For our children who so often compartmentalise their world into home and school, homework can be an enormous challenge – and one that belongs firmly at school.
So if you are struggling to do formal home learning with them right now, it is worth thinking about a sideways step. We are living through an unprecedented time.
It is ok to take a breath.
It is ok to throw formal learning out of the window. There are other ways you can practice academic skills:
Baking and cooking are both easy natural ways to incorporate learning at home, and putting your child in charge of the process is a great way to practice reading and maths. Children need to read and decode the instructions, measure out ingredients and check the time so that they don’t burn their food.
Watching a film can provide fantastic opportunities to make predictions, talk about the intentions of characters, discuss their feelings and actions – and to analyse their relationships. All incredible skills to practice, no matter your child’s age. And this way you can have a conversation about your child’s special interest without them even realising that they are learning.
For children who hate to read books yet love TV. Come up with a deal, they can have extra TV time each day, but instead of turning the volume up, have them read the subtitles. Ideal for those of you who are simultaneously trying to work from home.
Special interests are a great way in for reluctant writers, whether it’s getting your children to write a quiz for you as a family, or to produce PowerPoint to share with you. With younger children why not try teaching them to write the names of items related to that Special Interest.
For construction fans, Lego is a great way to problem solve and work on adapting to new situations. It can also be a fantastic tool for creating a story. Why not create several scenes and talk about what happens in each of them. You might even be able to convince them to photograph their scenes and create their own comic strip.
And remember there are things other than academics that matter.
Without the pressure of school, this is an ideal time to focus on those life skills your child struggles with. Whether it’s dressing, putting on their socks, tying their shoes, tidying their room or organising their belongings – it can be a challenge to tackle after a busy day at school.
Perhaps you want to work on getting them involved with cleaning the house, or maybe it’s the perfect time to work on chatting on the phone to friends or loved ones.
The key is to remember that as their parent, you know your child the best.
This is your time. You are allowed to decide what is right for them.
Schools will send work, but teachers are also happy to be flexible. We want to support families, not dictate to them.
So if school work is not working for you and your family, pick up the phone and talk to them.
Your child matters to them too.
They will understand x