Our first day of home schooling

Today is the first day my boys' schools are closed and we have been told to expect a long closure. They could be away from school until September, perhaps even longer. As a mum to a 15 year old and a 10 year old, and someone who had never even considered home schooling this is a scary prospect. But, as with everything, I'll be planning and researching and trying to teach my kids while still getting work done - not an easy task I'm sure. As a writer I like to share my world in words and so if I can muster up the energy I'll be keeping you up to date (occasionally) on our home schooling adventures.

How to start

Like I said, I'm a newbie to home schooling and I'm sure if we were doing it officially things would have to be quite different but for now I'm winging it.

Our First Day Of Home Schooling | It's a confusing time but we've got to try.

Start as you mean to go on. Set up a schedule, show your kids a timetable. Let them see how long they're going to be doing something and more importantly when they'll get a break. I mean, let's face it, your kids are going to be wondering how long they need to keep you happy before you'll cave and let them play on the Xbox right? But if they can see what the timetable is, when they'll get breaks, and maybe even what you expect of them, it could make things easier.

If you need an idea of the kind of schedule or timetable I'm talking about check out the daily schedules for students aged 4-18 one on Khan Academy. I won't be following these strictly, partly because it's for Americans, but it gives you a good idea of where to start.

Subjects to cover when you're home schooling

The government website has lots of published documents revealing the kind of things they expect children to be able to do by a certain time. They set out work for Primary education and Secondary education and even have lists of spellings for Primary (Years 1-6) children. I had a quick look, and rather than search through pages and pages of government requirements I decided that my boys will already have work and organisers from school and we can use those resources to help us in our study at home. Don't get me wrong, if I needed to I would read the national curriculum requirements but right now I think it's more important to spend time educating my children.

Our First Day Of Home Schooling | Write yourself a plan and try to stick to it.
Think about it for a minute, and write down your ideas.

Your children's schools have probably sent work packs home and that's great for the children to work through but I'm guessing it's not going to be nearly enough to keep you going. Using their work pack and the Khan Academy schedule as a starting point I made up a timetable for my youngest - you can grab a copy of the timetable if you like.

So we'll be covering English and Maths, Reading and Writing, and he also has Purple Mash log ins and Timetables Rockstars. These are great resources for practicing maths. There's also a section for Topic work and in this we were given the instruction to choose a topic (my youngest chose Space) and to work on the topic. He has to write about it, learn about it, draw pictures, make assumptions, basically anything he can think of. It's a good way for him to express opinions and research his ideas - it gives him a little freedom during his school day.

Take breaks regularly

We all know kids get bored fast. They do something for a little while but they're soon wanting to move on or do something different and that's why I'm suggesting having plenty of breaks. The breaks don't need to be hour long walks or anything like that, just 10 minutes could do it sometimes, but be sure to have consistent breaks every day. In my timetable I've got a couple of breaks in the morning as well as Lunch and another break in the afternoon. 

Our First Day Of Home Schooling | Get outdoors when you can. Social distance yes, but get outside.
Enjoy nature when you can.

Get the kids outdoors as much as possible - don't forget when they're in school they have outdoor playtimes so even if you have to go out and kick a football around for 20 minutes  - DO IT. Kids have lots of energy and running around for a little while helps them blow it off.

Don't stick to rigorous schooling

As you're home schooling you don't have to stick to the usual reading and writing stuff. You don't have to make your kids sit at a desk and learn how to spell 100 words. 

Take the opportunity to talk to them about topics you like. Let them listen to educational podcasts. They could even watch Horrible Histories - this is an educational TV series and very entertaining, even for adults. My youngest loves it and the Hubby and I often sit laughing at it, so I'd recommend.
You may think you don't know enough to be a teacher to your children but you'd be surprised how much they can learn from you. You're an adult after all - you've had to work hard to get where you are and by talking to them about your daily life you're teaching them about living in the world.

Don't stress

If you feel like it's all getting a bit too much take a break. The stress of the whole situation is bad enough so getting stressed about trying to home school your children will be too much. Don't overload yourself. Do what you can. 

As parents we tend to be hard on ourselves but we do our best and home schooling is just another thing on the list. Do your best, as always.

Our First Day Of Home Schooling | Get a cup of tea and chill out if it all gets too much.
If it all gets too much take a break and have a cup of tea.

High five to all you home schooling parents - we're in this together so let's help each other out where we can. If you have any questions about the things we're doing at home let me know and I'll try to include it in my next update.

What are you doing to take on home schooling?

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