Home Education During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated a rapid shift to home education in the UK. Whilst for many parents the change will be a temporary one, there has been an estimated 38% rise in the number of parents indefinitely removing their kids from school. Both scenarios place an increased responsibility on parents to facilitate their children’s education.
For parents who are educating their kids at home for the first time, it can be a daunting experience. That’s why we’re here to give you some tips for getting started. Whilst this is not meant as a comprehensive guide on all things home education, we are going to include plenty of general advice along with some links to further reading at the end of the blog.
Before You Start Home Education
In the UK there is likely to be a distinction between home education during COVID-19 for primary school and secondary school children, which affects your responsibilities as a parent.
Secondary schools may well have offered remote classes throughout the day for their pupils, meaning parents are mainly responsible for ensuring their children attend these lessons.
Primary schools, on the other hand, are likely to have offered limited remote learning and instead sent over resources, tasks and assignments for pupils to complete at home. This means the parents of primary school pupils may have extra responsibility to ensure their kids are still learning from home.
Whichever situation you’re in, it’s important to reiterate that as a parent you have not suddenly become your child’s teacher. You should see yourself as a facilitator of their learning, whether by ensuring they attend online classes or completing school assignments with them. Understanding your role is key to making sure you or your child are not overwhelmed by the idea of home education.
Making Home Schooling Permanent
Parents are entitled to make home schooling a permanent arrangement after COVID-19, but there are some legal considerations to take into account. You will be solely responsible for your child’s education, as they will not be signed up to any specific school. Whilst this guide will include tips that apply to both temporary and permanent arrangements, you may wish to consult the additional resources at the end of the blog for more help with continuing home education for your children.
Stick to a Timetable
The shift from being taught at school to being taught at home is a sharp one, and if you’re not careful then it can affect the quality of your child’s education. One effective way of managing this transition is to ensure your kids remain wedded to a timetable. A lot of things are going to change when your kids move to online learning, so it’s essential that you maintain as much stability in their daily routine as possible. Sticking to the school timetable also serves to keep a lid on your responsibilities as a parent and ensures you don’t try to do much.
Keeping Kids Engaged
Keeping your kids engaged throughout the school day is absolutely critical. Without social interaction with friends, physical activity and the familiar surroundings of school, it is easy for them to get distracted and disengaged. Here are some ideas to inject some life into their new school days and keep them motivated to learn.
The element of physical activity in a child’s school day is every bit as important as their lessons. It allows them to blow off steam and refresh their brains so they’re ready to learn again. Yet during the pandemic the opportunities for exercise, particularly for children, have become limited. We therefore recommend reserving some time every day for physical activity.
There are now a number of online resources to facilitate this, with the most popular in the UK being Joe Wicks. Throughout the lockdowns he has been running live daily P.E. sessions for children on his YouTube channel, and they’re a great place to start. You can find more resources like this at the end of the blog.
One of the elements that will most be missing from home education is the social aspect. It’s natural that kids will have fewer opportunities to interact with teachers and classmates during online classes, and so you need to find a way of ensuring they can stay in touch remotely. You can do this by making it easy for them to use conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, perhaps even arranging a time with other parents that your kids can chat to each other. It’s important that they’re to maintain these social interactions with people despite the remote learning.
Make Learning Fun
Making learning fun is certainly easier said than done! However there are a number of ways in which you can enrich your child’s learning experience. We recommend integrating activities, games and non fiction books into their daily learning routine to stave off boredom. Helping children to read non fiction books is a great way of combining a fun, engaging activity with learning and can be used to mix things up in the virtual classroom.
Home Education Reading & Resources
- UK government advice for home schooling
- Advice for permanent home education
- The Kids Coach – Online PE Classes
- BBC Bitesize
- 20 Fun Zoom Games for Kids
- Fun learning activities for ages 3-11
- My First Discoveries series of non fiction children’s books
- How to Keep Kids Social During the COVID-19 Outbreak