Headmaster at Edge Grove, Ben Evans, gives tips for homeschooling children following news of UK-wide school closures

Parents need to understand that they cannot replicate day to day ‘in school’ learning, nor should they feel pressured to do so. Evans explains: “School closures mean that everyone will have to become used to a new ‘normal’ and that will take considerable adjustment for many families who are balancing their jobs with home schooling support.  But parents shouldn’t feel pressured to fill their children’s days with a full timetable of lessons.  Schools have a duty to support parents with comprehensive computer-based academic plans as well as web-based seminars, which will ensure that pupils are learning and making progress in all subjects.”

However, maintaining a routine and providing some structure to children’s days, is the way forward. “My advice to parents is to agree on a regular time for breakfast each morning, encourage your child to be fully dressed and ready to start the day, to get them into the right frame of mind for learning. So no onesies or pyjamas. This will help towards creating a prompt start to home learning.”

“Parents should also try to encourage their children to maintain regular contact and dialogue with their school friends in a safe way. This is so important not only for their mental wellbeing, but also in terms of nurturing relationships and enjoying some light hearted social time together. It’s worth considering that this is also a worrying time for many children who don’t know when they will be returning to school and are looking to adults for reassurance in what is an uncertain world.”

Top tips for homeschooling children

Children should work in short bursts of no more than 30 to 50 minutes (age-dependent), especially if their learning is mainly screen-based. This must be interspersed with regular exercise and fresh air. 

Try to provide a dedicated workspace at home – i.e. the kitchen or dining room table set up with everything they need to work, a desk is great if you have one or an area that indicates a ‘classroom’ or space for learning, which is used just as that, to give the necessary separation from home and school. 

Discuss the routine for each day with your children so they can ask any questions and set out your expectations– just as would happen at school. 

We nurture children to be independent learners and teach them to take responsibility for their own learning in school, so this is a great opportunity for them to put those skills into practice, with regular praise and support from parents. Taking ownership of tasks should be encouraged as this also builds resilient learners.

Intersperse ‘lessons’ with learning spellings, reading books, outdoor garden activities or sport, music, art and crafts, cooking or drama-based activities to replicate a busy school day.


Further reading: How to make maths fun for your child