Keep education going – how to educate your child at home

By Carey Ann Dodah at Explore Learning

It can take a minute to sink in when schools close unexpectedly. With my children at home and all of us trying to balance our use of computers and printers, writing timetables and planning food, it can be a lot to take in. And on top of that we’re given the responsibility of educating our children at home.

For most children, the home is a place of relaxation and an opportunity to switch off from school. We all know how tricky it can be to get them to do homework and suddenly it feels like we’ve got to get them to do it for 5 hours every day! Just the thought gives me cabin fever and makes me want to run for the hills! 

But let’s all stop and take a collective breath. We’re all safe at home together. And while school closures create some uncertainty and can be a bit stressful, they also give us a unique opportunity to reconnect and learn together.

Quick tips – preparing for school closures

As a parent I know it can feel like you have to be ready for anything, and an unexpected school closure can really add on the pressure. But with just a few simple steps in place you can be ready to support your child’s learning at home. So here’s some quick tips:

  • Keep an eye on weather forecasts – bad weather is the most common reason for your child’s school to close unexpectedly, so be prepared around winter

  •  It can’t hurt to keep an eye on the news in general so you know when to start preparing for learning at home

  • Regularly check on your school’s website as they’ll likely put out advanced warnings of school closures

  • Make sure you ask the school how they’ll keep parents and carers informed of any unexpected closures

  • Try to help your child prepare for a school closure - the change in routine and not seeing their friends at school may be a bit stressful for them too

How can I educate my child at home?

If, like me, you’ve been inundated with schoolwork and are feeling the pressure to get it done and do it well - take a moment and remember, education comes in many forms. The essence of schoolwork is learning something new and honing skills already learnt to become even better.

Look beyond the national curriculum. What are your child’s passions? Do they love to bake, play sport, read, dance, paint, sing, play computer games? With a bit of passion and commitment, any skill can be honed into something awesome.

Home education tips

With that in mind, here are some top tips for supporting your child and continuing their education at home.

1. Make time for your child’s passion every day

Talk about their interests, help them develop new skills and support them in reaching their ambitions.

2. Exercise!

Our brains need oxygen flowing through them so whether it’s kicking a ball, learning a dance video, jumping on the trampoline or creating an obstacle course in the garden – make some time for exercise.

3. Eat together and talk

At the kitchen table, talk about what you’ve been doing during the day for work. Ask them to share the things that they’ve learnt, talk about big topics like the environment, society, economy, health. You might be surprised by your child’s opinions on the big things, however small they are.

4. Have a routine but be flexible

Our children are used to having a structured day and many thrive on that. If that’s your child, then adopt a routine that’s closely linked to the school day. Or if you have a 12-year-old like mine, who prefers to stay in bed for a few more hours and is a much more pleasant person as a result, then go with that.

5. Read

Read together as well as alone, create cosy reading dens and get them to keep a record of all the reading they’ve done to impress their teacher when they return. This can be a great way to inspire reading for pleasure.

6. Assign chores

With more people in the house all day, it’s going to be trickier to keep on top of the housework – it needs to be a family effort. Give different jobs each day and develop these vital life skills.

7. Use free homeschooling resources online

The education community has really done an amazing job of producing a wealth of home learning resources. In addition to the lessons that teachers are providing you can find a rich selection of free activities ranging from home learning packs on Twinkl to creative and resources in Explore Learning’s free resources.

8. Play games

Tackle jigsaws, build lego – great for problem solving and developing creativity.

9. Get an online buddy

Is there a friend that they could FaceTime while they’re doing their schoolwork? Seeing other children and continuing to have some peer learning is very important for children’s wellbeing when schools are closed. 

10. A helping hand

Without teacher input, supporting our children with their core maths and English skills can be a daunting task. Having some dedicated time with a skilled tutor will help reduce that burden.

Whether children are learning at home or in school, we are committed to supporting them by nurturing the skills and attitudes they need to become confident, fearless learners.

At Explore Learning we can help keep children’s education going even in the event of unexpected school closures. Our tuition centres provide a safe and vibrant learning environment and we can also provide 1:1 online tuition if you prefer or can't make it to a centre. Our expert tutors will be there, online or in-centre, to support your child and their learning.

You’ll also have unlimited access to our online learning resources and smart learning tool, whenever and wherever suits you and your child. At Explore Learning we support the whole family, you will have access to an exclusive members area full of parent advice, activities, videos and more.

To discuss how you can keep education going in your home, book your free online trial today!

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Supporting learning at home FAQs

What curriculum or resources should I use for homeschooling?

You can choose from various curriculum options, such as National Curriculum materials for homeschooling packages. Online resources and educational websites like BBC Bitesize can also be valuable.

How can I create a structured daily routine for my child's education?

Creating a structured daily routine is essential for effective homeschooling. Here's a more detailed approach:

  • Set Clear Learning Hours: Determine a specific time for academic activities each day. This consistency helps your child understand when they should focus on learning.

  • Include Breaks: Ensure your child has regular breaks to recharge. Short breaks between subjects or activities can prevent burnout and maintain concentration.

  • Plan a Variety of Subjects: Incorporate a mix of subjects such as English, maths, science, history, and art into the daily schedule. This variety keeps learning engaging and well-rounded.

  • Adapt to Your Child's Needs: Every child is unique. Be flexible and adjust the schedule based on your child's learning pace and preferences. Some children may work better in the morning, while others are more productive in the afternoon.

  • Create a Visual Schedule: Consider using a visual schedule or chart so that your child can see the day's plan. This can help them understand what's expected and what's coming next.

  • Set Goals: Establish achievable daily or weekly goals to track progress. Celebrate accomplishments to motivate your child to stay on track.

How do I ensure my child stays motivated and engaged in learning at home?

Keeping your child motivated and engaged in a home learning environment requires creativity and encouragement:

  • Interactive Learning: Incorporate interactive and hands-on activities whenever possible. For example, science experiments, art projects, or role-playing can make lessons more engaging.

  • Explore Interests: Pay attention to your child's interests and integrate them into the curriculum. When children study topics they are passionate about, they are more likely to stay motivated.

  • Use Technology Wisely: Utilise educational apps, websites, and multimedia resources that align with your child's age and curriculum. Technology can make learning fun and interactive.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward your child for their efforts and achievements. Praise their hard work, offer small incentives, or create a rewards system to maintain motivation.

  • Change Scenery: Occasionally, take learning outside or to different rooms in your home. A change of environment can refresh your child's perspective and enthusiasm.

  • Encourage Questions: Foster a curious mindset by encouraging your child to ask questions and explore topics beyond the curriculum. Show that learning is a lifelong journey.

How can I monitor my child's progress and provide feedback?

You can keep a collection of your child’s work, use online assessment tools and regularly communicate with your child about their learning experience. Be sure to offer constructive feedback to encourage growth. 

You could also look at a tuition provider like Explore Learning to help monitor your child’s academic progress. You’ll get regular feedback from expert tutors so that you can easily understand how your child is doing with their learning.

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