Some guidance for teaching at home
We wanted to add some helpful tips which may help families in these unprecedented times. We hope you find these useful. Please do contact your child’s class teacher via e-mail if you need any further advice: they will get back to you when they are able.
How do teachers cope with 30 children? I’m struggling to teach 3!
OK – so teachers have lots of training so if you’re finding things tricky, don’t judge yourself too harshly. There are many strategies that teachers have to master in the first few weeks of teaching. Here’s a few…
- Establish a routine. Plan what time your learning day will start and finish and how long break times will be. Children are really used to this. We would encourage you to call this ‘home school’ time.
- Keep resources organised. Clear a space somewhere in the house and encourage children to take responsibility for collecting and returning resources.
- Use praise far more than criticism and reward effort over achievement. Some phrases you may want to use…
- Well done – you tried so hard!
- I’m so proud that you kept going at that task!
Many families will set up reward system to replace the dojos they get at school. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You may want to consider having a reward jar for the family rather than individual children to encourage them work together rather than compete with other for your attention. Different things will work for different families.
My child is stuck. How much help should I give them?
This is a tricky question because there’s a balance. It’s OK for a child to be stuck in the short term. Encourage children to think in a different way to try to find a solution. That said, it can be frustrating for a child if they don’t understand the task or don’t know where to start. Encourage children to say which bit they’re stuck with so you can work out how best to help. Essentially the help you give should enable them to be independent if they were to do the task again.
I’m trying to get my child to write but they say they don’t know what to write. How can I help?
When we write at school, we always make sure that everyone has plenty of ideas before they start. We would discuss ideas for a good 10 minutes if not longer before putting pencil to paper. Even after this, some children still need a first sentence given to them to get them going. If you have a really reluctant writer, you could take it in turns to write sentences.
How do I manage different tasks for different children at the same time? Especially when I have to do my own work as well!
Thinking ahead will be vital in managing different tasks for different children. There are some tasks each day which children should be able to complete independently. That’s important time for adults to be get on with what they need to do. We have tried to help by making maths tasks similar each day. For example: everyone will be doing money at the same; length at the same time etc. There is nothing to stop older siblings from teaching younger siblings – it will be good for them to recap their own learning. Although we would suggest trying to complete the more academic tasks in the morning when children are fresher, you may need to swap things around. In general, we would say older children are more able to tackle academic tasks in the afternoon than younger children.
Help! It’s all going wrong!
We all have this feeling sometimes! We would recommend taking a break before things get too heated and set a timescale on the break. You might want to say something like – I think we all need to take a quick brain break. Let’s do something else for 10-15 minutes and then come back to this when we’re a bit calmer. Keeping your cool is important teaching strategy.
Ultimately, the home tasks are suggestions. You could also go to the useful websites list to find some alternative learning for today or find a family task to do.
I don’t understand the task. How am I meant to teach it?
If you’re not sure what the task is, there a number of strategies which could help.
- Use the glossary page if there’s some education phrases you’re not sure about.
- E-mail the class teacher. Remember, they may not be able to reply straight away so try a different task in the meantime.
- If you’re using Google to help, make sure you add ‘UK’ to your search. America often uses similar but different terms and they often pop up first. E.g. in the UK we call them pictograms; in the USA they call them pictographs.