10 tips for homeschooling during the lockdown extension

homeschooling during lockdown

With the lockdown extension now seeing us racking up another three weeks of homeschool (at least – the likelihood will be many more weeks), perhaps at this point you may be feeling a bit “meh” about everything? Or maybe you’re totally exhausted and wondering how on earth you’re going to keep this up for the foreseeable? Today I wanted to share some wise words from the deputy head of a West London primary school Fran Fox – also mum to two somewhat loopy kids, and creator of the Facebook group Teachers RULE, Okay. – on how to not let more homeschooling during the lockdown extension freak you out over the coming weeks.

Don’t worry!

Everyone is in the same boat. You have and always will be your children’s primary educator, they learn most things from you. These few months will be hard, but there’s so much you can teach them about being resilient, talking about your feelings, coping with hardship. This is the greatest character education they could receive.

Reading and more reading!

Prioritise reading, to them, with them, doing flash cards, oxford reading buddy, whatever.

Stay active

Exercise, with them as a family, with Joe Wicks, on a trampoline, dancing in the kitchen, it’s important as they will need this as much as any ‘learning’ they do.

Do the things they enjoy

Bake, draw, make a nerf gun target practice and add up the points, lead from their interests. They find a caterpillar in the garden, research it, write about it, write stories. Remember, they also pick up your likes and dislikes so much – so show them what you love, they’ll pick it up, they’ll get into it because you are. It brings you together as a family.

10 tips for homeschooling during Coronavirus #homeschool #homeschooling

Teach them values

Teach them the value of being kind, doing nice things for your neighbours, FaceTiming their grandparents, writing letters to their friends.

Use the teacher carrot and stick

The school has given you work, your kids are at home for weeks on end, they know they have to work, their teacher will be in contact hopefully in some form, use this as a threat, there is no shame in this, right now.

Don’t fret about screen time

But watch the socialising via apps etc- this is the last time you need something negative being said or done via Xbox or WhatsApp. This will also cause issues for the teachers who are trying to do so many things – please help us out by keeping an eye on how your kid is socialising online. Remember schools are open and if something sad happens online, we will hear about it and it will take time away from the really important job at school – taking care of the vulnerable and the key workers kids who really need their kids cared for.

Togetherness rules

Coming together as a family, the happiest of happy by-products of this dreadful mess. Time spent together right now, learning about and from each other is beautiful.

Do your best

Your best is good enough. Keep your family safe, happy and fed, this is priority #1, all the stuff above is a bonus. Stay safe all. Stay indoors. Remember, this is lockdown, crisis time, let’s remember that. A wise friend who had twins at the same time I had my son told me “do whatever gets you through” she knew the truth, lower expectations, sanity is important, as long as you are keeping them safe, happy and fed it’s all cool.

And cut yourself some slack

Let’s try to cut ourselves some slack, and enjoy some parts of this awful time. Sometimes you’re the best parent ever, sometimes you’re a total walking disaster zone – just like your kids are. That is the truth of homeschooling during lockdown, and of being a parent at any given time.

About Fran Fox

Hi, I’m Fran Fox is a deputy headteacher at a West London primary school, lead on mental health, and I’m a mum of two lovely if somewhat loopy kids, Ted, 7 (Y2) and Kitty 4 (Nursery). I have been teaching for 20 years this year and a deputy for 10 of those. I have always loved teaching, from a young age I loved working with children, I have always had the philosophy that all children no matter what their background, ability or experience can make astonishing progress, it’s all about belief and the right teaching methods matched to the child. (News flash- you know your kids better than anyone else, so you can crush this).

I love making connections with every single one of the children I work with. It’s all about the relationship, get that right and you’re on to a winner. This is why working with my own children was suddenly very scary, I know my own children hate me to teach them, there’s so much love and baggage bound up in your relationship already which does make it super hard, so I knew it would be tough.

In the run-up to lockdown I felt the same panic in all my mum friends. All of us panicking for one reason and many. So… I started a little Facebook group to help teacher friends connect with parents, the idea was for parents to be able to ask for advice on particular difficulties they might have with home learning.

I managed to get about 25 teachers on there of different age groups. All sharing ideas and being on hand to help. But then I started to use it as a place to have solidarity and share the challenges of this awful situation.

Social media is such a dreadful place to be when we all feel low, it’s not real, it’s just what you want to show, like parenting with makeup on, or a filter which shows the very best parts of your time with your kids. Which is so damaging for other parents to read, a photo of you looking fab post-workout or on a night out is one thing. But when you feel low about your parenting because someone has posted loads of amazing stuff they are doing without any real talk about how one kid did a wee on the carpet while you were ‘nailing it’ doing messy play is not kind.

And let’s face it, we all need to be kind right now. I have also quite enjoyed talking about how blinking hard I am finding it. Giving advice is easy, taking it on yourself is twice as hard. I like a list. I’m a teacher. ‘To do’ lists are my bread and butter. I hope you find them helpful.

Picture credit: Home photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

16 comments

  1. I don’t have kids yet, but some of my friends are currently homeschooling. You’ve covered some great tips to keep the kids education going until school resumes as normal.

  2. These are timely and helpful tips on this subject during the Covid-19 crisis. Thank you for sharing this post 🙂

  3. Some fab tips! Homeschooling is definitely hard but we are cracking on! Reading is so important – even I’m finding it relazing immersing myself into a good read to take a break from all the craziness! Sim – Sim’s Life x

  4. I love the teacher carrot and stick approach lol. On a more serious note tho, this homeschooling and being home so much together is a legit culture shock for alot of parents and you’re right in they need to cut themselves some slack and start having fun in these times. Learning is actual fun and it’s all mindset, so let it flow and just stay sane and safe.

  5. I understand how difficult it is for some parents to homeschool their kids during this lock down period. Although everything is doable, it would only need a lot of patience and creativity to keep the learning activities fun and engaging. Thanks for these tips. I will share it with my cousin. It will be a big help for her at this time.

  6. It can be hard to adjust to the new normal at this time but for us it is not too much of a change. I have homeschooled in the past and although for the past year, my daughter has been attending regular school, it was easy for us to transition back to it. I think most parents will learn to appreciate this time and maybe even give homeschooling a second thought.

  7. I homeschooled my kids years back before it was ‘socially acceptable’ and one thing I was told when I started was this, some day you’ll get everything you plan done and some days you won’t. It’s not easy but its so fulfilling in the end. These are great ways to make it exciting each day for everyone involved but don’t get too discouraged if some days are harder than others. Best of luck to you!

  8. It is tough to homeschool children who have always gone to traditional schools. We have to work constantly on personal responsibility.

  9. So many great ideas! Times are tough now. It was refreshing to see you comment about not worrying about screen time. Sometimes, I just need a break and the tablet has come in handy. Always looking for new, fun, educational apps to keep our song engaged.

  10. I’m just taking a very laid back approach. I’m not making theit at a table for hours working, or keeping to any schedule. If they want to read a book, or do some maths we’ll do it, but I’m also letting them enjoy the free time.

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