Done well, home schooling doesn’t have to be less valuable or less effective than classroom learning. While the current situation is far from ideal, there are things that you can do to help support your child’s learning and improve their attainment beyond their lessons.
While all children learn differently, there’s a general trend that shows interactive learning, involving analysing, questioning and discussing, helps kids to learn better. When we’re all teaching our kids at home, that can mean different things to different people. For some, there will be access to gardens and countryside. For others it’s more about the home environment and interactive online learning. Here are a few top tips:
Read together and beyond the curriculum
We know that everyone is under time pressure. We know that there are more things to do than hours in the day. However, reading is not only good for learning, it’s also a great way to relax. The thing about reading together is that it’s a chance to veer away from the set curriculum and bring in books that you find inspiring too. As little as 20 minutes or half an hour of reading out loud together is a wonderful way to boost vocabulary, literary awareness, comprehension and reading skills.
Use outdoor adventures as a learning opportunity
Those of us with access to outside space have rediscovered the value of a good walk over the last 12 months. While a walk on its own is a joy, it can also be an opportunity to learn on the go. We don’t want to add more to the plates of overloaded parents, but just a little bit of planning can turn it into a short lesson in nature, the environment, geography or even history.
Choose educational toys
While you may feel there’s a little too much online learning going on at the moment, technology is a big part of our current and future working lives. There are some incredible toys and programmes out there now that are both fun and deeply supportive when it comes to education and skills development. For example, we have spoken before about Dot and Dash, bringing robotics and coding learning to the home classroom.
Take advantage of everyday activities
Whether it’s preparing dinner or baking that oh-so-popular banana bread that everyone’s become so fond of, learning beyond the classroom doesn’t have to be about preparing extra activities. It can be about the ones that are already in the schedule. Cooking dinner can become an exercise in maths, science and nutrition for example.
Children have a particular penchant for asking ‘why?’. While it can sometimes be trying, it’s not a habit to discourage. If you see an opportunity in the day to embrace a child’s natural curiosity, take advantage of it! For example, an evening glance at the night sky could become an opportunity for the whole family to learn a little more about space or the constellations!