important to keep in mind the main goals to help you and your child manage expectations and be kind to yourselves. Not only are we all managing legitimate anxiety, we are also juggling jobs, school, and chores. It’s important to remember that it’s ok if you can’t do it all — we are human after all. Decide what the main goal is for that day or week and focus on that. Don’t let the small things get you and your child down.

This is why we advise that you try and break down the day into simple learning, chores, play, and working-from-home slots. That way, you can more easily balance their learning time with your work time, making it less about to-do lists, and more about creating a generally productive and happy atmosphere. Don’t forget to schedule important parental downtime too. Remember that it’s just as important for you to have some “me-time” as it is for your kids.

Finally, brainstorm with your child to create the best schedule for everyone. Find out what motivates and excites them, and label these things as incentives for having done the less inspiring, but necessary work. The more kids are included in this process, the more likely they are to cooperate and maintain motivation.

 

2. Maintain sleep and wake-up times

This point technically belongs with the first, but sleep is so important that it deserves its own section.

Children don’t always adapt well to big changes. These constantly changing, uncertain times are bound to make anyone, let alone a child, feel unsettled. Therefore, it's more important than ever to keep to strict bed and wake-up times to help maintain some sort of structure. Not only will this maintain a sense of normality, but it should help to give you the important 8 hours to face the next day bright-eyed.

Remember, a well-rested family is a happy, productive, and thriving family.

 

3. Note down your achievements

Celebrate your achievements with your children as often as you can. Some parents have said that keeping a journal about their homeschooling experience has allowed them and their children to see their successes. Noting down something as small as your child saying that they had the best day, could be the positive pick-me-up you need on a less successful day.

 

4. Stay in contact with the school and reach out if you need help

In our last blog, we emphasised the importance of staying in touch with teachers and peers. Reach out to your school if you or your child are unsure about something. For example, you can ask for a copy of the school timetable so that you are aware of lesson and break times. If your child is struggling and cannot do every task set that day, the best thing to do is to tell the teacher. The teacher can offer extra help, knowing that we are all dealing with a lot of stress during this time. Similarly, if you are finding it hard to juggle work and homeschooling, reach out to your boss and supervisor to help you find the best solution.

In the morning, stay with your child to ensure that all the IT is working properly. Knowing their school timetable will allow you to leave them to get on with their online classes, and you to get on with your own responsibilities or downtime.

Collaborate with your child as to how much time they spend online. Unfortunately, for many children, keeping in touch with friends in quarantine can only be done online, so it's important to reach a healthy balance of socialising and screen time. As we mentioned in our last blog, sudden social distancing and disconnection from school friends can have negative effects on a child’s mental health. So, it's more important than ever to foster friendships, whether that be on- or offline.

If your child is finding large Zoom classes difficult or uninspiring, one-to-one lessons with tutors has proven to be particularly useful to keep students interested, motivated, and curious. If you are looking for a highly qualified and experienced private tutor for your child, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we will be able to find the right tutor for you in accordance to your needs.

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