Top tips for home educating

Home educator Sherry-Anne Halliday is here to help with her top tips for educating your children at home during school closures.

I hope everyone has gotten over the shock of the first week or so having their children at home – in most scenarios those who home educate electively decide to educate their children at home, however the decision has unfortunately been taken out of everyone’s hands.

Make sure to take time and space for you

Firstly, I’d like to reassure everyone that I don’t know of many people who home educate and don’t have the odd wobble – it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes, so it’s super important to make sure you and the children have some time and space when needed. Unfortunately this isn’t as easy as normal – our girls spend time at groups and with friends which now isn’t an option. Please don’t feel guilty letting the children “veg out” watching the TV or playing in the garden while you have a coffee and some head space. Everyone needs it.

Look for help and support

It’s quite overwhelming seeing all the resources coming at you from all angles. There is some fantastic help and support out there but trying to fit everything in simply doesn’t work. Therefore, if your child is registered in school, it is important to look at what the school has supplied to help.

Try things out!

I don’t see myself as a teacher, but a facilitator. I did well at school, but I don’t know everything. We personally follow our children’s interests and don’t have a timetable, however some children need structure and something to follow. Try a variety of ways and see what works for you and your family. Also, a teacher must teach something to a number of children at the same time. You are working with a better ratio of adults to children, so you can get through things a lot quicker than in a classroom environment. You may get through things a lot quicker than you imagined. If you get stuck, Google is my fail safe, and YouTube has a lot more variety than some people give it credit for. Better still, teach the children to research and find out the answer themselves, depending on their age.

Find resources that work for you

Although there are lots of online resources available, I do love being able to go back to workbooks as you can do them anywhere – Scholastic offer a great range which are linked to the curriculum, however I personally adjust to our girls’ level and choose what I feel they will enjoy without feeling intimidated. Having the children at home means you have the freedom to customise what your children are learning and when and have some fun with it too. Rather than just academic workbooks, let them read and enjoy fiction or non-fiction books and even read along with audiobooks to aid work recognition. There are supplementary resources available for free on the Scholastic Kids’ Club website to tie in with many book they have available. Plus, journals and learning to draw books totally feed a child’s imagination.

In summary, try to have fun. A child will only learn while happy and engaged, so feel free to take a break whenever you need. It’s hard for everyone at the moment, so just do what you can.

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