It’s been quite a frightening time recently. Lots of children are now finding themselves with a lot more time at home and parent’s might be in a quandary about how to manage that.
We will be taking the first few days in isolation to decompress from all of the scary Coronavirus chat in the playground and for us that time will be filled with lazy mornings, playing with toys and a good helping of TV.
But what next? When that calm returns to your home and you’re facing more time with your children that ever before? How you cope in these times is entirely personal to you. I know for us, that time needs some structure and as much routine as possible. While schools are closed or people are isolating many parents also have to fit in some home working. Having some set times throughout the day where the kids are busy might help.
I have put together the following timetable for my family, it strikes some balance between academic learning, exploration and play. As well as daily opportunities to get outside and alternatives if the weather isn’t on side.
Of course, teachers train for four years before they venture into a classroom and even then it’s with guidance. Let’s be realistic about expectations on parents during this time. It’s not expected that you will suddenly manage and plan outstanding lessons or that you will juggle a full days teaching commitments alongside your own working from home. This is something I’m currently struggling with myself and I’ve been teaching for over 10 years!
The typical school day doesn’t consist of 5 hours of high focus and ‘seats on bums’ and learning at home shouldn’t either. Small children need to learn in small chunks. Summer is 6 years old and I don’t expect her to manage any longer than 20 minutes of a set activity. Also I don’t sit with her for those 20 minutes because it’s unrealistic and children don’t have an adult leading them each step of the way in class. I will do a short input where I explain her task, we discuss anything new or confusing and I might do some examples. This is modelling, it allows her to see a final product and shows her what I am expecting from her and then I leave her to work through as much of it as she can by herself.
Your child’s teacher knows them well and should have set some level of work that’s appropriate to their level of ability. You’re not expected to be writing terms plans or incorporating 13 Maths outcomes into a week of lessons. That being said I have still found myself at times writing daily schedules for every member of our household to try and keep track of what we are all doing and when and there are simply are not enough hours in the day.
I love to write lists, there’s something very satisfying about crossing items off of a list. One of the ways I’ve found it easier to manage Summer’s school day from home is to list her activities;
3 activities for Maths, 3 activities for Literacy and 3 more activities which incorporate her topic work, PE and a host of other learning areas.
If this is something that might help in your home you can download it for free here
Don’t forget that social isolation doesn’t mean you have to stay inside and the government have recommended we each get outdoor exercise once a day. It will benefit everyone to get some fresh air so venture outside. Often in the hustle and bustle of busy life we don’t notice amazing walks right outside our own front doors.