Lesson planning

6 January 2021

Top tips for parents & carers supporting home learning

Emma McCrea

Head of Curriculum Design

Supporting your children with home learning can be a daunting prospect for many parents. This is especially true for those working from home or supporting more than one child at a time.

For many, it’s been a fair few years since we’ve polished up our poetry skills or recalled the equation to measure a change in thermal energy, so suddenly being the adult supporting a child in their learning can be overwhelming.

Oak National Academy has been created by teachers with the support of the Government to support remote learning. We provide free access to thousands of high quality online lessons, for children aged 4 to 16.

With the sudden move to remote learning, here are our top tips for parents finding themselves in this situation over the coming weeks.

1. Follow the advice of your child’s school

Your child’s school will be developing a clear plan for what your child should learn, and when. They’re also experts in how children learn, so listen to their advice and follow their plan as closely as your situation allows.

Given how quickly the changes were announced, be patient. Teachers will be working hard to create new plans and communicate these as quickly as possible to parents. Many schools will make use of resources such as Oak National Academy, allowing your child’s teachers to assess work, provide 1-2-1 support and advice as well as teach the vulnerable and key worker children who will still attend school.

2. Establish a clear routine

Children are creatures of habit and routine, and applying themselves to learning at home in the same way they do at school will take some time to fall into place.

Oak National Academy lessons have been designed to give a clear structure to learning, but you should also work up a clear structure to your ‘school’ day. For younger children in particular, it can be really beneficial to write a timetable up together and display it.

If you have the space, set a clear area for learning to take place – somewhere well-lit is ideal – and remove any distractions before the lessons begin. Make sure to have a clear start and end to the day so children’s wellbeing is prioritised as well.

3. Build time for other things into your day

Times are challenging for all of us, not least children, and a child’s physical and mental wellbeing is as vitally important to look after as their learning.

Building in time for cooking, daily exercise, puzzles or reading for pleasure is a great way to break up learning into manageable periods and help with any difficulties with focus or screen fatigue children might experience.

4. Don’t try to replace the teacher

The vast majority of parents embarking on supporting home learning during national restrictions will not be trained teachers. Luckily, no one is expecting you to be!

It’s OK to tell your child if you’re unsure of a topic or skill they are learning. In fact, it can be a really powerful and rewarding experience to approach the learning of something new to you both together. Learning alongside them can be really encouraging for a child – getting frustrated that you don’t know all the answers is not good for either of you. So embark on the learning journey together!

5. Recognise their effort and stay positive!

We’ve heard the word ‘unprecedented’ enough times now – we know we’re living through unusual times and challenges that none of us expected to face.

Keep your child’s motivation up by keeping positive and encouraging their efforts. Chances are they are worried, confused, missing their friends and navigating a brand new way of learning.

And if they have a tough day when it’s not going to plan… that’s fine, start afresh tomorrow.

Oak National Academy’s lessons can be accessed for free via our online classroom.

You can also visit our FAQs and support for parents and carers.