Home School Survival: 40 Tips to Help During Covid-19 Isolation

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home school

We’re all in this together. Our children are at home with us, and with the exception of our gardens, we can’t go out. There are no play dates, no family gatherings. Just us. For a lot of us, this is Day 4 of home schooling – a daunting prospect at any time, but even more-so during these unprecedented and worrying times. But, you know, it’s ok. We can do this! We should embrace this opportunity to spend such a concentrated amount of time with our children. Yes, there’s school work. But there’s so much more too … do some baking together, let them help grow vegetables and learn about the wildlife in their gardens. Do whole-family sessions of the Joe Wicks workout (ouch, I ache!) Have TV suppers and play board games. Challenge yourselves to a difficult puzzle that can be worked on over several weeks. Try to have fun and enjoy spending the time together. But now that we’re all wearing a teacher hat, how do we tackle the weekly tasks our children are being set? I’ve asked our parent bloggers for some tips, which I hope will help you over the coming weeks. Keep safe x

  1. Don’t stress about schedules. Children learn in all sorts of different ways.
  2. Let them dictate their days. Children are infinitely curious and will tire of wasting their time quickly and start to seek you out: then is the time to try to teach them something while disguising it as fun or something you were doing anyway.
  3. Don’t panic and try to fill every second of their time, just go with the flow and see what they’re in the mood to do – hopefully not just fight with their siblings! Otherwise you’ll run out of things to do early on.
  4. Communicate with your child in an age appropriate way. They will be aware of the situation in varying degrees and will be missing their friends.
  5. Play is learning, if you’re able to set up toys in a fun way and set the scene, then sit down and play with your children for a few minutes; you will likely be able to sneak away to get a bit of work done while they play.
  6. Taking each day as it comes and allowing yourself to move to your own rhythm – don’t push or stress about get school work or house work done. Let everyone find their own space and place! Triage your life into urgent and important. If anything doesn’t fall into those categories leave them be for now and don’t waste energy stressing over them.
  7. Have fun and do something different! I did 20 minutes of Zumba on the Wii with a 10 and 2 year old. We all loved it 😊
  8. Take the children into the garden and give them a bucket of water and paintbrush to ‘paint’ the fence.
  9. Let children “help” around the house. You may have to do the task again but at least they’re learning. Mine helped strip and make the beds this week.
  10. Count your blessings not the negative things.
  11. Do something active at least once every day.
  12. Use this time to teach them life skills – repairing, gardening, cooking, sewing etc. They’re skills we’ll always need!
  13. Do a bit of yoga every day to help level them.
  14. Get them involved in helping a vulnerable person who is isolating. Ask them what food the person would like and add it to the supermarket shop. Help them learn why looking after others is important ❤️
  15. I’m hoping to teach myself and my kids a musical instrument. None of us can play and it’s something new to do. We are also going to plant some seeds and learn about the garden.
  16. Keep them in as much of a routine as possible and try and keep up with schooling. I went to Poundland and bought essentials for home ed and I used the World Book Day voucher to get a book for her to read.
  17. Make time for a 1:1 activity each day. Even if it is only 30 minutes.
  18. Don’t worry about what other parents are doing with their children, we all parent differently so we’re all going to ‘teach’ them differently in the next few weeks.
  19. Ask them what they would like to do and make a list – then every day, let them choose something they really want to do that day.
  20. Remember it’s okay to need time to yourself too. Stick the TV on or give them the iPad, and allow yourself some time to relax and recoup with a hot drink and a snack (that you don’t have to share!)
  21. Teach them kindness and empathy, both of which seem to be lacking in lots of the population right now!
  22. Get outside and have fun – even if it’s raining – and play some old school games such as ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ (My toddler LOVED this the other day).
  23. Make the most of your garden and outdoor space – simple things like planting seeds, a homemade obstacle course, a wildlife hunt and nature bingo are all great ways to encourage kids to stay active.
  24. Find fun, creative things to do. We’ve set up a daily photography challenge so he can learn about cameras, take notice of things around him in a different way and then interact online with other children to see what they’ve created using the same topic whilst we’re stuck indoors.
  25. As a mum of kids that never want to leave our home I am going to teach them the true facts of staying home all the time and getting a lot more help with the housework!
  26. Let them video call their friends. This is an incredibly disruptive time for them but how fortunate that they’re living through it with all the internet has to offer.
  27. Make sure you get some time on your own each day!
  28. Housework – between school, extra curriculum classes, homework, travel and downtime, they don’t appreciate the work that goes into keeping a house clean. Love them dearly but a spot of housework will help us all!
  29. Speak on the phone to friends – don’t just text or message. Hearing their voice and laughter will make you feel closer.
  30. We are living through a renovation with a newborn and our 5 year old will be off school but the expectation of structured days is likely to go out the window. Instead we are going to do a leaderboard with chores disguised as games to help kill two birds with one stone 😊
  31. Skype or face time different friends and relatives each day to stay connected. My kids aren’t great on the phone but faces on the screen help.
  32. The temptation will be to snack and graze all day long. Set a schedule of perhaps 11:00 and 2:30-3:00 for a snack and drink. This will add a structure to the day as well.
  33. Set a routine up similar to school life, as the kiddies are used to that and get them to create a timetable with you so they are onboard. Not just workbooks, dog walks, gardening, baking and definitely snuggle time 👏
  34. We’re painting and stickering cards to post to our elderly relatives in isolation.
  35. Patience! Children are just as anxious and worried about all this as we are. They will quite possibly react badly to being at home or a new routine. It’s normal to react to change like this and they need more patience and understanding from parents at a tricky time.
  36. Stickers and reward charts to keep them going and motivated. Never underestimate the power of a sticker!
  37. Don’t try to recreate a school at home. You can’t. Read! Read everything. Read lots. Read together! x
  38. Zoom or Skype group calls for both your kids with their pals and for you with yours. Staying social but safe is cool.
  39. If you home school, let them choose their own topics. This is the perfect opportunity to do some real deep learning, and instil a love of learning in the kids. And then asking them to teach you about the topic will further cement their understanding and create a bonding experience. Try not stress about their learning, they will catch up when they return to school.
  40. Mix it up – do some formal learning, some exercise, some ‘life skills’, some reading, and let them communicate and play with their friends online.

With thanks to:

Steph’s Two Girls, Brocante Home, A Cornish Mum, Mummy and Moose, Play & Learn Every Day,  Boo Berrit, The Media Mummy, The Next Best Thing To Mummy, The Incidental Parent, Mad Mum of 7, Plutonium Sox, Inspired Create Educate, Ankle Biters Adventures, Aboderie, The Knight Tribe, Miss Tilly and Me, Inside Martyn’s Thoughts, Mrs Shilts, PackThePJs, Best Things to do in York, Emily and Indiana, Big Family Organised Chaos, Verily Victoria Vocalises, Growing Family, Single Parent Pessimist, Raisie Bay, Adele Jarrett-Kerr, A Mum Reviews, Scots 2 Travel, Family Budgeting, Well I Guess this is Growing Up, Vale of Glam Mam, Kitchen Talk and Travels, Mummy Constant, Bright Side Blog, Cloth Bum Mum, Helpful Mum, New Mummy Blog, Mama Says, Wave to Mummy

Tracey is the Contributing Editor for Tots100 and Trips100. She also blogs at PackThePJs. Tracey writes mainly about family travel; from days out to road trips with her pet dogs, to cruises and long-haul tropical destinations. Her family consists of her husband Huw, a science and technology writer, Millie-Mae (13), Toby (11) and Izzy and Jack the spaniels.

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