March 13, 2020

Learning at home - Importance of Structure and Routine

This is such a tricky situation for parents. Some are fortunate enough to be able to work from home and spend some time with their kids, others have to go to work and worry about childcare arrangements. It is so tough. And sadly, the children who need the help the most, have parents who certainly aren't reading teaching blogs! I keep thinking about children I encountered over the years before I started teaching in my current school, when I was subbing in the city centre. Those children came to school for attention, for food, for a break from reality and to feel safe. Some had parents who abused drugs, some had parents in jail, some had all sorts going on. So what happens when they don't have school to go to, or when there's no-one to ease their worries or fears about this virus? They are so vulnerable and need school so badly. So fingers crossed this won't go on for too long.

I digress, this post was meant to be about setting a routine for your child if you are at home with them.

First, I would advise setting up a study space. Again, I am thinking of past pupils who would really enjoy setting up their nice pencils and paper and the novelty of working from home! It may just be at the kitchen table, but having their own little space is important.

Have set times for the children to do their work, maybe it'll be in the morning when they are at their freshest. Always start with the least favourite or more difficult subject- we always do maths, Irish, English first! Save art and projects for the afternoon! And if you are not inclined to do any work with your child, that's okay too! At the very least though I would suggest reading books or giving your child a good novel to read.

Consistency and structure are key for any child to be able to focus, concentrate and learn so keep that in mind if you can.

Once they have the school work finished, there''s a number of activities here which will keep them occupied:

Make Easter cards for friends

Write a postcard to a friend in another country!

Make a potion

Make homemade bubbles!

Do some gardening

Card games

Play board games

Create your own story book

Make a den

Sort out toys and maybe pack some away for charity.

There's lots of ideas here too:

Some children may be very anxious over all the hysteria surrounding this virus, I know I feel quite anxious myself! Try be mindful not to discuss it too much in front of your children, or not to have the news on all the time as this may cause more alarm.

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