The Education Blog

Insight News 14th July, 2020

Making home schooling work for you

Enjoy Education makes the news!

Did you catch our Founder & CEO, Kate Shand, chatting to Victoria Derbyshire on BBC News? Kate was offering more tips on how to make the best of this opportunity to be at home with your kids.

Tips and tricks to create a working environment in your home

In this article we looks at ways you can make homeschooling work for you. Just as the current global circumstances are unprecedented, so too are the changes we’re having to make to our work-life activity. Whilst challenging, it is not impossible, and we might just find ourselves profiting from this opportunity to be more flexible, adaptive and open-minded about our familial work/ life balance in the future.

Households can co-exist in a way they have not existed before and finding or creating a favourable workspace within your home is integral. Identifying some characteristics that you know enhance your work productivity will be helpful. When deciding on the location of your workspace, some important features to consider will be;

  • how will you divide up the space per individual?
  • a comfortable workspace is important – some modifications may need to be made to meet the needs of multiple people in the household. Consider dressing tables, kitchen tables, counter tops and side tables – ideally spaces which will not have to be disrupted.
  • take advantage of natural light. Multiple studies have unanimously concluded that it enhances concentration and creativity; each of which are integral to work and learning efficiencies.

To make homeschooling work a routine is essential and will make this time far more sustainable, perhaps even enjoyable! The standard work or school routine will lend itself as a proven example or familiar foundation to work from. For children, one can use the school timetable to format each day and ensure that all subjects are addressed. If this sounds overwhelming, consider it a blueprint and make adjustments accordingly before each day starts. Additionally, consider the dress code. Encouraging children to wear a version of ‘school uniform’ will optimize productivity and create more separation between the ‘school’ day and relaxation time. Games kit might be a comfortable compromise and save on ironing!

Lastly, it’s important to consider when your work day will start and end, incorporating an unchanging morning, lunch and afternoon break each day. Working for long and unending stretches of time will lead to stress, frustration, distraction and/or exhaustion. All of which can be avoided with a pre-arranged game plan!

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How to adapt children’s routines to learn in a ‘flexible way’

Whilst balancing their own work flow, no parent can be expected to mimic the school environment at home. It is important to embrace and take advantage of the new environmental changes which have occurred. Parents will have to remain flexible with children of varying ages.

Whilst a secondary school student is usually able to take ownership of their learning and is able to work largely independently, a primary school student will need more support and guidance. Different learning needs and varying interests of children will need to be addressed.

However, with some resourcefulness, a single activity can be beneficial for multiple ages. For example, gardening and cooking are activities which can span a number of different age groups and the value add is you can do this together and get through domestic chores.

Schools will be doing their best to support students next term however, some schools will do this better than others so it is useful to keep the end goal in mind: what do each of your children need to know by the end of the summer term? And then you can work out an education plan to get there pulling in resources and support from school as well as ideas of your own and other educators out there. In schools, due to large classes, it is impossible to tailor a single student’s education according to their interests and strengths. However, this period of time gives us the opportunity to do exactly that!

Despite the limited access to the outdoors during office and school hours, it is important not to underestimate the many benefits that come from spending time outdoors. Whilst respecting government guidelines, we should capitalize on the opportunity to exercise each day now our routines are more flexible.

For primary school students, outdoor play will support the development of their imagination, resourcefulness and problem-solving skills. For secondary school students and adults, taking the time to be outdoors each day will promote a sense of well-being that is nurtured through a more healthy and active lifestyle. Simultaneously, studies unanimously identify a strong positive correlation between exercise and learning efficiency. Physical activity enhances the levels of oxygen in the brain which assists with our ability to focus and helps combat negative and disabling emotions, such as stress and anxiety.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

The importance of continued education throughout exam cancellations

The government announced last week that there will be no public exams this summer. Following that, the Department for Education (DfE) and the Secretary of State for Education released further details on how grades will be awarded.

Not only is continued education important to students who had planned to sit official exams in the Summer, it is extremely important to the mental well-being of a person at any age. Young people thrive off achievement, and achievement is integral to our cognitive, social and emotional development. To halt the education process, due to the current circumstances, will disable the many benefits that come from consistent learning and the ability to take pride in one’s achievements.

Though there are clearly a number of challenges ahead, this time can still be hugely beneficial to all household members. It is important that parents take the time to look after themselves so that they can lead by positive example, thinking carefully and creatively about how best to adapt and thrive in this new environment.

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