Preparing for homeschooling… again!

Remember that crazy family who headed off around the world with their kids? 

That was us! Now we’re back and have been for 2 ½ months.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and I’m a little sad it’s ended – although I’m happy to be at home right now.

I had always imagined my first blog post would be about returning to the Isle of Man but actually a few friends (including Gef) asked if I could give some friendly advice about homeschooling.  

Apparently managing to world school our boys for 20 months and have their teachers say they are doing well meant we smashed it!  

Ok, it wasn’t easy but I learnt a few things along the way.

Rather than telling you what I did, this post will be about what I plan to do, having learnt some lessons myself along the way.  I hope it might help you too!

Parents are teachers… NOT!

Basically, you’re not… You haven’t trained to be a teacher, you are a parent and you want to create stability, love and understanding.  If you find yourself fighting with your little darlings all day, then something isn’t working. Find what works best for you!

Personally, I know that without some kind of structure my kids go a bit feral!  And that’s fine, so I’m going to be implementing a rough timetable.

I can tell you that we did the calculations and managed an average of 2 ¾ hours of IXL learning each WEEK while we travelled.  The rest was taught along the way.

So please don’t overdo it and remember:

  • Some days it will go quite well

  • Some days it won’t

  • And some days will be a complete disaster! 

But don’t fight it – just have another go tomorrow.  

 

Preparation

For me, preparation is key. I am a little bit of a control freak though. 

I know that both myself and my boys function better when there is some structure. 

Whilst we travelled, it was a bit more relaxed and so we would set the boys longer periods of work when we were settled and could plan a timetable.  While we were travelling it was pretty difficult to be honest and we didn’t do a lot.

I want to stress here that this timetable should be adaptable.  I think it’s good to have structure but I found it important to explain to my kids that sometimes things change and that’s ok.  My eldest tends to struggle with this the most exclaiming ‘But you said….’ Etc…

For most of you I imagine that you will also be attempting to work from home – eek!  Double header indeed. Therefore, allocate an area away from where the kids will be to ensure you also have a chance to get your work done.  I found if I was too close to them my name would be called out every 2 seconds. They need to learn to have a go themselves before asking for help.

Snacks

I send my boys into school with a fruit snack every morning.  I’m going doing the same thing and putting it in the fridge for their morning snack.  They are kids and they will be bored and looking for a distraction, so keep the snacks to a minimum if you can.

Equipment

I’m going to lay out everything they will need (pens, paper, pencils, rubbers, colouring pens etc..) at their ‘workstation’.  This could be a desk, the dining room table, the coffee table etc… 

Get them involved

What do they want to do? How can you incorporate that into their learning? Let them have a say.

IXL

For those of you who might not be as organised or have a printer then the IXL app is a great option.  To be honest I’m going to renew their licence as the boys did some great work on here.

You will need a device to be able install the app and for the kids to be able to complete tasks.  Some are trickier than others. The boys have been frustrated on a few occasions so there may be times you will need to help.  Don’t worry there is an explanation on how to complete the tasks.

The cost for English & Maths is £12.99 per month for 1 child, £14.99 per month for 2.  You then have a separate profile for your kids where they log on and do the work appropriate to their age group.

Here’s the link. – https://uk.ixl.com/

 

Their timetable

My boys are aged 9 (year 5) and 11 (Year 6) so they are fairly competent in much of what they do.  Therefore, I know I can give them a task and they can usually get on with it. You need to consider the task you give your children if you don’t want to be hassled every 2 minutes. 

I have also assumed I will be working from home and so need the boys to be fairly self-sufficient in order that I can get my work done.

Here is what I expect my homeschool day to look like, just pick and choose what suits you.

First pick a topic:

Egyptians, Greeks, Victorian times, Harry Potter, Fairies, Goblins, Space, World War II, Around the world, the environment, secret agents etc…

9am – 9.30am – Keeping fit

  • Joe Wicks – kids PE lesson via the body coach YouTube channel.

  • Cosmic Yoga

  • Andys wild adventures on Cbeebies

  • Harlequins hockey club have some sport challenges (check out your local club for some challenges)

  • Icue academy (local football academy) have some videos to improve your football skills

  • Diversity has some free dance lessons on their webpage.

9.30am to 10am – Spanish

We’re using DuoLingo or watch Steve Backshall (Wednesdays) – check out his You Tube channel.

10am to 10.45am – Maths

Twinkl is a great resource and at the moment is offering free worksheets but as an alternative you can look at these apps:

  • Sudoku

  • TT rockstars

  • Slumdog

  • Hit the button

  • CBBC have some games too

  • BBC Bitesize Maths games

  • Card games (you can get solitaire card games) or read below for some solitaire games you can play

  • Counting money or set up a shop and selling items (maybe use your creative time to make or find things to sell)

  • Draw a map of your street

10.45am to 11am – Snack time and fresh air!

11am – Lunchtime – Creative time

This could include:

  • Drawing

  • Colouring

  • Painting

  • Lego (set a task to build something specific)

  • Collages

  • Making shapes out of foil – animals, people… anything!

  • Cooking (or if they can’t cook on their own, see if they can measure out what they need)

  • Making masks using paper plates or card,

  • Drawing a shield

  • Origami (make a fortune teller)

  • Making a sword (try and relate something to your current topic),

  • Making play dough

  • Building a den

  • Learning a magic trick & performing a magic show

  • Cleaning the car

  • Jigsaw puzzle

  • BBC Bitesize Dancemat for touch typing

  • Listening to David Walliams’ audio book

Lunchtime – 1.30pm – free time

1.30pm to 2pm – English

IXL or Twinkl provides a great reference point with lots of free resources. 

Things to consider: 

  • Word searches or an app called wordscapes (for older kids)

  • Crosswords

  • Writing your own comic book

  • Writing your own story (look up story mountains for planning them out)

  • FindIn and writing a recipe you like – focus on the layout and presentation – make it pretty!  You can always follow this up with a cooking activity.

  • Spellings – I found www.tes.com to have some free lists per year group.

  • Writing a book review

  • Scavenger hunts – make a list of items they need to find around the house or garden

  • A-Z listS – write the alphabet on the left and get them to fill in either animals, food, countries, sports, films, sweets etc…

2pm to 2.15pm – Snack and fresh air

2.15pm to 3pm – Creative/Topic work/Science

  • Topic – ideas and examples to follow shortly!

  • Science – The scouts have a great page or research “at home science” ideas

  • Gardening – we are setting up a vegetable patch. 

  • Create a time capsule

  • Make your own homemade games

3pm – a quick 10 minute diary.

Get the kids to write down their thoughts, feelings, what they did during the day…  write or draw.

FINISH FOR THE DAY!

 

Looks busy doesn’t it…. but their ‘learning time’ isn’t very long and this is meant to be a guide.

You could also include some reading time into your timetable.  I haven’t as my boys always read first thing in the morning when they wake up and before they go to bed.  They actually want to read! If you don’t have many books then Henry Bloom Noble library has an e-book service which you can access but you probably need to set this up ASAP.

REMEMBER:

Learning should be fun, well not always, but if you can make a high percentage of the day fun – then the learning becomes easy!

Good Luck Parents! You can only do your best!

Marie

One thought on “Preparing for homeschooling… again!”

  1. Wow marie firstly well done you for writing all of this down it’s very helpful thank you for sharing 😉 your doing a great job gal ;-)) cheers Angie (fargher) xx

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