How to turn home into school as we self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak

Making home schooling fun
Making home schooling fun

School may be out but lessons won't be stopping any time soon

That's the message for thousands of Lancashire youngsters who are having to settle down to converted classrooms in their own homes.

And, while parents and carers are getting their heads around the work packs sent home with the kids, there are plenty of ways of making sure the youngsters are occupied and learning.

This can range from marking out different areas so younger children can work in as structured an environment as possible, such as using the garden for PE , a separate desk to sit at for core subjects while older kids need their own space to work from, but not the bedroom.

Some parents have prepared timetables and put signs up around the "classroom" or put up displays to make home seem more like a proper learning environment.

One former teacher has suggested lessons of no more than 15-20 minutes for the under 10s and 30-40 each for the over 10s

There is plenty of advice online, with BBC Bitsize recommended by most schools. Organisations such as Rosetta Stone are offering free support, lessons etc and

https://adventuretravelfamily.co.uk/2019/08/22/100-brilliant-homeschooling-resources-uk-many-are-free/ has complete weekly timetables for primary school children plus activities for all age groups while Mashup math (@mashupmath) is rolling out free worksheets.

And while Joe Wicks is offering free PE classes every morning, former Countdown star Carol Vorderman has made her online maths tutorials, The Maths Factor, free for primary school children.

Here Nicola Anderson, head of customer support at leading online tutoring service MyTutor - has these tips to reassure parents how they can help their children learn, while keeping their homes a happy place:

1. Set good habits around phone use and have honest conversations

Teens spend a lot of time on apps speaking with their friends anyway - and isolation will only increase their desire to communicate socially. While some communication will be positive for their mental health, the opposite is true when social media fuels feelings of isolation and anxiety. You’ll need to set some ground rules for how phones are used during the day and make sure to have honest conversations with them about their mood.

2. Organise your days (and make sure to go outside!)

Without the structure of a work or school day, and without the engagement of peers, motivation and energy can take a dive. Create a timetable that’ll work for both you and your child, covering their subjects and your own workload. Divide up periods of work and study with active breaks. Make sure that you and your child keep active, go outside, eat meals at the appropriate times and have offline conversations.

3. Look for online support

Self-study is an incredibly hard skill to master and secondary school pupils may struggle without someone actively explaining concepts to them. If you feel unable to help your child study while also dealing with your own workload, it is worth finding an online tutor who can help your child fill in any gaps in their knowledge. Online lessons are like having a face-to-face skype call with a tutor but with an interactive whiteboard on the screen too so students can upload documents and make notes. A tutor can keep students on track with the syllabus and give them a much-needed boost of confidence in what is a confusing and challenging time.