It’s tough to juggle your child’s UK homeschooling curriculum with your own commitments.
It’s nearly three months since the beginning of nationwide homeschooling in the UK—but for many parents, it feels more like three years.
The closure of UK schools to the vast majority of children took hold on Monday, 23 March 2020. For most mums and dads, any utopian visions of kids continuing their schoolwork in the kitchen with minimal supervision have come crashing down. Teaching, it transpires, is something of an art form.
Boris Johnson revealed in his address to the nation on Sunday, 10 May that schools will reopen on Monday, 1 June to pupils in Reception and Years 1 and 6. This was all part of the Government’s conditional plan for the UK’s incremental return to normal life. But this all changed again, with the government announcements on 8th and 9th June.
Juggling your work and personal commitments whilst ensuring your children are receiving their education is tough at the best of times. How are parents in the UK managing—and what top tips can help them get through the coming weeks and months?
How are parents coping with UK homeschooling in lockdown?
Whilst older children can be somewhat relied upon to guide themselves through their studies, the same cannot be said for younger kids. If you’re a parent of under-tens, your days may well consist of refereeing tiffs, losing your rag and pretending to understand their curriculum whilst feeling uncharacteristically out of your depth.
According to the ONS, only 52 per cent of parents are confident in their abilities when it comes to homeschooling. 26 per cent reported that homeschooling is negatively affecting their wellbeing, and 50 per cent stated that homeschooling is having a negative impact on their children themselves.
These figures from the ONS mean it’s no surprise a helpline has been set up for mums and dads struggling with lockdown homeschooling. StarLine, manned by teachers and education specialists, provide resources and advice to parents who are feeling the weight of the pedagogical responsibilities that lockdown has thrust upon them.
Parents should also take comfort from the fact that teachers themselves don’t expect you to be able to act as a proficient replacement. Teaching is a specialised skill and, quite apart from that, “Children can’t be expected to be able to study full-time with online resources […] and parents cannot be expected to be supervising heavy school workloads,” according to National Education Union Joint-General Secretary Mary Bousted.
Top tips for parents who are homeschooling
A joint statement from the UK’s main teachers’ unions has asserted that neither teachers nor parents can be expected to adequately homeschool the nation’s children in the long term—so don’t worry if you’re struggling. These are unprecedented times, and impromptu homeschooling is never going to be ideal. Here are some methods and techniques you may not have actually considered yet.
Let them teach you
You don’t fully understand something unless you can explain it to someone else. Introduce your kids to this concept and let them experience the satisfaction of educating you in something they’ve learned. If your child sees you quietly listening to what they have to say, they are far more likely to then engage in their new ‘school’ environment.
Cut down on screen time
Breaking up the time your child spends on a digital device will help vary their routine, prevent boredom from setting in and keep their mind active. Consider books and other printed materials as alternative sources of learning, and encourage writing by hand. Be sure to also get them engaging in regular physical activities to keep them healthy and happy.
Set a routine
Make sure your child is dressed for the day and has eaten breakfast by 8.30. This will not only instil in them a healthy daily timetable but also keep them prepared to adjust when they finally return to school. Identify set times during the day when children will work independently and other times when you will be around to supervise, guide and teach. And finally, ensure you set a clear playtime, lunchtime and ‘end of school’ time, when they can feel free to do their own thing.
Make the most of online educators and education materials for UK Homeschooling
According to BBC Director-General Tony Hall, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to “the biggest education effort the BBC has ever undertaken.” Bitesize, the BBC’s education arm, has expanded its online resources to include daily lessons in a multitude of subjects. The new format entails six 20-minute shows every day for 5- to 14-year-olds, with over 150 new lessons added weekly. And if you’re looking for further inspiration for your lesson planning, the Government have listed an array of reputable online educational resources for home education.
What’s more, Minerva Tutors have been getting creative during lockdown. Every week, our online classroom Minerva Tutors TV is broadcasting two live classes from our expert tutors. Join in at home with science experiments, engage in some awesome creative writing and explore fascinating topics as diverse as volcanoes, spying and calligraphy! Your child can ask questions in the comments section and receive responses from the tutor, and every lesson ends with a helpful Q&A.
Everyone parent needs a little helping hand during these worrying and sometimes stressful times, and we are very proud to keep Minerva Tutors TV free during lockdown.
Need a little help with homeschooling? Look no further
More and more parents during lockdown are discovering the benefits of supplementing their own homeschooling efforts with professional online tutoring for an hour or two a day.
Minerva Tutors are amongst the best tutors in London, and can provide your child with exciting, in-depth and totally immersive online tutoring. This will free you up to focus on work and other commitments, but you’ll still be around to help them with the less demanding aspects of their curriculum.
Get in touch with Minerva Tutors today and, together, let’s help your child stay positive and stimulated—and help you retain your sanity! Simply fill in our contact form, email us at email@example.com or call or WhatsApp us on +44 (0) 2088 193 276.