With schools shut again and an end not really in sight, we have to think about new ways to adapt to virtual learning! You thought you’d escape school forever, and now your kids have brought it right to your front door (and your kitchen, and your lounge, and your…) - but don’t fear! Ferris & Co have compiled a list of top tips to help your children (and yourself) through this virtual learning period - with our help, school from home might not seem so bad.
It’s not the most glamorous thing to think about, and it won’t exactly get the kids dancing on tabletops - nevertheless, organisation is absolutely key. At school, routines and schedules are dictated and controlled very naturally; at home, this may not be the case. So, to make sure you don’t find your child devouring a bowl of cheerios during 11am Biology, or napping in front of The Chase during his 5pm virtual Maths tutoring, we recommend that you set-out a clear and manageable routine! Investing in a funky weekly planner can be a practical and lighthearted way to achieve this, but try to not make the routine too scary or intense.
Focus is the key! This means you need to designate certain areas to work, and encourage your child to keep other activities - like lunch, gaming, and bouncing off the walls - to other parts of the home. This isn’t necessarily easy, and can be even harder for people lacking space in their house. Ferris & Co have already run an article on creating work from home setups, and there’s plenty to take from that when setting up a virtual learning space, so check it out! https://www.ferrisandco.net/blog/31-how-to-create-a-work-from-home-space-in-4-easy-steps
It’s also good to keep these spaces varied: encourage some hours at the dining room table and others at their desk. Attention spans wane in the best of students, so keeping settings fresh is crucial! If worse comes to worse, just stick them in the bathtub.
By far the hardest element of creating a good homeschool setup is keeping the kids from the distractions! These work spaces won’t be effective if your kid is bringing the iPad to work zone #1 and FaceTiming his mate at work zone #2. So, short of locking all the household’s gadgets in an impenetrable safe, or shutting down the WiFi for 6 hours, we encourage creative and practical decisions!
Give your kids regular breaks between classes to let off some steam, invest in some noise cancelling headphones so they can really zone in, and make sure to separate siblings so they don’t pester each other! If you’re busy with your own work and don’t have the means to monitor them all day, there are phone apps you can download that allow you to restrict access to certain apps.
Keep it fun!
But let’s be honest, you don’t want to be their teacher. You’re more fun than that (at least that’s what we want them to think…) So don’t be afraid to put on some music from time to time, or suggest a run around in the garden during a break. The key to helping your child through school at home is all about moderation: set time limits for homework and tasks, and use the promise of fun intermissions as incentives for them to focus! Lockdown is also a great opportunity to bond with your children, and to try and convince them that you’re much cooler than their teachers. Just make sure you don’t accidentally end up embarrassing yourself on one of their Zoom lessons - there’s no coming back from that.
We know this is a stressful time with circumstances nobody could have foreseen. But with our help, you can turn virtual learning into a fun, productive, and manageable experience for both you and your children!