Homeschooling seems popular now!

I’m sorry to hear all the schools have mostly closed at home (and globally) and I hope you are all balancing the working from home, childcare and homeschooling triple job syndrome!

Times table tests at the chart table

All I can say is welcome to homeschooling… It does get easier I promise once you all have adjusted to it. My top tips are;

1. Be easy on yourself and lower any perfectionist aspirations. For young children a bit of maths, English and reading each day is a great week. Anything on top is a bonus!

2. Less is more. Plenty of breaks works well for everyone, you included. Fighting for two hours on spellings or maths is not productive. 15-20 mins bursts on times tables, workbooks or spellings followed by 5 mins Lego breaks work wonders for us. We only do school in the mornings, it’s simply too hot otherwise.

3. Use what you’ve got. We’ve got iguanas living by the fuel dock bins so we are studying them and researching all about them. The boys are fascinated and happily write long lists of interesting facts about them (yet moan unbelievably if they have to write sentences in their journals).

Do they like watermelon or orange best?

The nearest family boat to us were studying Greeks last week, so we all joined in and dressed up for a Greek symposium organised (and researched by the kids). School doesn’t have to be (just) working indoors on workbooks. Learning is all around you. The more experiential the better.

4. Have fun, laugh and join in. We all took part in learning about saving coral reefs and turtles today and all had a go at drawing turtles too. You’re never too old to learn too and you become a great role model in the process.

5. Reward charts do work. We have stickers earned for doing certain things each day (eg time tables, English, reading etc). Depending on the number of stars earned during the week the rewards change e.g. food treat for 20 stars, 30 mins of cartoons for 30 stars etc. It works a treat. Keep it simple and don’t change the goal posts.

6. If you miss a day or have a bad day with the kids, stop, start something else (painting or baking with them, or a board game with dice – it’s all got numbers/measurement or coordination in it).

Start again the next day, clean slate. Don’t carry the guilt, it’s too heavy and does no good! Talk to others in the same situation (email/Skype whatever), you are not alone and can laugh about it and get their tips and help.

I’ll stop at six points but could waffle on….just think you have internet and WiFi the whole time. You have resources at your finger tips. We live off-grid mostly so I can’t advise on the best websites to use as I can’t rely on having access to any of them. I swear by the Schofield and Sims workbooks (bought before we left on Amazon or Schofield&Sims website) as they help ‘teach’ and not just be workbooks to complete. Also long division teaching seems to have changed a lot since I last did it…..

More importantly, now you are all doing homeschooling you will become experts and please send me your tips too! I am not a teacher or an expert and I am open for any idea that works!

Hugo giving his iguana presentation to his friends yacht.
Learning about coral reefs with friends

3 thoughts on “Homeschooling seems popular now!

  1. Hi Kate, great to hear from you! Glad you are all keeping well.

    We wish we’d taken the plunge and flown out to see you now. Unfortunately with the loss of my mother at the end of last year and Sally’s mum in January it wasn’t going to happen, not in February at least.

    Anyway, we’re now prisoners in our own home (!) but getting on with life as it now is 😷. TBH, if the weather’s OK, we’re happy enough. We have a lovely house full of musical instruments, books and other things to do, and a nice garden that always needs a bit of work. I can work from home whenever I want, we don’t have any money issues (I’m now officially an old age pensioner 😱) so all in all we are amongst the very lucky ones. We and our children and grandchildren are all healthy so far, although we only see each other on FaceTime.

    Everything is shut – gym, all shops (except food, chemists, petrol, essentials), parks, public car parks, anywhere where people might be close to each other. But the construction of HS2 continues (amid a bit of controversy of course).

    Did you know Lorna Walker at Arup? Bit of sad news, she died a couple of days ago (aged 68 – gulp). I guess you catch up with business news every now and then? Kay Hughes taken your old job at HS2, so it’s all an architectural love-in in Sadie’s Design Panel. Simon Wright (who I’m working with again at the moment) is on the DP but is a lone engineering voice! Sue Kershaw moves from KPMG to head up Costain’s infra work.

    Sally and I do hope to catch up with you somewhere on your global trip and we’re following your emails avidly. Looks like this is such a life-defining period for you all – I’m so glad you went for it!

    Love and best wishes to you all, and stay well.

    Bill x



  2. Hi Kate, the photos look amazing, there are worse places to be I think. It’s very strange back here in the UK. I wanted to let you know that sadly Heather Ceney passed away over the weekend. Very sad news and a shock to us all here. Take care.


    1. Thank you for letting me know Elaine. It’s horrendous news and I’m so sad to hear it. Lucinda has kindly kept me informed but it’s still such a shock and deeply saddening. My thoughts are with everyone through their grief. Wish I was there


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