How to become YOUR child’s teacher: Experts reveal the best methods for home-schooling – including using past exam papers and focusing on English, Maths and Science
- With school shutting on Friday, UK parents will soon have to home-school kids
- Will have to turn into teachers and walk children through lessons and topics
- Experts and teachers gave Femail some advice on how to best teach your kids
As schools across the country shut their doors to all but a select few pupils, parents across the UK are today facing the prospect of taking care of their children’s educational needs themselves.
Schools have been preparing homework packs or setting up ways of working online for their pupils, but the bulk of responsibility will fall on parents to home-school their children until educational establishments reopen at a later date.
But how can parents best take care of their children’s educational needs, especially for those who have not follows the school curriculum for decades?
FEMAIL has spoken to educational experts to find out how best to continue your child’s education from home.
Education experts are giving their best tips on how to best help children with their home-work while schools are shut (pictured: a mother helping her daughter with her lessons, stock picture)
OLDER CHILDREN – AGED 15-19
Tutor House founder Alex Dyer said parents will have to adapt to their children’s curriculum depending on their age groups, and that it might be easier to help an older child than a young.
Alex explained that parents of older children only had to worry about a few topics, due to the demands of their children’s A-level exams.
Exams have been cancelled, and students will be given a grade based on what their teachers estimate they would have achieved.
However, anyone who disagrees with the grades they’re given will have the option to sit exams later in the year, meaning it’s still important to keep revising and preparing for exams.
Three Easy Tips
Elise Verges, an English teacher currently on lockdown in Paris, said to utilise the exercises that have already been done in class and redo them at home to strengthen your child’s understanding and knowledge of one subjects.
She gave three recommendations:
– to write down the exercise instead of using a computer to limit screentiime
– not to stick to one type of exercise but alternate between video to reading to working on memorising,
– to keep track of your progress with a diary to give the parent and the child a sense of achievement.
‘I think if kids are older, it’s going to be easier for parents because although materials are harder, they are only going to be doing two or three subjects by the time they get to A-level.
For older kids there are hundreds of past paper examples questions and answers that parents can get online pretty easily. The good things is they’re accompanied with answers so you can work through those and parents can understand the logic to them.
‘If they’re about 15 to 19 for GCSE and A-levels, past papers and mark schemes would definitely be the best option, because even if the parent is not 100 percent sure on the subject, they can be a step ahead by having the answers,’ he explained.
‘The answers are explained in detail in the mark scheme so you can get your head around those,’ he added.
He also explained that there existed some tutoring programmes for parents in order to teach them what they and they’re kids need to know while preparing for an exam, and how the exam is structured.
He said this was more efficient than going through the teen’s textbook, which could be ‘a long, painful process,’ for both parents and child.
‘We do guidance for that, we have a group session where we tell the parent: “this is how you would actually go about explaining this topic to your child”,’ he went on.
Working through notes taken in class is also important, Alex said, although perhaps not the most favourable for busy parents working from home.
What is happening to exams?
The government has announced that grades for GCSEs and AS and A-level exams would be dispensed in July depending on data, prior grades and personal assessment.
‘The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus,’ read a statement on the government’s website.
‘This year’s summer exam series, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, and all primary assessments, have been cancelled as we fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.
However, due to the fact some students will be looking to continue on with their studies without having to retake a year, measures will me taken to grade the students who are currently unable to sit their exams.
‘There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.
Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students.
‘The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.’
‘The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. In terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years,’ the statement read.
‘You hope that older kids have got enough material from school to work through,’ he said.
‘Always try to avoid that, because even the textbook is not always clear cut, so it can be confusing for parents,’ he explained.
Younger Kids – Age seven – 15
When it comes to younger children, the tasks is made easy by the fact that everyone is working off the same curriculum, which is available online, and that plenty of resources are available.
‘Everyone’s on the same playing field with the national curriculum,’ he said,
However, the main challenge for parents would be to know a little bit about every subject.
For that reason, Alex advised to focus on the three core subjects: English, Maths, Science.
‘They’re the common topics from age seven to 15 or 16, and they are the compulsory exams that they will have to sit during GCSEs and those are the ones that count towards university down the line,’ he said.
‘And they’re easiest ones to teach because there is so much material on those three. It could be interesting as well for the parents, who might want to pick something that is going to be easy for them: science would be a good one, because you can apply it to daily life.’
‘One of the key things for parents with younger kids is to give them lots of breaks – every 40 minutes.’
‘Keeping a time table together would be one of the most beneficial things,’ he added.
Online classes for all ages
There are plenty of online tutoring platforms that can help parents juggling child-minding and their own workload.
‘There quite a few sites that are designed for teachers to download and understand their content, and they are made in a very simplistic, superficial way, which is quite nice for parents,’ Alex said.
Alex said that for parents that have to work from home and help their children with homework, services like Tutor House offer online classes of ten students per teacher.
UK country manager of interactive learning platform and app, Quizlet, Rahim Hirji agreed that there are plenty of digital facilities for children to follow, such as online classes.
‘You are not alone, through connected technology, a lot of teachers will be sharing lessons out through Google Classroom, Remind or another connected platform,’ he said.
‘We also recommend setting up a class on Quizlet, which is free and helps you keep both content and students organised in one spot.’
How to teach your child without training
When it comes to acting as a teacher to your own child, Alex advised to detach yourself and pretend you’re teaching a child you don’t know.
‘Let them work through a lot of things. Once you give them a bit of power over it and let them almost teach you, that’s when you know they know a topic,’ he said.
Because there are only a few months left in the rest of the school year, Alex advised to treat this time as a revision course.
‘They’ve already been through a huge amount this year, parents can treat this period as a revision course,’ he said.
He added that if parents do get stumped, a quick google search could help them to catch up about vert specific area.
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