The school holidays are over but, for now, the kids aren’t heading back to their classrooms in school – their new reality is online learning with an at-home supervisor needing to help facilitate their education. Unchartered territory, right? We thought we’d reach out to some of our friendly teachers and get their advice on how best to create and operate a Home School environment. Here are their key tips and favorite resources!
Teacher to Parent Recommendations
- One of the first things our teachers have said, that while they’re doing their best to send you plenty of activities to keep the children engaged and educated, there is no pressure to do everything! Just get through what you can.
- They also don’t recommend trying to stick to a strict timetable as this is likely going to fail and you don’t need this added stress of feeling like you’ve failed with this.
- Try to focus on one literacy, one math and one creative/active activity a day, if possible. Most teachers will be providing creative activities and little challenges to try and ensure work isn’t all limited to devices. So see if you can incorporate the non-device activities into your day.
- Create a dedicated space for the kids to work, so they are not just lying on the couch.
- If you are working from home, try to provide enough space that you can have meetings without interruption, but create a system that when your child needs help, they have a way to indicate that.
- Most of the kids should be provided with the supplies they need from their school, but it might be nice to get a few colored pencils or other bits of fun stationery, so their space feels like theirs and it’s a little special for them. The more appealing it is, then hopefully the more they will be happy to work in that space.
Image Source: Teaching Mama
Favorite Teacher Resources
There are so many websites that are creative, interactive and fun. There are also a few that are offering free trials or resources during COVID-19 to support parents and teachers. Here are some of the favorites for teachers and students alike.
- With libraries closed, Epic! has books for all ages that kids can have read to them or they can read themselves. They have a free 30-day trial to get you started with access to 40,000 digital books.
- Sunshine Online offers both literacy and math programs in different learning spaces to suit the different age levels. The content is animated and interactive making it a fun space for children to learn. They offer a free 2-week trial for parents.
The World of David Waliiams:
- Author of Gangster Granny and other well-known books, there is a release of David reading one book a day with all sorts of cool sound effects to keep it even more entertaining!
- This is a really cool tool that allows kids to build their own digital books. There is additional support in light of Coronavirus, with daily webinars, a guide for home learning and a range of lessons in their Resources Hub. You can find out more about that specifically here:
- Similar to Epic! Vooks is described as ‘a whole library of books that come to life’. See animated storybooks read aloud in a kid-safe environment. There is a one month free trial as well as plenty of parent resources.
Image Source: Book Creator
- Apparently, this is the biggest and best website for math learning. Providing interactive activities, games and challenges there is a free trial for home users. The interface is very child friendly and provides learning from K – 12 with the program maturing as the students do, ensuring they are captivated at every stage of learning.
- IXL Maths provides learning for different age groups with fun and interactive questions. It also includes an award system to help keep the kids motivated.
Image Source: Matheletics
- Yoga and mindfulness for kids aged 3+. This is not yoga as you know it as an adult, this yoga has plenty of children’s themes, is the appropriate amount of fun for the kids and keeps to a pretty good time limit, knowing the attention spans that kids do and do not have. It’s a great way to get the kids into yoga and mindfulness early.
- This is a favorite of many! ‘Good energy at home’ is what they say and this free online resource provides plenty of activities for kids and families to be active, mindful and learn! Providing weekly activities to keep it fresh, this will be a winner with the kids (and you).
Image Source: GoNoodle
- Scratch is a site where your children can try out some basic coding to create their own interactive stories, games and animations. It provides a platform for kids to think creatively, systematically and collaboratively.
- Kahoot is all about ‘making learning awesome’. It’s a cool platform for creating quizzes among many other things. It has a lot of tools within the app/platform that you could spend hours just in this space alone. Bound to be a winner with the whole family.
- Pobble is a bit of a different one. You get really interesting, weird, cool pictures from it, to help give the kids ideas to write or talk about. So whether you want to use it as a story starter, sentence challenge, caption challenge or even quizzes all around the unique image of the day. The website gives you prompts and suggestions to get the imaginations flowing.
Image Source: Pobble
One final recommendation was to join a Facebook group of parents going through the same thing (which has got to be around about 80% of parents around the world!). A really great group is “Parents in Quarantine”:
This page is literally full of amazing ideas to keep the kids engaged during the quarantine period. There are some seriously creative parents out there and they are sharing all their great ideas in groups like this one. There are also teachers, sharing their knowledge and resources. It’s also a really good support network. If you are just having one of those days that feels hard, they’re there to help get you through it. You might find you’ll end up living in this group given how useful it is!
There’s no doubt that, as parents, we are really having to dig deep and discover new skills as we work out a new normal involving working from home, keeping the family safe, keeping the family sane, and being an educator/entertainer for the children all while trying to remain calm, positive and happy! But don't be too hard yourself if it doesn’t go that way every time. Just remember to breathe, smile and share a silly joke with your little ones because that will always make you feel better.