Homeschooling…again

So here we are again. I had rather hoped to have a few more days offline, finishing the final edits on BOOK TWO and grieving the loss of my beloved grandmother but Boris had other ideas. I knew the second that schools were shut once more that my website hits would be rocketing, as we all desperately search for ideas to keep our kids busy, entertained and educated. If I listen carefully I can hear hundreds of kettles being clicked on with deep “give me strength” sighs, like a foghorn calling to me across the land! I jest of course, but I know that some folks find my ideas helpful when at home with kids and so I am of course more than happy to help. After all, it’s what I do innit?

So what’s new? Well not a lot. Another year, same shit. However here’s the thing. We’ve done this before. And when you’ve had experience of something before it means you’ve learned. What worked, what didn’t, what fits well with your family, what fails dramatically. Use WHATEVER you can take from the last homeschooling experience that worked and do it again. We will get through this, just like we did before. And just look, what you’re doing this time round is slightly different to last time isn’t it? The kids have moved on, developed, learned. They’ve done that in spite of EVERYTHING. They done that with the help of YOU (and their brilliant teachers too of course) so just remember that. Hold on to it. And PACE yourself. No point setting off all guns blazing…let’s ease into it.

I am setting our days up slightly differently for this lockdown so I thought I’d share it. I am using the CORE curriculum subjects (that I am also using to guide me through book 2 called Time for School) to work our schedule around. Every day we are doing one activity that focuses on:

Reading

Writing

Maths

Just one activity for each child is my target. If we do more, great. Now Ewan is currently 6 and in Year 2 and Florence is 4 and in reception. So I am more conscious than ever that PLAYING IS LEARNING. Especially for these ages. So my timetable will look ROUGHLY something like this.

9-10 Maths games or activities

10-11 Snack and playtime (they can choose any toy to play with, just not have screens on. I might set up something like Lego, Barbies, Play Dough for this depending on if I’ve found five minutes to do that or they can just play independently – more tips on that HERE)

11-12 Writing games or activities

12-1 Lunch and playtime

1-2 Reading games or activities

2-4 Outside play / screen time / playtime – this is when we might do things like baking or potion making or have an early Gelli baff or popcorn and a movie etc. but quite often it’s when ipads go on and I get stuff done.

The activities we do for reading, writing and maths (if nothing specific is set from school) I will share on my Instagram and Facebook stories and often on my social media pages, but they will all be from my first book probably or can be found on my website. They won’t fill the whole hour. I mean, occasionally they might but I’m expecting 10/15 minutes of Florence doing something and Ewan perhaps 20-30 minutes. After the activity they might continue to play with the stuff that we’ve been using or move on to the next thing or just free play.

A few examples of activities and games for each:

So for READING we might play STEPPING STONES, or SILLY SOUP or TARGET PRACTISE with words for Ewan and letters for Flo. We might just read books together or listen to audio books.

For MATHS we might do SPIDERS WEB, or the CAR TARGET game, or TOY TOMBOLA. Or we might play with maths counters or counting items and toys we have or do activity books or worksheets.

For WRITING we might do practising letters in a tray of shaving foam, or playing CODE BREAKER or write letters to people we know to go and post. My OWL POST game is one I’ll definitely get out again.

There are HUNDREDS more ideas in my book – linked here and each page has tabs down the side to help you know what the games are good for – writing, speech, maths, fine motor skills etc. But like I said I will share many of them on my social media pages too, and I have done before so you can see them saved on my Instagram highlights reels or by searching through this website.

I have another blog post on how I structured our days before in case that is helpful which is HERE. I might well do themed weeks again if I can summon the energy, but to be honest like a lot of you this whole thing just seems so damn tiresome doesn’t it? I also have a blog post on how I prepared last time, if you’ve decided not the bother with homeschooling next week and start on Monday like lots of people I know are. I have an Amazon Shop (I am an affiliate which means I earn a tiny percentage of every sale that goes through it) here which has a list of the supplies I am stocking up on now to get me through the next 2 months or so.

I also have an ideas bank which is HERE and which I will attempt to update shortly. I also have a blog post on VIDEO CHAT GAMES to keep in touch with those we love online and by making it a game so kids don’t just wander off after two minutes of chatting to grandma! Not forgetting my post on getting siblings of different ages playing and learning together – click HERE for that.

Finally my book is now also an AUDIOBOOK! I know, it sounds strange doesn’t it but I re-wrote a lot of it so it makes sense and it includes exclusive content so if you fancy plugging that into your ears on a walk so you can return brimming full of easy ideas, then the link for it is here.

Will my kids be sat in front of ipads for an hour at a time – yes. I am so bloody grateful for them. Me and my husband both have jobs. If you’re trying to juggle it all you’re amazing. This is NOT easy or even really POSSIBLE. Have you figured out the hours? Homeschooling and working is asking you to work 23 hours a day according to the awesome Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka. I mean. Come ON! We aren’t all trained teachers, and even those that are are finding this incredibly hard too. It’s just not how it’s meant to be. So forgive yourself, speak kindly to yourself and know that doing your best is more than enough.

My fall back if I do absolutely NOTHING else is to read with my kids. To them, with them, just read if you can manage nothing else. Oh and daily fresh air even in the bleakest of weather is good for us all. There’s a reason outdoor play is on the curriculum all year round for early years. So tog up and get out if you can. Oh and btw – Cadbury’s creme eggs are back in the shops now. Just to let you know…!

6 thoughts on “Homeschooling…again

  1. Just wanted to say Thank You five minute Mum! You’re like a beacon helping us parents who are stumbling around in the dark at the moment!

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  2. Hello,

    Thank you very much for this email. My New Years resolution was to come off social media so I am so glad you are still sending these out.

    It has promoted me to relook at your great book for all the ideas, as what has changed since the last lockdown for some of us is that previously our children were nursery aged and now they are in reception, so this is the first time we are doing the home schooling proper! Really appreciate the ideas to try and keep a young toddler entertained at the same time as this is one of the trickiest areas so thank you!

    Just now need to work out balancing out my job as a social worker with it all lol! my daughter is in school three days a week (school hours) so helpful and I am luckier than some but no wrap around care available and I work 9 hour days – so no more evenings and weekends for me! But the way you put it into small achievable chunks is great, and somewhat easing my guilt!

    Best wishes

    Laura

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