As someone who passionately believes in the power of parental engagement to transform children’s outcomes, this COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity for all of us. I know it can feel daunting to suddenly and unexpectedly be in charge of home learning, so here are some easy guidelines to follow that may make it easier:
1. Remember that you will never replicate the school day, nor should you try to.
The school day is made up of a vast array of activities aside from the formal learning that takes place in the classroom. Children socialise, play and engage in a variety of activities that ensure the day is balanced, fun and intellectually stimulating. A home learning environment is different; we have to take into account the fact at the moment, there may be several family members present, other stresses and strains and competing priorities. The one thing we can replicate is some routine in terms of sleeping and waking habits. Getting the children up around 8am and ready for a little bit of learning by 9am is a great goal.
2. Get organised.
A positive home learning environment means parents and carers value learning and are prepared to take steps to ensure that there are spaces for children to learn. This may mean that the kitchen table is cleared every morning ready for books, pencils are sharpened, and rubbers and rulers are at the ready. It may mean working out an agreed mini-schedule of learning activities (the night before) that children can do with you, and alone, up until noon each day. Children need a visual representation of what might happen next, so make that your focus.
3. Start small.
All of us have been jolted out of our normal routines. Be easy on yourselves. Unless the school that your children attend have sent home a prescribed ‘to do list’, start home learning with a focus on Maths and English. My Year 6 son enjoyed 30 minutes of his Achieve SATs Revision Online Maths Programme this morning, before moving onto some practice papers. He particularly enjoyed the sense of progression he was making through the different topics (rated with stars) and I like the way in which there is a choice to be made within the resource about level of difficulty. Encourage your child to relish a challenge and work towards the trickier material. Praise them for their effort and persistence.
4. Remember that they can teach you too.
Invest in a little whiteboard and give your child an opportunity to teach you something that they have been learning about in school. Watch as they morph into ‘teacher’ and reveal both their subject knowledge and high expectations of you the pupil. Ask interesting questions and see if they know the answer. They might surprise you! By giving children this role, it empowers them and adds a little boost to self-esteem at a time when their confidence may be rattled.
5. Remember that learning isn’t just about exams.
Ok, so some exams may not be taking place now. This does not mean children are on an early summer break. We don’t want all that previous study to go to waste; sustain it through regular practice and routine. Keep up the graft, as it sends an important message to children: school isn’t just about passing exams, but about building up our knowledge and enjoying learning for learning’s sake.
Although SATs may now be cancelled, you can still prepare your children so they are ready for Year 7 with our Achieve SATs Revision and Achieve SATs Success Online. You can now download a FREE 90 Day trial of Achieve SATs Success Online.
We offer the only revision resources that show children how to answer questions, helping children develop their understanding of key topics. We have also consulted with subject experts at every stage of developing the materials to ensure the content is just right for year 6 pupils. Our 3-step approach of revision resources, question workbooks and practice papers ensures children feel ready for year 7 – the next step in their learning journey.
Find out more about Achieve SATs Revision and Achieve SATs Success Online.
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, Dr Kathy Weston
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