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Weekly learn at home blog

Week 2: The New Normal

Week 2: The New Normal

This article has been written by parent blogger Emma Bradley.

We are now a week into this new normal and for many it is still feeling anything but normal! Many started Monday with high hopes of home schooling and thought they would enjoy this time but after a few days the reality seems somewhat different. It is worth remembering that as parents you are not teachers, you haven’t been trained to teach and you may not know much about the national curriculum, but you know your children. Base your activities around their interests and spend time doing the things they like.

Schools have been great at providing work, but this varies quite a lot. Some are doing online lessons and others are sending out work packs. We have been structuring our day by doing some school work in the mornings, which includes some English and Maths. This is how schools tend to structure the school day too, with core subjects taking place in the morning sessions.

We have then spent the afternoons in the garden or doing craft-based activities such as colouring.

On Monday I set Erin up with a free write. I gave her a choice of pictures and she wrote a story based on the image. This was a great opportunity to write but with no restrictions, I just reminded her to use the targets she has at school. We are also doing ten-minute tests each day for Maths to keep up her to speed. Practising times tables is something we can all do. I have roped in the older two to do some Maths with Erin as it gives them a sense of purpose too.

We spent the afternoon doing puzzles and then chatting to friends via Facetime and playing in the garden.

Tuesday and Wednesday took a similar approach and thanks to the great weather, time passed quite quickly. Erin is also keeping a journal each day where she writes down things that have gone well. We started reading Skellig by David Almond which is a brilliant book. I chose this as it is very descriptive text and I have lots of ideas of activities. We chatted about what the story might be about based on the front cover and blurb.

We read the first two chapters together and Erin then drew what the inside of the garage might look like. She also wrote down the meanings of five words she didn’t know. Adding to your child’s vocabulary is an easy win and will help them back in the classroom. Use the Collins dictionary to find out the meanings of words and write them in a new sentence. These activities will work for all ages and any book that you are reading.

Get children to draw a new book cover for their favourite books. They can rewrite an ending of a story. Erin wrote a list of questions that she wanted to ask one of the characters.

In the afternoon I gave Erin a Lego set that I had ordered for her. Even building with Lego is problem solving and following instructions, all learning activities that entertain and keep them busy.

It has been much harder getting my 16-year-old engaged, as he knows that he is not sitting his GCSE exams now. However, I have persuaded him to do some prep for A Levels. His teachers have sent over the titles of books to read and documentaries to read. He has also started doing some home workouts using weights.

Thursday and Friday saw us baking together which we really enjoyed. This is also a great time to teach life skills. We are planting some seeds, cress is great for children as it is easy to grow and grows quickly and they can eat it afterwards in a sandwich.

We have also made smoothies using up some fruit that was on the turn. The teenagers said these tasted as good as ones you buy in shops!

There are lots of resources available for providing learning activities during this time. I keep reassuring people that you won’t be doing anything wrong, just take each day as it comes and do your best.

Missed the first weekly installment? Catch up here

Written by Emma Bradley

About Emma

Emma Bradley, a qualified secondary teacher and current primary school governor with many years experience of working in different childcare and education settings. She has three children, the eldest is Chloe a second year university student, a son Dylan who is 16 and just found out his GCSEs are not going ahead and Erin who is 10 and still at primary school.