Hi, I’m Mark from Love Writing Co. Dad to Fleur (aged five) and Rex (aged nine).
I know a lot of parents are having to juggle homeschooling and work at this difficult time and, to be honest, I have found it no easy task, trying to be a teacher whilst also running a business.
Firstly I just want to thank all the teachers out there for the amazing job they do as even getting my two into a homeschooling routine has been pretty eventful! I have been trying out some useful homeschooling tips and I wanted to share these as they might make your homeschool journeys a little easier too...
1. Set A Routine - Not A Schedule
Setting up a routine for the day really makes a difference. It doesn’t need to be rigid but some sort of structure will help your child (and you!) know how the day will go.
This is what Fleur's day looks like. She enjoys knowing what is planned and I can fit my work calls/emails around the schedule:
9:00 – Circle Time (weather, songs, dance or of course...Joe Wicks!)
9:15 – Read Aloud
9:30 – Writing Activity
10:00 – Snack & Break
10:30 – Sensory Play/PE Activity
11:00 – Maths Activity
11:30 – The World Around Us (a nature documentary works wonders here)
12:00 – Lunch and Play Time
13:00 – Quiet Rest Time
The rest of the day is not that structured and involves arts, crafts, puzzles and cooking, for example we made fajitas so they learnt a few facts about Mexico and the benefits of healthy vegetables such as avocados and peppers that go into making a great fajita! And keeping it unstructured also frees up some time for my work as well.
2. Have LOTS of Play Time
Early learners need lots of play time. Learning through play is a brilliant way to teach kids and it’s fun for us adults!
There are many skills that are learned through play. From building with blocks which can help with maths to acting out a story as a way to practice reading.
3. Read, Read, Read!
READ all the time to your child. Read books and stories, comics and magazines and whatever else interests them and find ways to bring reading to life. We had an afternoon where we acted out the story of Roald Dahl's BFG and you can guess who was the giant! Rex read the book out aloud as Fleur and I acted out the scenes and it was so much fun making the connection between the book, the words and the actions.
4. Make Writing Fun
Kids love learning to write if you make it fun and easy. It’s the best brain workout your child can do. Download our free activity sheets and try them out. Our Love Writing Co. pencils are specifically designed for children and are much easier to use and control. Our Handwriting Practice books are full of fun exercises including tracing and colouring which play a vital role in building pencil control and as result writing ability.
5. Sing, Dance and Make Music
I haven’t met a child that that doesn’t love music. Sing lots of songs and dance when you’re starting the day, moving on to new activities or really at any time!
The human voice is the most affordable instrument after all and singing is one of the ways to bring music into homeschooling. I can't sing well but my dance moves certainly had the kids laughing and joining in!
6. Follow Their Interests
This is the beauty of homeschooling. You can take time to follow your child’s interests. If they are curious about animals, then take time to read books about them, make a sensory bin, do crafts. They will love learning when you follow their interests. Now is the perfect time to really get to know what they are fascinated by and see them excel in the subjects that interest them, you may be surprised at what you find out!
7. Learn From Other Mums and Dads.
There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Learn tips and tricks from other parents. I would love you to join us on our Facebook and Instagram @lovewritingco so you can connect with other homeschooling Mums and Dads who are all in the same boat as you at this time. Many are really connecting and supporting each other by sharing learning resources and also offering a friendly ear!
Remember you are not alone and we will learn the art of homeschooling together.
8. Have A Set Area
If possible, try to have a certain area for homeschooling. We have a spare room that we have converted into a ‘school’ room for our homeschooling time but the kitchen table is a great place too. We are trialling the idea of different “Workstations” which is popular in Montessori schools in setting up our little classroom. The kids can move between activities and you should also create your own space where you can work from whilst being involved.
9. Have Fun And Praise
We know that these are uncertain times but it’s also an opportunity to enjoy being with your kids. Have fun, smile, praise their work, showcase their achievements and be proud of how well they are working away from their school environment.
Don't put pressure on yourself as you do not have to be the perfect teacher and remember classroom teachers have to try to meet the needs of a large group of children, while you have the benefit of working with your child one on one.
With the help of these tips...and odd glass of wine at the end of the day, I am hoping the next few weeks of homeschooling will be a breeze!