Families across the country are now getting to grips with in-home, online learning. With schools beginning to deliver online lessons and to teach remotely and lots of educational resources becoming free, there is a lot of information for parents to sift through.
A good friend of mine called me this morning and asked ‘What should I do- should I make a timetable or just let them be free?’
The advice that we give to our families who are already homeschooling will be useful to everyone in the next weeks and maybe months. We are experienced in helping families to develop timetables, routines, lessons and also providing teachers where required.
Creating some structure, organization, and routine in your child’s day is key. We love Common Sense Media’s guide to creating a schedule with some helpful resources.
There is so much uncertainty and anxiety in this current situation and children will be picking up on that. Structure and routine are going to make children feel less anxious. The more you can keep to a structure, the better your child will feel about things carrying on as normal, but in a different space.
Schools are also teaching in this way for the first time. Some schools are using e-learning with feedback, for example, setting work on Google classroom and then marking/commenting and some are dialing students in for short bursts and on a reduced timetable. Parents have to think carefully about whether this is enough and what their children are gaining, educationally, from the experience.
For a home learning experience managed by parents, we would suggest an hour of maths and an hour of reading/writing in the morning along with some kind of physical activity. The afternoon lends itself well to longer activities such as art, science and science experiments, learning to bake or helping in the garden/in the home. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach children life skills too-the ones that we are all usually too busy to teach.
Many companies are giving away free home school learning packages right now so take advantage of this if you can.
Keeping your young minds focussed will help them to be distracted from the worries of the world right now. It’s an excellent way to help keep children mentally safe. There has never been a better time to get creative and think more widely about education either…watch this space in our company!
Intrinsic motivation is something that I personally, researched and practiced in the classroom myself when working in the IB system in Hong Kong. Children are naturally curious but seem to lose that sense of curiosity when adults tell them what they must learn in order to cover a curriculum.
So here’s where a new and fantastic opportunity for parents and educators presents itself. Learning can be absolutely personalized. For the first time, many children may have the opportunity to learn about topics that appeal to their own interests.
Teach children how to research. Teach them critical thinking skills. Teach them to question and discuss. Teach them about reliable sources and credible information, and then let them inquire into a topic of their own choosing.
Many students are desperate to learn about the world. They will often arrive at the classroom door, burning with excitement and knowledge because they are fascinated with their new learning and have a genuine thirst to learn more, sometimes to be faced with ‘oh, we are learning about (insert curriculum topic here) right now’
The best teachers I have met in the world, foster this joy of learning, they turn it into a further learning experience and guide their students along into researching more and working to a (shared) end goal whilst developing critical thinking skills along the way. This is when you see the magic happening. The magic of learning and engagement, driven by intrinsic motivation. It’s the polar opposite to ‘sit down and do your homework’. Whether you do this yourself or engage the services of a private tutor or professional educator, it’s personalized learning at it’s best.
Written by Karen Ormerod, Company Director