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Hello lovely readers. I really hope you are all safe and well. I’m so sorry for being so quiet but clearly this isn’t a time to be writing about family travel! Things really have taken a worrying turn of events and I for one have been feeling very overwhelmed, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Brook and Indie finished school on Friday and it wasn’t a surprise to me at all.
I had already been preparing for home schooling the girls, and whilst I’m no expert at all, I thought I’d share what we had been doing in case it was useful to anyone who reads Zena’s Suitcase.
Getting Ready for the Change
Before the schools officially closed in the UK we had been doing a lot of additional home learning with Brook (Year 1) and Indie (Year 3). Because of this, going the extra step and homeschooling full time isn’t going to be a big shock to them. I’m hoping it’s also going to be a huge comfort to continue with teaching them at home until things get back to normal.
Brook and Indie take a great deal of comfort from structure and routine so we will be loosely working to the school timetable. I’ve decided to do this not because of the lessons particularly, but to make sure we stick to their routine around snacks, meals and playtime. I’m happy to be flexible about the subjects but I feel there is going to be a huge benefit to them in making sure they eat, play and go into the garden at regular intervals during the day.
What Supplies Have I Bought for Home Learning
Firstly, I probably had a head start on a lot of parents as we already a number of books from the Collins Easy Learning range for ages 5-7 and 7-9. I bought these as bundles a while ago, but I’ve searched online recently and can’t find the bundles anywhere, which is such a shame. You can still buy all the individual books, but unfortunately that will be a bit more expensive than buying the bundle.
We also have a number of books from the Progress with Oxford range which we will use during our home learning. I wouldn’t like to say whether one is necessarily better than the other, but the biggest difference seems to be that Progress with Oxford includes a reward system with their books and fun characters that the children can relate to.
What I really love about all these books is that each exercise is easy to explain to the children and only takes them 5 or 10 minutes to complete. I can’t see them sat at their desks all day, but when they are in the mood to sit down and do some maths or hand writing practise these learning books for kids are going to make that really easy to do.
I also spoke to Brook and Indie about what was important to them in their school day. The reward points and their tray seem to be pretty high up that list. We are going to have home school points and they also have a tray to keep everything together they are working on. I’ve bought them some labels and stickers so these can be personalised also.
In our craft supplies we have paint, paintbrushes, paper, card, canvases, glue and plenty of pens and pencils. I bought them a pack of blank cards and envelopes so that they can make cards and send them to their friends while we are social distancing.
We are lucky enough to have a good sized garden where we live and we will definitely be spending a lot of time in it. The trampoline will come in very handy as well as the hula hoops, skipping ropes and swing ball we still have from last year. We are a little bit lacking on other outdoor games, but with so many resources popping up online I don’t think we are going to struggle with things to do outside.
I also made sure we had a few supplies for gardening activities. In the pound shop I found bulbs, hanging baskets and even bags of compost all for, wait for it, just a £1. We also have sunflowers to plant and some herbs. I can also see us doing more baking, if we can get hold of any ingredients that is.
Our Home School Area
I’ve prepared a home school area for the children and we are going to be making a concerted effort to be more organised in the home during this time. Desks have been cleared of Lego and we are starting to put resources on the wall like times tables etc. They have their home learning books from school, notebooks and pencil cases stored neating in their desks but I’m not sure how long it will last.
It became quite apparent as soon as Brook and Indie came home on Friday when our school officially closed they had a lot to process. They don’t like being not at school at the best of times but given how stressful this situation is becoming, it’s clearly having an impact on them. I’d hoped that we would have a relatively quite evening on Friday but they watched me clear their desks and get things ready and felt they needed to do the same. The decorated and labelled their home school tray, organised their books and even started doing some work.
I’ve also noticed over the weekend that Indie in particular is a little bit anxious about the situation. With school closing and things like not being able to see their grandparents for her birthday she’s very aware that something very challenging is happening in the world right now. Brook is also aware but maybe to a lesser degree. She’s very excited about homeschool which is nice.
I want them to have strategies to cope over the coming months with what is happening. They both have a list posted above their desks that they have written. It’s a list of ‘things that make me smile’ and I asked them to write things on it they can do at home. When they are feeling a bit sad or overwhelmed they can ask to do something from the ‘things that make me smile’ list, and we will stop home learning and do whichever activity they pick.
If this is something you might find useful, I’ve created a free download of the ‘things that make me smile’ list that you can print and use with your own children.
If any of this has been useful to you please do leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear how you are dealing with social distancing in your family and any tips for home school. Whilst we are facing the most challenging of times with the coronavirus I’m determined that something positive will come out of this for us as a family.
I’ll be sharing how we get on with home school over the coming weeks, what worked, what didn’t and things changed. If you have two young children at home I hope this will be a useful weekly article for you.
Stay safe xx