Written by Lucy Kelly, a creative mother of three whose family went into isolation two weeks before so has had a head start on the homeschooling front!
What are your top tips on making homeschooling a proactive experience for everyone?
My first tip is try not to recreate school or take on the role of the teacher – they have had years of training and experience and your children will get confused if you suddenly switch from “mum” to “teacher”. It’s also important to maintain the safe haven of ‘home’ as a place they can associate with relaxing and letting off steam. This is really important for keeping everyone’s stress levels down. That said, having a rough rhythm/routine can help them identify work from play time. Be clear about what you expect from them and let them know when a break is coming. Loads of breaks and getting outside as much as possible are key for children’s mental health during this time. After lunch we scrap pens and paper and head out into the garden for painting, gardening, foraging, PE, drama etc.
How do you make homeschooling work for your family and circumstances?
The schools are generally being incredibly supportive and sending through structured lesson plans but I find it nice to do our own thing where possible. It’s important to remember that everyone is on a learning curve and all doing our best, and we’re all under a lot of pressure. And whilst the curriculum is important this is also an opportunity to get creative and let them learn some other “life lessons”. TV is strictly off until the evening and a little bit before breakfast – but we are lucky as we have a lot of outside space and so if others want to resort to TV to help them through the day – no judgement! It’s about giving everyone – teachers, parents and children – a break and not expecting too much of anyone. The days are long and we are all now having to fill multiple roles for which we are not prepared.
At the end of each day I make sure they have a treat to look forward to. A family favourite at the moment is all getting in our super cosy organic kids robes before supper and enjoying a takeaway from somewhere the kids get to choose from.
How do you keep the peace and keep kids focused for homeschooling?
Pick your battles – with your children, your other half, and yourself!! Go easy on everyone. Also incentives – mine are allowed to chose a song to listen to when they get through a bit of work for the next session. I also have stickers which are awarded at supper time and medals on Friday!!!
Lucy also manages a beautiful two bedroom holiday cottage in Sussex with access to a swimming pool, surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty including the South Downs and Ashdown Forest (home of Winnie the Pooh!) and 30 minutes from the beach. The perfect family staycation within two hours of London. Click here for more info.