Top tips for home schooling

 

Communication Aids and Resources

Ask school for copies of communication aids they may use. For example, traffic light systems, picture communication cards (PECS) so that your child can use the same way to communicate at home.

You may want to try now/next cards and this/that choice cards.

There is a range of great resources for primary aged children available to download.

Design a routine for your family

Design a routine that works for you and your child.

Is it better to work in the morning and save fun activities for the afternoon?

Or it might suit you better to alternate school work and fun activities. Do what works best for you and your child. Ask your child what they would prefer their routine to look like.

Decide where to learn

Create a designated space for learning if you can. Perhaps try and keep learning activities away from the bedroom for younger children especially if they have trouble sleeping.

Display and decorate a timetable

One you've decided your routine, draw or print out your timetable, encourage your child to decorate it and display it around the home as a reminder. This could be a fabulous art activity.  

Remember to add fun!

Not all learning comes from a book - add in some things that you and your child like to do together into your routine - reading, baking, jigsaws.

Think of some projects that your child might enjoy. For example:

  • watch a nature documentary and then make a report or drawing based on it
  • read a story and turn it into a comic or an animation
  • watch a film and do a play retelling the story.

Swap roles and make your child the teacher once a week and let them teach you their favourite thing they have learnt that week.

Rewards

Rewards don't work for all children but if your child responds well to rewards and reward charts then use them to motivate your child.

It can be more useful to build rewards into your day. For example, doing some maths followed by watching TV for half an hour. What simple reward will motivate your child? Build these into your routine.

Using Timers and Alarm Signals

Some children don't respond well to too many spoken instructions, especially from their parent. Use alarms, whistles or chimes to signal the end of a lesson rather than saying it. If your child can read, write brief instructions on a small blackboard or have pre-prepared cards with symbols - for example snack time could be a glass of milk and a cookie.

Consider using a sand timer to indicate how long is left for a lesson so your child has a visual reminder - you can set them for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour and all lengths of time in between.

Social stories

Social Stories can be a great way to help your child understand what is happening. Here are some about COVID 19 and homeschooling

Keep in touch with school friends

Can your child Facetime and work out a maths problem with their friend? Or listen to a story together?

Older children who are working from home on a set timetable may enjoy Facetiming class mates while they are in an online lesson and working together if their teacher will allow it.
 

Relaxation and massage

Building some relaxation and massage into your home school routine is a good idea. Sometimes it takes a few practices to get used to using relaxation techniques so start small, persevere and enjoy the process of learning together.  

You can also help your children's anxiety with mindfulness exercises. Positive psychology has simple exercises, videos and suggestions you can do with younger children or teens.

We know it's not easy home-schooling in the pandemic. Try some of these hints and tips and see if it makes life a little easier.

Related information

The Department for Education (England) has published guidance on remote leaning, which contains lots more tips and resources.