Switching to home learning is a task that many of us have had to endure over the last 18 months. It is difficult on everyone involved. The children miss their friends, sometimes struggle with adapting to learning in a different environment and not having the normality that they are use to with going to school each day. It is also difficult for the parents who are now in new territory, teaching their children and trying to keep them motivated and on task.
Having normality is important for children and with all the changes happening, trying to keep some there will help them. Let’s look at 5 ways to keep some normality in the day during home learning.
1.Set meal times
When the kids are at school, they are used to having their set times for eating. Recess, fruit break, crunch and sip and lunch are daily occurrences. When you are home schooling, using these set meal times can help them to feel like they are in a real school setting. You could even set their lunch out each day in their lunch box, or even better allow them to organize it and chances are they will enjoy it that little bit more.
This can also help with not over eating. If your household is anything like mine, it seems that we are just eating and eating because we simply can. Our wallet and grocery bill will be thankful.
2. Wear their school uniforms
Another way that you can help your kids to feel like they are at school and help them be more motivated to do their work is by having them wear their uniforms during the day. Keep to the weekly routine, and wear sports uniform on sports day. Enjoy a laugh and suggest they wear tracksuit bottoms, no one will ever know during the virtual lessons!
It can help them to realise that they are meant to be in school and doing the work in front of them. It can also excite them and get them motivated to work.
3. Let them have their play time
At school, after the kids have finished eating their recess and lunch, they get time to go outside and play. Make sure you are still giving them this opportunity and not expecting them to do school work right through the day. They would usually be able to roam around the classroom, so after each task enjoy a ‘brain break’.
Not stopping their work can cause them to disengage, become frustrated and tire out to easily. Let them stop, have a run around outside and release all their built up energy that they have from sitting and working.
4. Use a planner or timetable (but be flexible!)
By being able to see the tasks that they have to do for the day in front of them, it can help to keep them motivated and wanting to work.
Make sure you include their recess and lunch breaks and times that they are allowed to go play. It is however important to be flexible (an advantage of home schooling) and acknowledge that things may not necessarily go to plan.
Having the day’s overview will help them focus on the different tasks as they know that they have a break coming up and will help them to produce better work. Having a reward at the end of their learning day also seems to work well.
5.Start at normal school time
Another way to help them get into the swing of things and have a little bit of normality is by starting the school day at home, at the same time that they would start at school.
It may be that they are able to finish a lot earlier than 3pm (as there isn’t always enough work to fill a whole day) but by starting at their normal time (9am in most cases) it means that once they know breakfast is finished and gotten dressed, it is time to start working.
It is a lot harder to get them motivated if you wait until 12pm and they have had a chance to play and find better things to do than school work (and we don’t blame them!)
These are just a few of our tips that we have found have helped during the home learning experience.
And remember, there will be times that things don’t go to plan. It could be that you have more work zoom meetings than normal, a doctors appointment to go to, or have siblings in the mix. Or, it could simply be that one of you just needs a mental health day.
If any of these things happen, take a breath. Give them a few minutes and talk about the next steps.
Home learning is tough on everyone; there may be meltdowns and moments from everyone. Take it one day at a time. If one day doesn’t go to plan, aim for the next day.
You’ve got this mumma!
Come along and join the Australian School Mums where we chat, discuss and share what works for us. We'd love to hear if you have found any tips that have worked for you!