Back To Homeschool

Words by Quintessentially Education

18 June 2020

Lauren Williams (@laurensupertutor), a full-time professional tutor, has extensive experience teaching students from all over the world across a broad range of subjects. Holding a dual degree in French and Russian, her experience tutoring has taken her across the globe and helped in supporting students gain entry to top UK schools, including Eton College.

A voracious reader—especially of children’s and young adult literature, for which she’s happy to share recommendations—Lauren is a passionate advocate for wildlife and the environment. As students continue to acclimate to homeschooling, she generously shares some of her tips with parents to make the most of this new time.

What should our new daily routine look like?

Wherever possible, try to follow a regular and predictable routine. You don’t need to replicate the school timetable exactly, but a clear schedule will help children to stay focused and engaged.

Try involving younger children in devising and decorating their own weekly timetable to be displayed at home. Likewise, reward charts work very well as motivation. Each task can be ticked off as you go along, or for older children hold an ‘end-of-day review’ where they show you their completed work across their subjects. Once all tasks are ticked off, ‘school’ is finished for the day and laptops, iPads and books can be packed away until tomorrow.

How long should my child be working for each day?

Periods of 30-50 minutes spent on academic tasks (depending on the child’s age) should be alternated with short breaks and creative activities. A suitable timetable might include 50 minutes of each English and Maths in the morning, separated by a break for a snack and some fresh air, then topic work, reading and creative time in the afternoon.

Children do not need to be ‘working’ solidly all day for them to be learning—playtime with siblings, discussions with parents and downtime with a book are all important too.

What are other useful activities aside from home-learning at the computer?

By definition, children will now be spending more time at the computer as they receive and submit their schoolwork online. It is crucial to counter this with technology-free breaks and activities, such as art, fitness, cooking, board games and other forms of play.

Including a ‘surprise’ section in the timetable once a week could prove exciting and motivating when any number of fun activities could be planned. Maths games are quick and easy to integrate into the daily routine—try reciting times tables every time you climb the stairs or invent fun dice games that suit your child’s level. Even involving children in everyday life at home can be used as a learning opportunity—have them help you with calculating timings, measuring ingredients, or the budgeting for shopping.

What is the most important thing to accomplish with my child during this time?

If your child can use the extra time at home as an opportunity to read more frequently, then it will be time very well spent. Reading, whether together with an adult or independently, should be included as much as possible in the daily timetable. Even listening to audiobooks counts as a useful activity.

Children’s authors have been quick to offer their assistance; many are releasing daily stories, creating writing tutorials and other resources across YouTube, Audible and Instagram Live. All of these are great ways to inspire your child, instilling a love of books to motivate them to read further and even write stories of their own.

For more suggestions or to enlist the help of a tutor, please contact Quintessentially’s Education department.

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