My kids are at home for the foreseeable future. What next?

I would like to start by saying that it doesn't matter if your child learns nothing over the next few weeks. This may sound odd coming from a teacher, but that's because that's my job - to teach. As you all know, schools and the curriculum have changed considerably since we were younger. If the thought of talking about 'fronted adverbials' and sitting down doing long division fills you with dread, then just don't do it. It's not worth the tears and tantrums. If you want to have a daily routine and do school work at home, that's great too. I'll cover both options in this blog. Schools will pick up where they left off, so don't worry about progress and your child going "backwards". Schools are pros at this, your children will be in great hands when they return.

Setting up a routine

Some children thrive off routine, and need the stability of a routine at home. Try creating a rough timetable of what you're going to do each day, to help give your day structure. Reading is a great way to start or end the day, grab a book and enjoy it together. You can find sites offering free ebooks in my earlier blog post here. If you are an Amazon Prime customer, you can get Prime Reading for free.

Maths and English are good subjects to study in a morning. Your child's school may have sent work home for this. Twinkl have lots of brilliant resources for all year groups. If you're looking for a particular resource, please ask and I can signpost you to the relevant site.

For maths, times tables and mental arithmetic are great ones to practise independently with minimal input, or play some online maths games.

For an afternoon, I would pick a topic that interests your child - science, geography, history, art, DT, PE etc. - and plan something fun to do. An experiment, some baking, learn some life skills. Enjoy the afternoon and don't stress about learning, it will happen naturally. This week in Science we've been investigating 'Which paper aeroplane is the best?'. There's lots of ideas below about what you could do.

Some days, the routine may go out of the window: an elderly neighbour needs some support; grandparents have discovered FaceTime; the sunshine is here (I'm optimistic!) and you can relocate to the garden... Just work things the best you can.

Project work

Cross-curricular project work is a great way of keeping the kids entertained (and learning!) without it becoming a chore. This is what I really love about home schooling and tutoring - you can take a child's interest and take it wherever you want. If your child or children love animals, why not visit a virtual zoo and see what the animals are doing? I love watching the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo; or you can head to San Diego to see what the elephants are doing (they were still in bed when I checked in with them!). Holiday Pirates have collated a list of 13 zoos that offer live streams here.

If your child is a budding astronaut and loves all things space related, then run with that theme. Nasa have just made their entire library of images and resources available to the public for free, you can find them here.

You could:

* make a factfile

* create a presentation

* write a letter

* make a poster

* have a debate

* write a play


As after-school classes are closed, a lot of companies are offering free online sessions. The best way to find out about them is to check local Facebook groups. I've seen adverts for drama, yoga, Sign Language, P.E. - there literally is something for everyone!

'The Body Coach' Jo Wicks is launching PE sessions on his Youtube channel every morning at 9am from next week. Suitable for children from reception to sixth form. You can see his Facebook video about it here.

Life Skills

Being stuck at home is a great opportunity to learn some valuable life skills. I saw a great example on Facebook earlier where a parent gave their children a small budget to buy their snacks from mum's 'tuck shop'.

Here are just a few ideas, adapt them to suit the ages of your child/children:

* cooking - baking, cook a meal from scratch, knife skills, making bread/pizza from scratch, make a hot drink, piping skills, measuring & weighing

* sewing - adding a button, mending holes, measuring & cutting cloth

* budgeting

* washing up

* making a bed

* using gadgets e.g. the washing machine & checking labels on clothes

* sorting unused items to donate

* learning to paint a house (walls, gloss, cleaning brushes etc.)

* tying shoe laces

* crafts - knitting, crochet, felt work, needlecraft

* how to fix a bike

* DIY - changing a lightbulb, wiring a plug, hanging pictures, changing batteries

* gardening - wedding, growing veg, creating planters

* telling the time

* basic first aid

* caring for pets e.g. grooming

* learn a new language (Duolingo is a great app for languages)

* maintaining a car - checking oil levels, washer fluid etc.

* learn to navigate using a compass and map

* write and send letters to family members

Further support

Hopefully this gives you some ideas about what you can do over the next few weeks to keep boredom at bay. If you need some help setting up a home school routine, please get in touch. My advice and guidance is always free.

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