With almost all Scottish pupils unable to return to school due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic, most families find themselves working on ways to keep their children’s education going at home. Here @forgeshopping we understand lots of parents will be looking for ways to keep the kids entertained as well as continuing with their learning. As well as some useful products from some of our ‘essential’ retailers selected by @josiesmithmedia, please have a read at our 5 top tips from Tom & Jack on how to keep your kids engaged, learning, healthy and happy if they have to remain at home instead of at school because of the pandemic. Tom Rose and Jack Pannett are qualified teachers and sports coaches and run an activity business that helps children learn – find them on Insta @tomandjack.co.uk
1. Plan and prioritise: The core subjects
If you’re not a teacher by trade, give yourself some realistic goals – trying to conquer the whole curriculum is probably going to make you and your child anxious (especially if you’re juggling your work and this new teaching role). There are lots of ways to cover the rest of the curriculum and you can get creative with these, for example, watching Horrible Histories or Blue Planet is a great way to cover some of the humanities.
2. Opening your new school!
Starting with “why” when working with children is key. It helps the children understand the purpose of the task and enables them to understand why they’re being asked to do it. Each household’s “why” will be different: it could be “because when we go back to school, we need to be up to date with the learning,” but just make sure you don’t use “because I said so”, or “you’re grounded!”
After starting with “why” we give the children an element of choice: we’ve found this to be a brilliant motivator. An immediate decision they could make is to give their new school a name and design its badge. Include your children in the discussion around the different topics you cover and when you’re going to do so. Now you’ve managed to get your new class on board, it’s time to set some school rules. This could include phone use, use of calculators, rules on talking over one another and reinforcing the “absolutely no children in the staff room” rule. Ever!
3. Fresh start: Establish routines
Children AND adults react well to structure, especially a morning routine. Get out of your PJs and put on your new school uniform (joggies!?) Try to design the learning schedule together and if possible, allocate a specific workspace for your new class – their new classroom. This way they can primarily associate this space with their learning and will find it easier to switch off when in other areas of the house. To try to maintain some links to their usual school experience, consider setting break and lunch times. You don’t need to install a bell for this, but if you’re feeling lavish, a whistle will suffice. Make sure you take into consideration any of your work commitments that may affect this if you aim to align your work with their learning time. If you can co-ordinate this time with other “schools” (families), the children could regain some of the social elements by communicating with others and having some virtual playtime.
4. Tips on teaching core subjects
When you were at school, who was your favourite teacher? Remember them? Even if you can’t, this is your opportunity to be THAT teacher. Try to see it from your child’s perspective: this will shape a lot of your decision-making and allow you to optimise their learning experience. Champion progress. Fortunately, your class is small. This is a great opportunity for your children to not have to compare themselves with their peers. Instead, they can focus on doing their best and beating their own scores. A great way to monitor progress and understanding is by flipping the classroom dynamic. After you’ve covered a topic, swap over the pupil/teacher roles and get the children to teach you what they’ve learned. A good teacher is reflective. (Stubbornness is different to being firm. If things aren’t working out, don’t be harsh on yourself or your class.)
5. You can’t pour from an empty cup
As you will find out, teaching can be a stressful job. It’s not the cliche eight-week-holiday dream that you were mis-sold by the careers adviser. Staff and pupil well-being is now in your hands! The school canteen needs to have brain healthy foods where possible, such as fruit and veg, lots of water and avoid sugar. Exercise is something should take place early in the school day to get your class energised, but not fatigued. A good teacher also leads by example, so remember to put plans in place to take care of your staff too. Take time to relax, have a varied and balanced diet and partake in physical exercise.
ASDA Helix Cool Curves 9 Piece Geometry Set WAS £3.25 NOW £2.75
This maths set in two colourways, blue or pink. It’s a plastic case: clear lid and charcoal base, one hanging hook is attached to the back of the case. Contents; Ruler, set squares and protractor to be printed in black. G05 compass, 3.5″ black hexagonal pencil with silver Helix logo, plastic sharpener, white eraser with Helix logo in black colour, 7″ black hexagonal pencil with silver Helix logo, dome-end and sharpened. (Each design sold separately, products and designs may vary from those pictured.) Product code: 5809388
ASDA Pen & Gear A4 Expanding File WAS £3.00 NOW £1.50
Keep all the kid’s paperwork organised in one brightly coloured place with this A4 Expanding File. It comes in an assortment of colours – black, pink, blue, orange and green. Product code: 5723615
ASDA A5 ‘Oh Candy’ Project Book @ £1.50
This book comes as a wiro with 80 Sheets 75Gsm lined paper. It comes In 4 assorted colours. Get the kids absorbed in their own personal homeschooling project – let them choose a topic that genuinely interests them, and let them study that topic in-depth. You could include a presentation or a talk of sorts that they themselves have to carry out. Product code: 5723603
Poundland Peg Board @ £1.00
Poundland’s best-selling peg board and accessories is back in stock and is perfect for helping to organise your workspace at home!
Poundland Storage Cube @ £2.00
It’s time to tidy! Make sure you’re making the most of being inside by keeping your space organised! These simple £2 storage cubes are available in white and grey.
P.E with Joe Wicks is back! > https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ
Lockdown Learning with the BBC > https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zvryp4j
BBC Scotland Learning > https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0934ly5
Can’t get to the countryside? Reach it online! > https://www.countrysideonline.co.uk/back-british-farming/education/