Five Top Tips For Home Learning

Five Top Tips For Home Learning

I think we can all agree that 2020 has forced us to find new ways to navigate our way through life. The need to support our children with home learning is essential because although children are back at school, if a covid case arises, this could mean that your child will stay at home and isolate. During the first lockdown, parents played a pivotal role in supporting their child’s learning, and many parents will know that this was by no means a walk in the park. There were reports that many parents were reduced to tears trying to meet the strain of balancing work and education.

Therefore I would like to share five top tips to support all parents with home learning.


  • Focus on progression, not perfection
smiling woman tutoring ethnic girl at homeFIVE TOP TIPS FOR HOME LEARNING
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Focusing on progression instead of perfection can make the process of home learning much more enjoyable. Know your capacity, do what you can do, do not set yourself up to fail by setting goals that are not achievable; we are not all trained teachers. Therefore, you do not need to replicate a school environment.

So relax and take your time. You do not need to spend hours learning; you can organise any task into small bite-size, manageable chunks. Mental health and the well-being of your child is far more critical. Please do not focus on what you hear or see others doing because we are all different, have different needs and responsibilities. What is suitable for one family may not be right for another. Start gradually and build on from there.


  • Be organised and plan ahead

Using timetables is a handy tool to help you plan for learning, and you can use this for homework too. If your child has special educational needs, I would suggest using a visual timetable. Personally, creating a timetable has helped me to identify what I would like to cover each week. My children are involved in planning their learning, and I would suggest that you do the same. By doing so, your child will not feel as though the timetable has been imposed upon them, and they will be more willing to engage in learning.  Breaks are essential, so be sure to include this within your timetable.

You do not need to stick to the same routine each week; you can revisit the timetable and change things around so that your child does not become bored and lose interest, and if your child does not feel like doing a topic that day, do not push them. However, children with special educational needs, particularly children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), do like routine, and in this case, changing the timetable weekly may not be beneficial to them.

It is essential to focus on your child’s needs and their preferred style of learning. Hence allowing them to be involved in the planning process will ultimately enable them to flourish and enjoy learning.


  • Be active, not passive
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Children like hands-on tasks. They want to be involved in discussions, role-play, use visual aids, and experiment. When you are thinking about resources and activities, make sure they are fun, creative, and engaging. Most importantly, be guided by your child’s interests and learning style. My children are visual and kinesthetic learners, which means that they learn best through illustrations, pictures, videos, role-play, and hands-on activities.

For example; If you wanted to teach your child about fractions, you could incorporate pizza and fruits to make it fun. It does not have to be about writing in textbooks and worksheets all the time. When my children were learning about flowers, we took a trip to our local flower garden and took pictures of our favourite flowers to draw at home.

I am not saying that there will not be moments of independent learning, but do not let your environment, limited space, or resources prevent your child from learning. Just have fun!


  • Be Patient
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It is essential to be patient, and even more so now because of our current situation, children are still finding their way and dealing with home school, school life, new rules, bubbles, online learning. It will take time to adjust.

When you feel that your child is losing motivation, use praise, and link it to something specific, e.g., improved handwriting. Praise the detail if it is a picture. For example, “I love the colours of your flowers,” “you have drawn beautiful animals,” or.  “you have worked hard on that story, I knew you could write creatively.” Rewards can be an acceptable form of encouragement, but there should be a balance so that children do not automatically expect to receive a reward for every task they complete.

It is equally important to be patient with your child’s progress; children develop faster than others. There are various ways that you can evaluate your child’s learning. I stated before that we are not all teachers, so it is important not to pressure yourself.

To recap the topics you have covered, you can create a fun family quiz. I use animal sound buzzers, which my children press to answer the question asked, and my 10-year-old daughter loves it just as much as my 6-year-old son. When reading with your child, good questioning will help you assess your child’s understanding of what they have read. For example: Who was your favourite character? Is there a message in the story? Did you like the end of the story? If not, how would you change the ending?. You can also explore the meanings of words, and with younger children, you can practice letter sounds to support phonics. The age of your child will determine the questions you might ask.

Doing so will allow you to identify areas your child may be struggling in, and this can be the focus for the following week


  • Take care of yourself
man couple love people FIVE TOP TIPS FOR HOME LEARNING
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Mental health and well-being are so important right now for you just as much as your child. So it is essential to make time for yourself. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and although at the moment, there is not much to do, going for a walk, reading, coloring, which are some things I like to do, can make all the difference.

We can quickly become anxious if we feel we are not doing enough or if the week did not pan out the way we intended. We will naturally begin to worry. “how will I keep up “? “is my child learning and on track”? Please remember things do not always go to plan, so do not beat yourself up thinking that you are now the worst parent in the world.

Being a single parent is even more challenging, and I want to remind all parents that everyone’s situation is different. You have already done a remarkable job to support your child through what’s been an uncertain time.


Charlene Clotworthy MA is a mum of two, a qualified youth worker, early years practitioner, teacher & assessor, currently working as a education and special educational needs consultant. She is also a mentor and coach to trainee, newly qualified teachers and founder of Cre8tive Learning Tuition.