I think it is fair to say that most of us are happy to have said goodbye to 2020. It was certainly an unusual year, it forced us into recreating our whole worlds, change the way we work, learn and even teach. Masks became the must have item of the year, as a result becoming a top fashion accessory too- I’m nobody predicted that!
As we welcome 2021 Covid-19 is still very much with us and there is a lot of uncertainty around schools once more. It has almost become a postcode lottery as to if and when your children are to return to the classroom. Just days away from the start of Spring Term parents and school staff have another period of uncertainty ahead. Do they open? Do they have a blended approach? Where will I get childcare? All questions being asked up and down the country! Sadly I don’t have those answers…But I do have some tips for home learning and the eventual return to the classroom!
Firstly if you are unsure what is happening with your child’s school, check the school website or the local council website. With social media rely only on what is being posted by official sources. Many children are returning to home schooling for a little while before a hopeful return to the classroom in the middle of the month. I am sure this fills many families with dread, the return of being mum, teacher and often maintaining your own work commitments too. Don’t panic! Remember that you can only do what you can do and some home learning is better than no home learning. There is no right or wrong way to manage this situation!
Many schools are providing some online learning for your child to follow. From this read carefully what instructions have been given to you. Is it a case of submitting a certain amount of work per week? Are there options of project types to complete? Determine what the expectations are. The you consider how to timetable for them and manage the completion of tasks in your household.
Don’t feel as though your child should be completing school based earning from 9am until 3:30pm! Chunk the learning into 20-30 minute sessions, for many children this is their optimum learning time, any more and they will not be as productive anyway. Give them (and you) plenty of breaks, remember older children can sit near you as you work. They are more independent than you think!
If the weather allows it, get outdoors! The fresh air will do you all good and prepare you for the next chunk of work for you and learning for your children. Children who have managed to burn off some energy will be more focused in the afternoon learning. On that note, children learn better in the morning, use that time for more complicated, or brain consuming tasks, it is a reason why schools teach Maths and English before lunch!
Creating a timetable can really help you keep track of everything that you need to get done, while balancing the needs of your children. Try to make it manageable, aim for 2 tasks per day for your children. Any more than that is then a bonus! Make sure you put break times in there, you’ll be surprised how many people forget to set aside time for lunch! Make sure you account for when free time will be, not just for the children but for you as well.
Eventually (who knows when) your children will return to school, the early morning school run in the rain will return. The endless questions about remembering PE kit, lunch, sponsorship money and reading books will return. Then we have to prepare our children for a return to school. School holiday bedtime changes are always the hardest return to normal, so think of home learning as bonus time to get that sorted, before the school run returns. Well rested people are more effective and efficient, meaning they learn much better. So other than sleep patterns what can we do to ease the return to school?
Firstly check school updates regularly, then you can prepare your child for any changes that may have been made. A different start time, entrance way, route to their cloakroom or change in staff can really affect a child’s confidence, particularly when they are already a little nervous. Remind your children the adults they have in school that can help them, when they feel a little lost this chat will come back to them and they will remember they are not alone.
Be positive about the return to school (I know this can be tricky when you might be weary too) this is guaranteed to make your child feel more comfortable about the experience. It is an opportunity for you to talk through any worries with them and reframe them into positives.
We are still living in such uncertain times, our children are very aware of that and our job as parents and teachers is to make them feel as safe as possible, to listen to their concerns, reassure them when they need it the most and help them resolve their problems. These tips should help you and your child with the return to home learning and the classroom. Remember, you have done this before, you learnt lessons about what did and didn’t work for your family! You’ve got this!
Remember you can always join the mailing list and download our Free Maths Anxiety Guide. Packed with tips that can be adapted to fit the return to school and help you with any anxiety over home learning!
For more hints and tips you can download our Free Maths Anxiety Guide, many tips can be adapted to the anxieties of returning to school or even your own anxiety about home learning.