Lockdown learning is at the forefront of most parents’ minds at the moment. Whilst schools and teachers continue to astound us, delivering online lessons and resources with very little notice and doing their utmost to cater to every child’s educational needs, it is still very natural for a parent to worry that their own child is missing out somewhere.
Lockdown learning takes its toll especially, I think, on WFH (working from home) parents who have to juggle their own workload with overseeing their child’s. Lucky those who have caring employers that allow flexibility or furlough. But what about those of us who still have a full day with no respite?
First and foremost – don’t worry (I know, easier said than done)! However much of their online learning your child can access, that’s great. They will, I promise, be taking in far more than you would expect and will become so technically competent that they will be showing you how to techhost your next Zoom conference! What you can do is provide them with outlets for their learning – tangible means of consolidating, or simply showing you, their understanding.
I go on and on about this whiteboard but it really is so very useful for your young learner. I use one myself when I tutor and bought one for my teenage daughter to scribble down notes during her online lessons. Use for workings out, planning, doodling (really, really important activity to aid listening) or simply drawing pictures – all children love a whiteboard and it really does save on paper! As it is magnetic, this board can also host a whole range of other lockdown learning resources!
Fiesta do a range of magnetic resources which can enhance your child’s learning. Young children, especially, get very engaged by magnetic words and numbers and take great joys in working out problems and creating literary masterpieces. I particularly like the fraction wall and times tables sets which work beautifully for your visual learners. A friend’s son loves to practise his writing on his whiteboard – he chooses a word from his learning list and they find the magnetic equivalent which he sticks on the board. He then copies it out in a variety of colours – big writing, small, cursive, capitals and lots and lots of pictures of the word! His younger sister (just learning her letters) enjoys these lovely wooden magnetic letters!
Some young people are struggling with the uncertainty of the lockdown situation – school brings them a sense of routine and structure which can easily go out of the window at home. Setting up simple routines at home which don’t impact on everyone’s working day can ease the situation.
I do love a calendar and this fabric version (again from Fiesta) is perfect for youngsters. Lots of schools and early years setting have the same one (something familiar is great for the little ones). Give your child ownership of the calendar – let them change the date daily. Take the opportunity to discuss how many days in that month, can they choose the following month. What is the weather like today? How different is it from yesterday? Encourage them to take all the days and months off the calendar and then replace in the correct order. Lots of activities which, when they become routine, will help your child settle into a learning mindset.
Someone asked me recently what I would bring from my school years into modern day schooling. Letter writing! Forget technological communication (put down that phone!) and bring back the good old-fashioned letter writing to relations and pen-pals across the world. Do you remember the weeks it took to find out what your *insert nationality here* pen-pal had to say about the important information you had sent in your last letter (usually something to do with the class pet or whatever your football team had done recently!)? I am still in touch with one of mine (in Italy) – over 40 years now! And we still actually write letters to one another and include photos and articles from magazines that we think each other might like.
In a society of instant gratification, teaching patience through waiting for a letter can only be a good thing!
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.
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