Homeschooling tips, activities and resources to help your and your little ones

With no date being announced yet for the reopening of schools due to the current lockdown, parents are having to continue homeschooling duties.

This applies to some of the KidStart team, so we know how difficult this can be, especially for those that are having to juggle that with working from home too. You just need to remember that the majority of you are not trained teachers so all you can do is your best, take advantage of the resources available and know that families across the world will be feeling the same.

We’ve rounded up some tips, activities and resources that we’ve found helpful whilst homeschooling during this time and that we hope will help you and your children too.

School resources

Starting off with something we’re sure you’re all already doing but take advantage of any resources your school have made available. From hubs to virtual classrooms with teachers, the schools are here to help as much as possible. We recommend taking time to find out about the current curriculum and maybe swot up, it’s been a long time since a lot of us were at school so giving yourself a reminder about fractions and osmosis will make things easier!

Embrace technology

Embrace the technology you have access to, there’s so many incredible online resources from companies such as Reading Eggs (free 30 day trial for KidStart members), Mathseeds (free 30 day trial for KidStart members), The Maths Factor, BBC Bitesize and many more. They’re all there to support you and make homeschooling interactive and fun. With the current situation many are offering free trials or subscriptions to make them more accessible which is fab.

Have a routine

Implementing some kind of structure will help your kids get in the mindset of learning and will also really help them when schools open again. Just something as simple as waking up and getting ready in the morning and loose structure of times to do ‘lessons’ and play.

It’s recommended if you’re able to set aside separate area where they do their learning, here you can remove distractions like phones, TV and video games – like a mini classroom.

Keep it short

This will vary depending on the age of your child but don’t expect to be able to keep their attention for a usual lesson length or school day. A survey of homeschoolers showed that over half study for 2-3 hours a day and only 7% studying for over 5 hours. Keep lessons short and ‘school’ days to a few hours.

Bank of Mum and Dad

A favourite at KidStart HQ, is the Bank of Mum and Dad. Try exchanging schooling activities for treats your kids love. Giving a bit of an incentive will hopefully help encourage them to sit down and get on with the work whilst also making it fun. Decide with your little ones how this could work, maybe swapping 20 minutes of reading for 10 minutes of TV time. You can even have higher value activities that they have to do more schooling for.

Be inventive

Vary the activities throughout the day to keep your little ones stimulated and occupied, sitting in front a text book all day will make it harder. Teaching history or art? Try out the virtual tours that many museums and galleries are offering. Get out in the garden and plant flowers, fruit and vegetables to teach your kids about science. Use your allotted exercise time to go for a walk and spot birds and insects, teach them how to read a map or collect leaves and flowers to use in art projects at home. Just remember to follow the governments guidelines.

Coordinate with other parents

Parents at your child’s school will be feeling the same so speak to them about how they’re getting on. You can swap tips and even arrange group calls with the kids. A parent might be more comfortable with a subject than you are so trade skills, each host an activity/class that you’re most comfortable with. It’ll give your kids chance to interact with each other which they’ll love.

No pressure

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, for the majority of people homeschooling will be completely new, schools understand this. Remember to take care of yourself and do something that helps you unwind, whether that’s having a bath, drinking a large glass of wine or eating a bar of chocolate, you deserve it!