Teaching at Home is Easy and Free

April 19, 2020 4:43 pm Published by

Covid 19 has created a milestone in our history, and how will history itself report it in a hundred and fifty years? Deaths across the world have been on a biblical scale and sadly many of those have included the very people working to save the rest of us. Businesses have folded, jobs have been lost and we have even temporarily lost our freedom to roam at will. Society has been asked to step up to the plate and consider others and, by and large we have – we understand, we manage. Day by day we are proving that as a nation we are again capable of rallying cohesively for the greater good when our country calls.

However, the children.

Childhood is a structured time: wake up, dress, breakfast, school, friends, home, homework, TV, bath, bed. They might buck against this structure but it is merely a game, a distraction. Structure is their validation of life being safe, normal and protective and of course current social distancing and closure of schools has imposed so much added drama. Dealing with the grown-up world, difficult at best, now must be doubly difficult. Their structure has gone along with Brownies, Guides, Cubs, Scouts, ballet, music, drama, judo all those little after school breaks which lift the younger generation into new dimensions each day.

It is important your children don’t regard this period as a holiday. It is not. This is school time, it is work time. Holidays come at the end of term, at the end of work, they are earned. So it is up to you, the adult, to put structure into your child’s day, easily achieved by setting a time for work, a time for play and a time to relax. If mealtimes and bedtimes are maintained as usual then there should be no long term problems. As for teaching, it is best to take the pragmatic approach, remember the teachers you loved at school, they were the smiley but firm ones. Aim for that and you will be perfect. When school holidays arrive children will welcome them for the freedom they bring.

What can you do?

Above all beware of many home schooling programmes, offers, ideas, videos, books, ad infinitum. They are expensive and, most importantly, unnecessary and can simply be a way of making money out of the Covid 19 scare.

Any teacher will tell you teaching is easy and it has never been easier with the wealth of information we have at our fingertips today. Managing children is the difficult bit. Managing a class of recalcitrant children while trying to teach them how to recognise an oxymoron, a fronted adverbial, or a quadratic equation, now that is the greatest challenge for every teacher.

Your child’s behaviour is, at this moment, your problem and once you have collectively acknowledged that you are the teacher you are ready to go. With tiny children your most important, your vital, job is to keep up your child’s reading. Reading is the skill which will take him/her all the way to A levels, University, all jobs and through life. Reading is, at Primary level, more important than maths, because reading must be in place to be able to read and interpret maths’ questions. So, all Primary School children should be reading aloud to an adult WHILE THE ADULT WATCHES ALL WORDS AND ALL PUNCTUATION – EVERY DAY. As well as reading aloud your child must do all the work set by the school.

Upper Primary level should still be reading aloud to you every day. They will also be revising their English, spelling and grammar. If you missed out on the wonderful grammar your child is now learning, don’t despair. If you wouldn’t recognise a modal verb or a noun phrase if it bit you on the foot, if you haven’t the faintest idea about FANBOYS or I SAW A WABUB, fear not. It is all on Google. Every element of their grammar is easily accessed on Google with explanations and examples. It’s all there. Maths can also be found on Google but school maths on-line exercises are fabulous. If your student simply can’t work out the answer – Google to the rescue. Do not worry as long as your child READS to you and completes the set work – you will be doing a brilliant job.

At Secondary School level.

Once again, complete any set work. Access anything you don’t know on Google. As for literature there is a fantastic teacher on line, his name is Dominic Salles and he gives brilliant lectures on Shakespeare (including MacBeth) and, I think, pretty well every GCSE and A level text. Mr Salles is not in any way connected with me or the work I do. He is a teacher I respect and value for his remarkable insight into senior school literature. You will find him on YouTube and, believe me, his work is well worth listening to.

The schools are mostly doing a superb job, they are providing work and, as far as I know many, many teachers are available for queries from parents and children. They are faultless. I too am available to any of you I can help, especially with regard to reading AT ANY SCHOOL LEVEL. My telephone number is 01353741030.

I hope I have quashed any worries you have regarding teaching your children. The main point is that you maintain the continuity of their education.

I shall follow this up with tips on how to evaluate and help your child’s reading.

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This post was written by Alonah Reading Cambridge

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