Home Schooling and Productive Outdoor Environments during the Pandemic
As parents ourselves, we just want to give a massive shout out to everyone who is home schooling. As we familiarise ourselves with Google Rooms and discover new and imaginative ways to explain phonics, and master timetable Rockstar’s, now’s a good time to reflect.
The COVID-19 story is still very much an unfolding one, and whether you’re enjoying spending time with the kids or finding things a real struggle, it’s worth remembering you’re doing a good job. When it comes to home schooling, you must do what’s right for you and your family as no two households are the same.
Writing this blog from a garden room in Suffolk, we thought it would be a good idea to share our home schooling tips with you.
The Challenges of Home Schooling
Home schooling, remote education, DeJa’Vu, or whatever you want to call it, is not without its challenges. Sure, we’d all like to say that we login to MS Teams at 9am, there are no connectivity issues, chat works perfectly, we can find the work, and upload it for the teacher to review.
The reality is that it’s not that simple, despite all the best intentions from the school.
Most parents are trying their best to structure their day around pre-scheduled remote education while they balance work and supervise their other children. Finding time to cook, let alone unwind and relax, is almost impossible.
However, in amongst all that chaos, it’s not all bad – even if we can’t quite bring ourselves to admit it just yet. Parents have discovered far more about their children than what they ever knew. They are connecting in new ways and understand how each other learns, what inspires them, and how to overcome real-life challenges.
They have a renewed understanding of the value of scaffold-based learning and have discovered how to be far more creative, and dare we say, resilient.
Although we all need to be aware of the mental health implications of leading more socially isolated lives, there are things we can all do to help take the pressure off.
The key is to find a routine that works best for you and your family. One where you have just enough flex to give enough of yourself to your children, your partner, and your work.
Strike a Balance
However, finding that balance with home schooling, the one that you may feel all the other parents have, can feel overwhelming. Here we share just a few things we’ve found useful:
Find a Happy Medium with Work
It might be that you need to work more flexibly for a bit. Most employers would rather you be honest about the challenges of balancing work and home schooling. They may even welcome you being able to start earlier and finish a little later. Or perhaps you could change the hours you work temporarily, depending on what suits you.
Set a New Routine
This third lockdown is somewhat different for children than the first one. We’re now in our tenth month of restrictions and feeling the pinch. That’s why it’s good to have a routine each day, which always works best if children are involved in creating the timetable.
Together, you might decide to set the alarm clock for a certain time, learn at times when your child feels more inspired, and have lunch together. You could even draw up a home schooling timetable on how each day will look, showing when the school will be teaching virtually and when you will be learning together. If you have a garden room, you could also make sure you use the space for creative learning.
Remember, you’re not an educator though, you’re a parent. If you make sure your child reads every day and covers the Math and English (directed by the school) and the subjects they have a keen interest in, they will thrive.
Access Free Resources
There will be some school activities your child loves and others they find more challenging. If you’re finding that they are struggling, you could choose to mix things up a little with some of the fantastic free resources.
The BBC is airing a full schedule to enhance home schooling, with programmes running every day from 9am. You can even tune into subjects specific to your child’s age. It’s a fantastic way to learn about history and the wider world. For secondary school aged kids, you can watch most of the sessions on-demand on BBC iPlayer.
The Oak National Academy, which is widely used by teaching staff, now has over 10,000 free lessons for parents and children to watch and download. You can even choose your subject and child’s year group and download resource packs to encourage creative writing.
Although this article dates to the first lockdown, the East Anglian Daily Times offers some great remote education advice for Suffolk parents.
Create a School Away from School
For those fortunate enough to have outdoor space, home schooling gives children the opportunity to learn outside instead of just indoors. And in a way that they wouldn’t necessarily get at school.
If the weather’s nice, why not mix up your home schooling timetable and have some lessons outdoors or in your garden room? It’ll certainly help if two of you are working from home and one of you needs some peace and quiet.
Having a home school in your garden is also great way to encourage young children to learn through self-discovery. Being close to nature, a garden room can be great for nurturing other abilities such as creativity, observation and writing.
By alternating indoor lessons with time in your garden room, you also make it easier for your child to stay focused and interested in what they are being taught.
Plus, and this really is a big benefit, you can use your garden office as the perfect place to gain some much-needed personal space.
Being a home schooling parent is tough going, and so having that outdoor space where you can relax with a book or binge-watch your favourite Netflix series may be just what you need.
Order Your Brochure Today
A garden room could be a wonderful solution – not just for remote education but as a multifunctional space that changes purpose with time.
As your family grows, and your children no longer need help with fractions and fronted adverbials, they’ll have other needs. As they grow to be fantastic young adults, with their own ambitions, they’ll enjoy having the space of a garden room to chill out with their friends, learn the guitar, stay fit or even revise.
As specialists in creating purposefully designed garden rooms for families, we are quite the experts when it comes to functional family space.
At SMART Garden Offices, we have seven beautiful ranges, available in 64 sizes, starting from just £7,944 (with finance options available).
Please feel free to download a copy of our brochure – we promise it’ll make for light reading amongst the home schooling!