A guide to educating children at home during the Coronavirus

Home learning during COVID-19

This guide is for both parents of school-educated children and their teachers. Neither signed up for home-schooling, yet here we are. We are all making changes due to the impact of coronavirus on education. Jam-packed full of resources to make the coming weeks and months easier, for parents and teachers, this guide will enable you to feel confident that children’s learning is continuing, albeit in a different way.

This guide includes home learning resources for children in EYFS, KS1, KS2 and then KS3 and beyond during the restrictions on schools throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Focus

A core concern for parents and teachers is how to ensure focused learning in the home learning environment. With the additional challenges that families are facing, such as changing workloads, homeworking and self-isolation restrictions, it’s important that we address this first.

Children may also feel unsettled at this time. They are unlikely to be used to the same level of expectation from school creeping into their home where they unwind, kick back and watch TV in their PJs whilst munching their cereal.

How to help children focus when learning from home

Parents

  • Create a daily routine for ‘school’ days, making sure there are times for breaks and exercise. By creating structure, you reassure your child and help them know what to expect. 
  • Make a dedicated workspace, even if you have to set this up from scratch each morning. Make sure that your child is equipped with paper and stationery, all within reach.
  • Sit with them to begin with, helping them to get familiar with this new routine and process.
  • Keep your ‘before school’ routine, but adjust it to being ready to work at home.
  • Try to do some exercise before expecting your child to sit and concentrate. At 9 am on each weekday, Joe Wicks, a popular YouTube personal trainer, will be providing live streamed activity sessions for children.
  • Reward children for a job well done as this will help to promote independent learning, if you need to be able to work from home yourself.

Teachers:

  • Communicate well with both parents and children about expectations. There are a multitude of resources which will help make this easier. Educater’s Mail can help you here, and it integrates with existing ICT, as well as its reporting and tracking functions.
  • Check regularly that each child is on track, and communicate directly with them on an individual basis. Pick up issues early.
  • Consider the challenges of specific families e.g. Do they have enough access to devices? Are the parents trying to work from home? Does the child have parents who are key workers or who are ill? Adjust your expectations, and your approach, as needed.

Safety

The safety of home learning children needs to be considered and adjustments made according to the age of the child. If a teacher is concerned about a child’s safety during this time, then the usual safeguarding strategies should be followed.

Parents need to take particular steps to ensure that children are safe online. The NSPCC provides excellent online safety guidance for parents.

Limitations and opportunities

Learning from home is not the same as learning in school. Both parents and teachers need to adjust their expectations. This is particularly true should parents or teachers become unwell.

However, through excellent communication between parents and teachers, it should be possible to ensure a good level of education is delivered.

In fact, now can be the time to broaden a child’s learning beyond the curriculum, especially for parents. It may be that now is an opportunity to focus on teaching your child a range of other skills, such as resilience, mindfulness, budgeting, cooking, sewing and more.

Resources

Let’s dive in and point you in the direction of free and low cost resources to help with home learning during coronavirus.

YouTube

Don’t worry too much about screen time for the moment. YouTube is an excellent source of learning videos which will keep children engaged. This can prove particularly useful if parents are trying to work from home at the same time.

Channels to check out include:

Crash Course Kids (KS1 -2) and Crash Course (KS3+): covering science, history, engineering and more.

Sci Show Kids (EYFS – KS2): engaging science learning.

GEOgraphy Focus (KS2 – KS3+): head around the world, virtually.

The Brain Scoop (upper KS2 – KS3+): look inside the life of a museum and see history come alive.

Nat Geo Kids (K1 & KS2): discover the natural world in a fun and vibrant way.

KidsTV123 (EYFS & KS1): phonics learning through songs.

Art for Kids Hub (KS1 – KS3): get creative learning to draw all sorts of things.

BBC Teach (EYFS – KS3+): best led by adults, rather than leaving a child to self-discovery, but provides videos and resources on all sorts of topics.

Mr T’s Phonics (EYFS & KS1): amusing videos helping your child to master phonics.

Numberblocks (EYFS & KS1): fun and colourful videos focusing on early numeracy.

Mr DeMaio (KS1 & KS2): loads of different topics, but check out the times tables songs.

Happy Learning English (KS1 & KS2): excellent videos covering all sorts from circumference to digestion.

The Horrible Histories Channel (older KS1 & KS2): gruesome history with plenty of singing!

Free Printables for home learning

Reduce the amount of screen time, if you’ve got a printer to hand, by using these free printable resources:

Twinkl (EYFS – KS3+): get a month free, or simply download the free Home Learning Pack relevant to the age of your child. They include a range of activities including Maths, English and Science.

123 Homeschool4me (EYFS – KS2): An American site but plenty of free worksheets to print, covering a range of topics.

Twig Education (KS1 – KS2): popular for its science videos, it also has lots of free worksheets to download at the moment.

Primary Resources (EYFS – KS2): an absolutely bursting site full of printable worksheets covering every aspect of the primary school national curriculum.

The School Run (EYFS – KS2): a range of worksheets mostly focusing on literacy and maths.

Excellent websites and apps for home learning

These aren’t all free, but many are currently offering heavy discounts due to the coronavirus.

BBC Bitesize (EYFS – KS3+): linked to the national curriculum, there are interactive lessons, games, videos and more on every subject.

Oxford Owl (EYFS – KS2): online books for reading development, as well as maths games. There’s also loads of information here to help parents know how to support their children in phonics, maths, spelling and more.

IXL (EYFS – KS3+): interactive maths and English practice for all school children.

SpellingShed (KS1 & KS2): play with friends to improve spelling.

Duolingo (KS1 – KS3+): learn a new language, ready for when you can travel again!

Classroom Secrets KIDS (EYFS – KS2): interactive games covering spelling, grammar, maths and English.

Seneca (KS2 - KS3+): an excellent free ‘lesson’ resource for older children covering every subject, including 11+.

Squeebles (EYFS – KS2): enjoyable games covering things like times tables and spellings, suitable for all smart devices.

Your best is good enough

Lastly, for teachers and parents, we want to say this: don’t forget that these are unique times. Your best is good enough. The fact that you are reading this article shows you care about the education of your child or pupils and will be supporting them to the best of your ability. This is enough.

Educater can help facilitate an excellent partnership between schools and parents during this difficult time. What's more our customer service team are here and ready to support you. Get in touch on 0300 012 0001 to see how we can help.

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