We begin this series of supporting your children with their schooling during the lockdown with the youngest end, the four to seven year olds in Key Stage One.
Whether you are still having to go out to work, working from home, or not working, supervising your children with their school work at home is challenging even the most skilled of you at multi-tasking. It might be getting to grips with the technology involved, especially if you have children at different schools all working on different platforms and systems. It could be a practical matter of finding the space for everyone to have a desk or a table from which to work on, so that you’re not all interrupting or distracting each other. Or, it might be the subject content itself. Teaching has changed since you were at school and helping your seven year old with their maths might be just as taxing as supporting your child with their A’levels and GCSE work.
Add to this, having to look presentable and professional for a conference call, without felt tip and glue down your shirt, or finding a room where you won’t be interrupted and can have the peace to think and be heard, and the current situation gets even more impossible. Welcome to the new normal of the very abnormal family life for many of us in the Lockdown Britain of the Coronavirus Crisis!
Having children in Key Stage One is probably the hardest age group because they cannot be left alone to work…at all. Also, they are beginning to pick up vital key skills that require sustaining and constant reinforcement and practice: reading, writing, number skills. Just your basic literacy and numeracy skills that will set them up for life. No pressure then!
For all ages… Structure and Routine
More important than ever is to have structure and routine in your day. This includes having breaks together, eating meals together and making the week days different to the weekend. A structure to your day will help children feel more secure in this time of great insecurity. It will also help them to be more ready to return to school once they do re-open.
Talking to your Children about their work
Talking about work is a great way to learn and this is the age when children most love to talk and ask questions. It is what they do with their friends and teachers all the time at school, both formally and informally, and it is difficult to replicate this in remote learning. As parents we can ask questions, ask them to explain what they are learning and share ideas.
Tips for Supporting your children with Homeschooling in KS1
- My son’s headteacher once said: “The first priority is for your child to feel safe and happy. Only then will they be ready to learn.” Young children may be particularly confused and unsettled by this period of change and uncertainty. Establishing a very gentle weekday routine will help to navigate the day and reassure anxious children.
- The typical attention span of a child is roughly three times their age, which suggests that the maximum time we should expect children in Reception, Y1 and Y2 to focus is twenty minutes. Try to balance activities throughout the day to ensure that your child has plenty of time to create, relax, focus and move. PE with Joe Wicks is a great start to the day and a complete hit in my house!
- Younger children don’t learn by sitting still and working quietly, so need lots of opportunity to learn through play and discussion. Lego, Play Mobil, dominoes, snakes and ladders, play doh etc. all create opportunities for learning, especially with an engaged adult playing alongside.
- Audio books are fantastic for exposing younger children to language and stories, whilst encouraging their imagination. Children could draw pictures to accompany the story, draw and label one of the characters, write an alternative ending, act out the story with their teddies…..
- There is lots of educational content on CBeebies iPlayer – ‘Numberblocks’, ‘Alphablocks’, ‘Maddie’s Do You Know’, ‘My World Kitchen’ to name a few. There are also plenty of family favourite films including ‘The Snail and the Whale’, ‘Stick Man’, and ‘Mr Stink’. Down time for your children and you is very important, so grab a blanket and snuggle down together!
Although it might seem like it at the moment, having your children at home won’t last forever. Soon they’ll be back at school, continuing with their education, so if you and they can find the time to enjoy this moment, and learn a few new things along the way, you will have done a great job.
For more guides and support, check out Student Navigator.