Welcome to day 4 of ‘7 Questions for 7 Experts’, Goumbook’s guide to navigating your way through the challenges of life in lock-down, dedicated to bringing positive and supportive information during these difficult times.
Welcome to ‘7 Questions for 7 Experts’, Goumbook’s guide to navigating your way through the challenges of life in lock-down, dedicated to bringing positive and supportive information during these difficult times.
As we settle into this new rhythm of remote work and isolation, we ask one expert every day to help us address specific questions we might need help with.
The world has plunged into uncertainty due to the Coronavirus and the constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless. Self-isolation as well as working from home whilst attempting the precarious daily challenge of home-schooling kids can take its toll on our mental and emotional well-being.
It’s day four of our advice pieces, and nearly one billion students around the world are into week four of home-schooling.
Some experts believe the technological innovations teachers are using may lead to a more lasting change in the future of the schooling system. Others are now questioning the difference between being educated and being schooled. As many are facing economic challenges, with pay cuts and job loses, might this be the beginning of a new wave of educating our children away from the constraints of an expense laden institution system? Home-schooling has never been something I have investigated for my 3 boys so these weeks have been quite an eye opener in terms of patience and practicalities.
Read on to find out how Isabelle Gallagher, who chose to home-school her 4 young children, manages their day to day schedules and shares some great advice on maintaining consistency. As always, we welcome your feedback, connect with us and others by sharing your stories.
As always, we welcome your feedback, connect with us and others by sharing your stories.
Eco regards, be safe and practice patience! ommmmm!
1/ How do we set up the best place for learning, what would you recommend? Should it always be at a desk or could it be outdoors?
A conducive learning environment is very important it should be away from distractions like loud noise, the TV, not on the bed where you could easily fall asleep; a place where you can effectively do worksheets or read, etc. A good idea is to have a dedicated space for learning so that your child’s psyche is immediately prepared for “learning” during your home-schooling hours. For example, when they enter a playroom, your child would know that it’s playtime, but when they sit on the dining table (if this is the home-schooling desk), then they would immediately know it is time for learning. The desk is not the only place for learning of course and it will really depend on your child’s learning style. Allowing them to have some control over their space is also important i.e. let them arrange their pens and learning materials.
The beauty of home-schooling is, the sky is the limit when it comes to the methods; so long as the child is essentially learning, then you are home schooling! A lot of home-schooling curricula are actually focused on the outdoors and the natural world so taking lessons outdoors can be equally as beneficial.
There is no formal setup, so long as there is some kind of effective dialogue happening. There is a misconception that the outdoors is for outdoor learning only. Outdoors, you can teach mathematical concepts, phonics, physical education, the sciences, heritage studies, etc. The key is to be away from any kind of distractions.
2/ Would you recommend to keep a weekly calendar of tasks and a strict schedule? Or can we deviate away from this and still achieve results?
Yes, more for your sanity than theirs. For them, it is better for their sense of control and empowerment. Home-schooling does not mean micro-managing. You also empower your children to take control and navigate the day depending on their pace, their strengths and weaknesses as well as their interest level. Empowering them will really encourage them to be independent learners who actually have a natural love for learning.
Another beauty of home-schooling is having the flexibility to work according to your child’s pace. There may be days when your child is progressing well with the lessons, and other days when they may need more breaks and encouragement in certain subjects. It is important to create a schedule as a reference or guide, thus giving your child a sense of control and confidence in shaping their day. In the same way as routine is so important to a growing child, so is a schedule to a learning child. But again, feel free to work according to your child’s pace and have room for surprises, or holidays, or days off! It is part of the learning, and learning effectively!
In the same way as routine is so important to a growing child, so is a schedule to a learning child.
3/ What are some ways to manage 2 plus children at home trying to study different things at the same time and what are some good strategies to keep kids motivated?
One of the important values you can teach your child in the process of home-schooling is to be independent learners. Empowering, especially the older child, to learn and facilitate for himself/herself is key. Eventually, you will see yourself more as a facilitator rather than a teacher. The learning happens independently and the child is able to get to the answer on their own. In practical terms, assist the younger one and empower the older one i.e. get the older one started whilst you give the younger one your full attention and vice versa.
In order to keep kids motivated we need to focus on their interests. For example, my son loves dinosaurs and we use his dinosaurs to learn about addition, or about the biological parts of the body, or about colours, and textures.
Home-schooling is tailor-made to each child; it is not focused on a lesson plan that suits a whole class of students. You can really focus on what your child is interested in, and that makes learning more effective and motivating.
4/ How important is it to keep in touch with friends, and what are some of the ways you would advise to be able to do this?
Most home-schoolers can attest that there are various socialisation aspects incorporated in to their schedule such as learning groups, events, weekly project rotations, etc. So, there is a lot of interaction with friends, where learning and education is also involved such as structured play, structured interaction, etc.
One of the biggest myths of home-schooling is that there is no socialisation.
There is value in learning with friends and learning with others. The benefit of home-schooling is that the interaction is not just with friends of the same age, it encourages interaction with adults, older kids and younger kids.
5/ There are so many apps and home learning education websites out there, it can be a bit overwhelming, can you recommend any?
It really depends on your child’s learning style and your teaching style. Some children are more visual, some are kinaesthetic. Once you pin that down, then you can narrow it down to what really works for you and your dynamic with your child.
I think what is more important is to connect to a home-school provider because they are able to provide structure, accreditation, advice, tips, etc. according to your child and to what curriculum you have chosen. Find an adviser who fits with your actual concerns and situations rather than an ideal. Home-schooling is not a one-size-fits-all. So, at the end of the day, it must work for you and your child and an accredited provider has people on the ground u can connect with directly on a regular basis.
One of the important values you can teach your child in the process of home-schooling is to be independent learners.
6/ How can you be a teacher and a parent, do you have to change modes/personalities slightly when you are in teaching mode and then revert back to mom mode when not?
Not really. You actually are just a parent who teaches – which is something that you do every day anyway. Parenting and teaching goes hand in hand. Your child will not really listen to you as you teach if he/she does not obey you. The key really, for me, is obedience. So, focus on ensuring your child obeys you, and listening to the concepts you teach will come naturally.
7/ What is the one thing you each day that makes your life more sustainable?
We are a Christian family and it helps to start the day in prayer – it just sets the tone of the day and it also sets the tone of the attitude of my children. It also reminds me to model good behaviour and attitude to my children; which is a form of teaching already. One thing I would suggest is to never, or as much as possible, not show your frustration. Home-schooling is no easy task and some days maybe harder than others.
It is important to keep organised and prepared. Winging it will only get you so far. If you do not have a plan, then you will not be able to keep up in the long run.
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Isabelle is married to Ryan and they have four children, the eldest is 7, the youngest just 3 months.
They are a multi-cultural family from Asia and the West: Ryan is a businessman and Isabelle used to be a childcare professional/consultant for many of the big play areas, kids’ clubs and nurseries in the UAE, before she decided to be a full-time homemaker.
Disclaimer: the information shared on this website is for your general knowledge only. The website cannot, and is not intended, to replace the relationship you have with your health care professionals.