Research School Network: Developing a positive approach to home schooling EEF Resources to Support Parents


Developing a positive approach to home schooling

EEF Resources to Support Parents

by Sandringham Research School
on the

By Karen Roskilly – Director of Learning: Sociology and Research Lead

I am an experienced teacher and have been teaching for more than 20 years. I have invested significant time (and money!) in my own professional development. Surely, I should be able to effectively home school one 8‑year-old?

Well, the honest answer to this question is no! As a working parent, you are pulled in so many different directions that the end result is I feel that I don’t do anything well at all. Trying to work from home and home school my daughter has completely exacerbated this feeling and there are days when it has been, and continues to be, a real struggle.

The EEF has provided a number of resources to support schools and teachers with distance during this time, but it also has resources specifically for parents too. These resources can all be found here.

Key things suggested and that I have found useful are:

Routine


The evidence shows that consistent routines in school support good behaviour and student wellbeing. This can be applied at home too and the EEF have provided a useful checklist to help support this, which can be found here. Particularly useful is that it helps to plan other parts of the day apart from school work, such as exercise, contacting friends and spending time on hobbies. We have certainly found that having a timetable for the week helps us to structure each day; our daughter planned her own timetable and used her usual’ school day as a basis. We are also using her school rewards system at home too to provide consistency. However, although routine is useful, we have found that flexibility is key! Spending an extra 15 minutes at the end of break time’ on the trampoline isn’t going to result in educational failure.

The importance of interaction

It can sometimes feel that the only conversations I am currently having with my daughter during the day involve me trying to coerce, bribe or beg her to complete a school task so that I can attend a meeting, complete a piece of work or teach a class. Negativity can easily dominate communication. The TRUST talk framework provides an opportunity to turn all daily activities into learning activities and has provided a timely reminder that simply listening and being interested can turn the negative into positive. In particular, simple things like praise and encouragement, that you naturally provide in the classroom as a teacher, make a real difference when dealing with lines of symmetry at the dining table. You can see the framework below:

Talk with TRUST

Reading

Once upon a time, my daughter was an avid reader. Now, she would rather watch something mind-numbing on YouTube than read a book, so getting her to read daily has become more of a struggle and something that was once joyful has increasingly become a chore. During the course of a normal week with school, work, homework, clubs and hobbies, it has become challenging to set aside time to read together each day. Reading is a way to develop language and communication skills so focusing on this during school closure seems sensible. As we no longer have the problem of lack of time, we have set aside specific time each day to read and using the TRUST reading framework has helped us to structure discussion about what we are reading.

So, is home schooling my 8‑year-old now a walk in the park? Well, no, it remains an absolute rollercoaster but reading the resources provided by the EEF has made me focus more on what is of value and what isn’t. I just need to remind myself of this on those particularly difficult days!

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