If parents had to sum up 2020-2021 with one word, homeschooling could well be top of the list. The COVID-19 pandemic saw schools in the United Kingdom close multiple times, with many parents and carers having to quickly adjust to taking on the role of teacher.
Between 7 May and 7 June 2020, 87% of parents said a child in their household had been homeschooled because of the pandemic, with a large portion of these parents having struggled with the daily tasks involved in this additional responsibility.
Some parents, however, have been homeschooling long before the pandemic, making the personal choice to take their child out of mainstream education. Whether this is your own situation, or you want to prepare should the ongoing pandemic promote you to teacher once again, here are ten essential items you need.
1) A dedicated desk
It’s fundamental that your child has an appropriate space to work – the dining room table isn’t really ideal. A proper desk will help them to separate school life from home life and make it easier for them to focus on learning.
2) Art supplies
Don’t underestimate the power of letting your child explore their creative side. Art can help children deal with feelings and emotions, which is great for personal development. Investing in some basic art supplies is an easy way to facilitate this.
3) Work display area
Nothing motivates a child more than showing them that what they’re doing truly matters. Create an appropriate space within your home to display your child’s work – it could be a noticeboard, the fridge, or a folder which you keep in an accessible place.
Who said learning had to be boring? There are so many toys out there, like ride on cars, which can help your child develop and enhance their motor skills. Not everything can – or should – be taught at a desk.
5) Whiteboard and pens
This piece of equipment is perfect for letting your child think out loud, especially when it comes to maths. Whatever they write or draw can be easily erased, ready for a new calculation or task.
Regardless of whether homeschooling is the norm for your family, or a temporary set-up due to the pandemic, journal writing can help kids process feelings and develop communication skills. Provide them with a journal and encourage them to record their daily life; you might also like to give them some prompts to help them get started.
Children need to be rewarded, especially if they’re going through something as exceptional as being homeschooled. To encourage good behaviour and celebrate great work, incentivise them with their favourite toy, snack, or treat. Another great way to reward kids is to give them your time and attention, whether that’s via a fun family day out, a movie night, or simply hanging out together without the distraction of chores and screens.
Particularly useful for parents who are homeschooling more than one child, headphones allow kids to truly immerse themselves in their work. Headphones are especially helpful if they need to watch a video or join an online meeting with their teacher or class.
9) Library card
Whether you’re homeschooling your child out of choice or force, there’s no denying that it’s very hard to match the number of books that a school has. Getting your child setup with a library card will mean they still have access to a wide range of resources.
10) Treats for yourself
Homeschooling can be tough on the kids, but it can also be tough on you! It’s important to make time for yourself during all of this, so don’t forget to give yourself a little treat or a rest on a regular basis. Doing this will make you much more effective at homeschooling, and help to keep the atmosphere at home more calm and positive.
Do you have any clever tips when it comes to getting setup for homeschooling?