Social media is already flooded with memes about suddenly waking up to find out you’re now a homeschool teacher. Here are our top tips for surviving until schools reopen!
- Be realistic.
If your child was at school, they would NOT be spending from 9am to 3pm learning solidly.
There’s the time they spend switching classrooms between lessons, break and lunch, settling in at the start, and packing up at the end of each lesson…. And that’s before you even mention the ‘chatting to their friends’ time during lessons!
If you can get 3 focused ‘blocks’ of learning out of them, you’re winning.
Remember, you are NOT their teacher. They need you much, much more as a parent right now.
The best plan is to get them to recognise the need to do some kind of work, and set their own schedule. Independent learning is one of the most important skills they should be developing during this time off, so please don’t try to turn home into school. It won’t help anyone.
2. Find online tutorials.
Yes, school may be sending work home, but there will be things they need to learn, not just revise. While some of this may be in textbooks, that’s probably not going to be your teenager’s preferred option.
There are plenty of great YouTube channels by teachers. You’re much less likely to have a fight on your hands when you tell your teen to study if that involves watching YouTube!
3. Give them something worth learning.
If your child hasn’t started their GCSEs yet, then they could probably focus mostly on the core subjects (English, maths & science), alongside learning some new skills.
If they have started their GCSEs, use this time to cover content from their own subjects (make sure they get the right exam board though, as content can vary). The specifications will tell you everything they need to cover, provided you’re willing to do a little digging…
Despite schools being closed for a chunk of your child’s learning time, the exams are still probably going to have to cover all the content they would have done normally. That’s because schools have already started teaching the content, and everyone does it in a different order.
If your child can keep on top of their studies until schools reopen, they’ll stand a much better chance of outperforming their less diligent peers in the final exams.
If you want to find out how to take advantage of this for your child, check out our membership options – we’re here to help!
If your child has had their final year cut short, they should be using this time to focus on the next step of their journey. If that’s post-16 education, then they should carry on studying the subjects they plan to take next year.
A-levels are a huge jump from GCSEs, and can often be quite a shock to the system for students, even without having a 6 month break!
They can also be using the time to learn new skills that will benefit them in the future.
- Learning to touch-type will speed up future essays & coursework.
- An online course could help prepare them better for the job they want.
Education is about more than just numbers on a piece of paper.
- If you want to make them a timetable with their own subjects, use the free revision plan generator here: https://www.parentguidetogcse.com/revision-planner-home/
4. Help them find a project they love.
They’re going to get bored being stuck at home. (Yes, even with schoolwork to do.)
If they can find a project to do that they have chosen for themselves, and actually care about, they’ll be motivated to do it. It’ll mean much less nagging from you too!
They could learn to code, and build an app or a website.
They could learn to cook, and take some of the pressure off you.
They could take an online art course and develop their drawing skills.
There’s a course for pretty much everything online somewhere!
5. Make sure they take care of themselves.
Exercise is going to be trickier while stuck at home. There are plenty of fitness videos and apps they can use if they are up for adding it to their daily routine.
If they’re a more reluctant type, then you could introduce exercise by stealth – challenge them to create their own videos of some dances from TikTok – it’s a fun way of getting moving (and they’ll learn lots about video editing too!).
They also need to build in some (virtual) social time. School is usually the place where they see the most of their friends, and they’re going to need to be able to stay in touch with them. They can use Facetime, WhatsApp or even set up a conference call as a group with Zoom.
6. Lead by example
Teenagers will get pretty stroppy about being ‘forced to learn’ if they are watching everyone else at home lounge around in front of the TV all day…
If you’re working from home, this won’t be a problem. If you’re not, then try to build in learning a new skill yourself – that way they can see that it’s a normal thing to do (and you won’t get bored).
7. Give them a break
This is going to be a strange time for all of us. It’s weird enough at the moment as an adult, so take a minute to try and imagine all this plus the usual teenage issues. Ouch, right?
Give them a bit of space, and don’t take it personally if they snap at you.
Try to talk openly with them about how strange you’re finding it too, so they know it’s ok to talk about their feelings. They may be adult-sized, but sometimes they still just need a hug.