In these dark days, we’re seeing a lot of unsung superheroes emerge. Well, it’s time some of them got the attention they deserve. More and more schools are closing every day due to coronavirus. This means that some parents get to homeschool their kids.
That’s making them realize just how hard teaching is and how teachers deserve a lot more respect than we usually give them. Bored Panda has collected some of the finest teacher appreciation tweets on the internet, so scroll down and see if you agree with them.
Be sure to read on for our in-depth interview with trained primary school teachers Tom Rose and Jack Pannett about homeschooling advice for parents!
Some schools are hurrying to adapt to the Covid-19 outbreak and establish a way so that students can learn via the internet from the safety of their homes. In the meantime, a lot of parents are finding that it’s up to them to keep their children’s minds honed. That’s difficult to do in the best of times, but now some kids are cooped up inside all day long and overflowing with energy.
Bored Panda spoke about tips for parents who are homeschooling their children with London-based Tom and Jack who are trained primary school teachers, run a sports coaching company, and a podcast about improving children’s well-being.
We wanted to find out whether they recommend that parents do everything the way their kids’ schools did. “With the shift of learning coming fully away from school and into your home, there are definitely some things we recommend trying to emulate. Both a suitable workspace and a daily plan are going to be important to agree upon before any learning takes place.”
“You could begin this discussion by asking your child to explain their usual school day. This could then be followed up with the question ‘How would you design your best learning environment at home?’ Tom and Jack pointed out.
“However, trying to fully replicate the ‘normal school day’ along with equal lesson timings, is something that we feel is probably unnecessary. If your children are learning new information online or filling out worksheets, we would suggest that they have a ‘movement break’ at least every 45 minutes in order to maintain good health and give their brains time to re-energize.”
The duo also suggested that parents stick to “short bursts of work throughout the morning, planned into a specific routine.”
“This way they could then be let loose on some ‘open projects’ in the afternoon that they are particularly interested in.”
However, what should parents with teenage children do? “The majority of schools will be setting work for their pupils online. But will they actually do the work? In order to ensure that your student is staying on task, we suggest that you ask them for transparency.”
“One method would be for them to tell you what they are due to do before you go away and do your own work. After an agreed time, you can return to check in with them and ask them a variety of questions, such as: ‘What did you find interesting,’ ‘What have you learned?’ and ‘What did you find challenging?’ Tom and Jack explained.
“Additionally, setting both younger and teenage students tasks that have parameters narrow enough to guide, but aren’t too tight that they restrict, will be really useful in allowing them a sense of choice and ownership over their learning.”
They continued: “We suggest giving them open projects in the afternoons, asking them to show their findings to you however they wish, maybe even a presentation for the whole family! This way, you can monitor their progress and they can practice their communication skills.”
We all know that structure is important for children. But some parents aren’t as good as others at establishing rules and routines. What are they to do? Well, Tom and Jack suggest that parents start preparing and agreeing upon tomorrow’s plan the previous evening: “It all starts the night before.”
“This allows the morning to start off on the right foot without wasting time,” they told Bored Panda. “When trying to establish this new routine, there are potentially lots of different variables that could make it challenging too. These could include fitting your work around their learning, including time for meals and finding the right balance between allotted learning and relaxing time.”
“We find giving the children a choice and including them in the discussion to be really useful,” Tom and Jack pointed out. “Try and include them in the design of your daily routine and be ready to compromise! Whilst they need guidance and help with structuring their day, they will also have an idea of what works for them and what they’re capable of.”
The duo also encouraged parents by saying this: “Your best is always enough! You do not need to be harsh on yourself or your children; this is an amazing opportunity to assist them on their learning journey, embrace it!”
“Whilst some children love school, this isn’t the case for everyone. This is a chance for you and them to try and rekindle their enthusiasm for learning, without having to worry about the lessons being too fast-paced, comparing themselves to their peers or worrying about pending exams, or tests.”
Tom and Jack also gave some further friendly advice for parents on Sky News about how to keep their kids healthy, happy, and learning while schools are shutting down.
According to Tom and Jack, parents should be realistic about their capabilities and prioritize the core curriculum. That means lots of English (yay!) and Maths (yuck!). “There are lots of ways to cover the rest of the curriculum and you can get creative with these, for example, watching Horrible Histories or Blue Planet is a great way to cover some of the humanities,” they said.
“You don't need to reinvent the wheel. There is an abundance of free online resources, as well as those that your child's school will probably send you. Instead, prioritize and plan what you're going to cover, and do your best to execute your plan. Like any new job, the first few days will be about finding your feet.”
The teacher duo has further brilliant ideas about engaging your child and helping them love their new school at home. That involves having your kid come up with the school name and design its badge. Also, be sure to discuss what you’re going to be teaching your child and set some firm school rules. That might mean not using phones during class for some!
Lastly, what’s very important is creating a proper morning routine. Children crave structure! That way, they’ll focus on learning during the day and won’t worry about not being able to play video games.
If any of you Pandas are teachers or are homeschooling your kids, we’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments below!