As if you don’t have enough on your plate already, lockdown meant that hundreds of parents across the globe had to add ‘teacher’ to their resume as well. Adding the task of teaching can be daunting for any parent, especially if you’re still lucky enough to work during this time. But it is possible to do it all. Here are a few tips and resources on how you can be a homeschool hero.
It’s important to have a routine
Set up a basic schedule and try to stick with it. Even if you don’t do everything at exactly the set out time, it is important to have some sort of structure at home.
Experts advise that no more than 2 hours should be spent on academic work for foundation phase learners and no more than 4 hours for secondary phase learners. “Limiting academic time to what is realistic.” Listen to the interesting interview with Bailey Thomson Blake (Chief of Schools at SPARK Schools) where she talks more on structuring your homeschooling day on CapeTalk here: https://www.capetalk.co.za/articles/380763/homeschooling-during-lockdown-how-it-works
Don’t be too hard on yourself or them
Everyone is stressed at the moment, so don’t sweat the small stuff. It will do more harm than good if the children are forced to spend hours on end learning or tuning into lessons online. Be flexible and remember no one is expecting them, or you, to write any major exams any time soon.
Set up a designated ‘school area’
Much like working from home, it is important to have an area dedicated to teaching and school work. Even if this means clearing the dining table and eating dinner in the living room for a while. This helps the child switch off from the stressors of academic learning when the time comes to be active or spend time with family.
Family comes first
You’re in each other’s space 24/7 these days, so it’s easy to think you’re spending so much time together. But how much of that time is actually quality time spent connecting and bonding? If it’s easier for you, you can even work it into the schedule for every day. Have a set time where the family will read together, play games together or just be together and focus on each other.
Contact your school for guidance
Your school should be taking measures to assist the children, and you, during this unprecedented time. Get in touch with your school or your child’s teacher if you need help or advice. And if you can, find out how you can assist any less fortunate families that don't have access to computers, tablets and fancy gadgets. Perhaps you can donate some data so that these children can access their schoolwork online or maybe you have an old phone or two lying around after a recent upgrade. Every little bit helps. Even though we’re physically distancing and keeping safe in our homes, we’re still in this together.
Enlist the help of an e-tutor
If you’re flooded with work, trying to keep you company afloat or just not coping with homeschooling, there’s no shame in enlisting help. Keep an eye on Facebook-groups or ask your school for recommendations, there are loads of teachers and students advertising their services while they’re out of work or have time to kill. The SA Homeschoolers website also has a list of tutors who are standing by to help.
Google is your friend! Here are some handy resources to help you get started:
- Smartstart - fun activities aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 5 years-old.
- Join the 21-Day Story Challenge and read or share a story with your family for 15 minutes or more each day.
- Have a look at the SPARK Schools Home Learning Portal to get an idea of a daily schedule for each age group as well as some great resources.
- BBC Bitesize Daily loads new programmes every day. Even though the curriculum over the pond might be different, there’s no harm in watching educational material presented in a fun and interesting way. They also have Daily Lessons for every year group.
- Visit the Department of Education website for online resources for parents, caregivers and learners in line with the curriculum.
Under Lockdown level 4 regulations stores are allowed to sell essentials pertaining to homeschooling and working from home. Remember to use your bsmart card when paying for these so that you can save towards your bonus while you’re saving the school day. Click HERE for a handy map of all our retailers.
If you need any information about the current pandemic please visit https://sacoronavirus.co.za/.