I am hearing of many parents who are deciding to remove their children from school due to fears over Coronavirus or being forced into the situation by school closures. This decision had many implications for the families concerned. Many parents are suddenly responsible for their child’s education without any experience or time to research and formulate a plan of how to do so. This can be daunting and worrying for many however I wanted to take the opportunity to say don’t be scared, have fun! See this as an opportunity to enjoy doing things with your child. You may find Home Education suits your family and you could decided never to send them back to school. How wonderful, an amazing adventure awaits………..
My advice is don’t panic. You don’t need to replicate school in your house. You don’t need to sit your child in front of a pile of books all day insisting they work from 9am to 3pm. Home Education is a whole new way of thinking which when you let go of the fear and the panic can be a route to finding your child’s hidden talents and abilities. If you can take the time to follow their lead and watch what they enjoy and the things that spark their interest you can tailor their days to be fun, enjoyable and educational at the same time. Honestly, it is the best thing I have ever done!
Often we find that when children first come out of school they find it difficult to find ways to amuse themselves all day as they are so used to someone else deciding everything for them. At school they are always told where to be, what to do, what to think about and what to learn. There is not much freedom to make their own choices. This new opportunity to Home Educate them may leave some children a bit agitated, like they are asking “ what next” or “where now”. This mind set can take an amount of time to get away from. My advice would be to observe and understand what they are going through. Their lives have been restricted possibly, depending on their ages for many years. The sudden freedom can unsettle them and possibly make them restless while they adjust and find new ways to fill their days. Parents will often describe this period as the “climbing the walls” stage.
For other children the adjustment may be liberating they make wake up the first day and instantly know all the things they want to do and go about it with a passion. This particularly applies to children who have a passion for a particular activity. For example children who love to paint or draw will get out their drawing materials and enjoy the absolute freedom to indulge their passion for as much time as they wish unrestricted by bells and timetables. This may go on for many hours or even days or week. The same applies to children who enjoy playing a musical instrument. You may have the wonderful opportunity to observe their skills as they practice over and over striving to perfect their skills un burdened by time.
One fear that parents often have is that their children will spend endless hours on their screens. Phones, computers and tablets are often seen as a bad use of time. Once you start to Home Educate you will get the opportunity to actually use for educational purposes those same screens. Instead of seeing it as wasted time you may find you can actually use their love of screens to direct their learning. There are a great many educational resources used by Home Educators as a huge part of the education they are able to provide. In the case of young children what they think of as a game or a fun app can actually be teaching them at the same without the moans and groans you may experience should you try to teach them the same things while sitting at a desk with a workbook in front of them.
Times tables are always a big worry and many parents ask what is the best and least painful way to teach them. I have found that the fun apps and computer based games are much more successful than the endless repetitive chanting. You may wish to look at PurpleMash which is an amazing application/programme which is actually used in hundreds of school but is accessible to parents who are Home Educating too. Purple Mash covers all the subjects that children learn at school from age 5 to 11. Its all done in a fun, game based way that children enjoy and look forward to doing, this can be such a help to parents. If you want to benefit for the discounted annual subscription that is available for Home Educators you can buy it with a 50% discount on www.awediscounts.com/purple-mash It will only cost you £15 with access for a whole year. So even if you only Home Educate during the school closures it is still affordable. You may even find that when your child goes back to school they will opt to use PurpleMash afterschool and at the weekends as a matter of choice as they enjoy it. If however you prefer you could try a non-screen based option which I have found to be really simple and effective for teaching times tables. It’s a card based game that demonstrates how simple it can actually be. Have a look at Tackling Tables as well as Tackling Addition and Subtraction www.awediscounts.com/tackling-tables-add-subtract I have used their system myself and found it amazingly straightforward and effective.
Another aspect to think about regarding screen time, is that you could use your child’s interest to give them the opportunity to use the skills and interests they have to learn about how all these gadgets actually work. After all by the time your child leaves education even more of our lives will probably be computerised. The world will need experts in all kinds of ways to make all our gadgets work. A great place to start with this would be by giving your child the chance to learn about the coding or programming that actually makes their screen time games and apps work. There are many ways to teach them coding or programming but parents are often worried as they themselves have never learnt it so they feel they are not qualified to teach their child. Luckily there are many ways for your child to learn that will not require your input. On the AWE Discounts website www.awediscounts.com you will find special discounts for a number of educational products that will facilitate this al all levels. For infant and primary age a great resource is Coding Park, who offer a 35% discount for Home Schoolers or Home Educators See www.awediscounts.com/coding-park It is so simple, from lesson one they will actually be coding. They gradually work their way through the levels learning new coding skills all the time. It’s a great resource and we are very grateful to Coding Park for supporting Home Educators with the discounted offer.
For older students who are more accomplished with a computing and programming you may like the opportunity to enable them to do an online BTEC course that is a recognised qualification that will look good on their CV and be accepted by college and employers as a worthwhile skill to have. Kanduit courses are completely run online at the students own pace without the need for them to sit an exam at the end. They are assessed as they go along by submitting assignments that are marked and returned to them with useful feedback. There are a number of courses available at different levels leading to various qualifications. Kanduit have been helping numerous Home Educated students through these qualifications and kindly allow us to offer them at a discounted price. This maybe a good option should you decide that your child is benefitting from being Home Educated and that you won’t send them back to school once the Coronavirus situation is resolved. We usually see that students get really engrossed in these courses and work on the assignments and lessons willingly for many hours each week. This is great for allowing them to learn in a more independent way working through the course in their own time as opposed to school based learning on one hour slots. It develops their ability to concentrate too. You can see the courses available on this link www.awediscounts.com/kanduit-online-ict-courses
You may find you are worried about their maths skills getting behind while they are not having daily lessons at school. I have always found that maths seems to be absorbed better when done regularly each day as opposed to once or twice a week. Its seems children need to practice what they learn and revisit some elements regularly to reinforce them. A tried and tested resource than many Home Educators all over the World rely on as the bulk of their child’s maths curriculum is a great product called ConquerMaths. I have used this for many years with all my children and Grandchildren. The feeling I get from it is that I know that if the child works through the lessons in the programme they will cover everything they need to learn at all levels and ages from age 4 to 18. This has always given me the peace of mind to not worry so much about their maths education especially as it’s not my favourite area of expertise. It’s nice to give that responsibility to ConquerMaths and just watch my child develop their maths skills. ConquerMaths is another resource originally produced for school use that we Home Educators are grateful to have access to especially as they have very kind given us a very large 59% discount on an annual subscription, please note this offer will expire on 5th April so if you want to benefit from the discounted price go to this link www.awediscounts.com/conquermaths before then. The programme works by showing the child short videos explaining a concept followed by on screen interactive questions that are marked instantly giving them the feedback they need to ensure they know if they are getting it right or need to go over that part again. I much prefer this to the old fashioned way of doing the questions then passing them to a teacher for marking and maybe waiting for a number of hours or days to find out if they have correctly learned the concept. It is hard to be given back a workbook a week after a lesson, see a lot of red crosses and have to then go back and try to work out what you were thinking and where it went wrong. This is a much better alternative.
I hope you do enjoy this opportunity to be responsible for the education of your child. Once you get used to it, it can lead you to a truly wonderful way of life that will benefit the whole family. Good luck and stay healthy.