Updated: Aug 5
School closures across the UK have now been confirmed. Here are our tips and activities for parents looking to support their children at home during the Coronavirus outbreak.
We are in difficult and stressful times. Schools and colleges up and down the country close this Friday. With months of uncertainty and potential self-isolation ahead, you may be wondering how best to support your child through this testing period. In which case, you’ve come to the right place! While it’s a less than ideal situation, every cloud has a silver lining – there are still plenty of ways to keep your child learning and engaged at home!
If you find yourself working from home or having work cancelled, you’re in a prime position to help your child. Don’t expect to be able to reproduce the national curriculum or run lessons - leave that to teachers or a private tutor! One of the best things you can do is to maintain regular contact with your child, as tempting as it may be enjoy some peace and quiet and leave them to their own devices.
Whether this means doing activities on an ad-hoc basis or scheduling a couple of hours in each day, make sure you find space to spend some quality time together. Here are some fun activity ideas to get you started:
1. Art Attack!
There’s nothing quite like getting a random ensemble of art supplies out and having a go at making something at home. You don’t even need anything specialist, you can use old newspapers and magazines to create fun collages with some sellotape and glue. While you can just go for a free-for-all session, you can bring in some educational content without a terribly heavy-handed approach.
A fun exercise might be to recreate a famous scene from the History curriculum, either by replicating a famous work of art or creating your own scene. This could easily be accompanied by finding a short (age-appropriate!) film or Youtube clip to supplement the experience. For example, have a go re-creating a scene of from the ‘Great Fire of London’ of 1666 alongside this great ‘Horrible Histories’ clip.
2. Board Gaming
For frequent readers of this blog, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I’m espousing the educational benefits of board games! Not only are tabletop games a great way to unwind and connect socially with others, they can be nice challenges which test a variety of skills.
One of my favourite titles from my previous blog about educational games was “Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective”, a fiendishly difficult open-ended puzzle game which puts you in the shoes of Arthur Conan-Doyle’s legendary crime solver. If that even sounds slightly up you or your child’s street, I can wholeheartedly recommend this as a fantastic way to spend an afternoon testing your problem solving abilities. A word of warning, the game’s difficulty and occasionally mature themes certainly warrants its 10+ age rating.
If that sounds a bit far-fetched, you could try your hand at creating your own board game. I’ve written a whole separate game design guide, so check it out if this sounds like something your child might be interested in!
3. Film Night
If you have a Netflix account or a DVD player, there’s plenty of great films out there which go fantastically with the curriculum. Now, I can’t say hand-on-heart that all these films are strictly educational, but they do help bring important figures, events or concepts to life in a way which is difficult to do in the classroom. So, without further ado…
1. “Beautiful Mind”: this celebrated biopic follows the life of American Mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) and his struggle with schizophrenia. Economics students should look out for the scene where Nash suddenly realises the concept of a ‘Nash Equilibrium’ (an equilibrium point in classic game theory).
2. “Theory of Everything”: another biopic, this time examining physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne). A winner of 10 BAFTA awards, this film is sure to entertain and, while not perfectly accurate, offers a glimpse into Hawking’s fascinating life.
3. “Saving Private Ryan”: a modern classic, this film’s tragic and dramatic portrayal of the D-Day landings and World War II has earnt it countless plaudits. While not appropriate for younger viewers, this is an important watch for A-Level History students and reveals the horrors of war in a way that very few textbooks or lessons can do.
4. “Wall-E”: something a bit lighter, this much-loved Disney Pixar animation follows the journey of a small robot left on an environmentally shattered Earth. The climate emergency is often at the forefront of our minds, and this film is more pertinent than ever.
4. Bake Off!
Long gone are the days of ‘Home Economics’ or ‘Food Technology’ as stalwarts of the curriculum, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t important! Cooking skills are a massive asset to any child or teenager, particularly if they’re planning on going to university (as I can attest!). While panic-buyers are raiding the shelves of supermarkets, there are still plenty of simple dishes or tasty treats you can assemble with your child with minimal ingredients; a quick search for “5 ingredient dishes” pulls up plenty of results.
Make sure you divide up the tasks between yourself and your child to ensure they get to try a nice variety of cooking techniques. If you fancy brushing up your own kitchen skills, I’ve always been a fan of Gordon Ramsey’s tutorials, which are straightforward and easy to follow. Of course, don’t let your child get away without washing up!...
While all these activities are useful and fun, they aren’t a full replacement for some proper tuition. If you’re hoping to keep your child learning in a more formal manner, arranging some one-to-one tuition sessions can go a long way to maintaining their progress. We can easily arrange for the lessons to be carried out online for added peace of mind. For more information about finding the perfect tutor for your child, drop us a line or call us here.
The current Coronavirus situation is a very difficult period for us all so now is the time to make sure you’re checking up on your child’s mental wellbeing. Reassure them that they’re safe, listen to their worries and try to limit how much media you and your child are consuming; it is vital to keep up-to-date with official statements but avoiding panic-inducing opinion columns will help keep you more level-headed and relaxed.
Blog Post Crafted by Oscar
Oscar studies Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at the University of Warwick.
When he's not studying PPE or tutoring GCSE Maths and Science, Oscar plays saxophone and is the Musical Director for the University of Warwick Big Band.