These are unprecedented times and there is scarcely an industry or sector unaffected by the measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Following school closures in the UK, thousands of students and their parents have had to acclimatise to a new normal; working from home with only remote contact with teachers, supervisors and tutors. Everyone’s different, and while some students will transition well to a new study environment, others may struggle. Here are some important factors to be aware of to get the most out of your home schooling efforts.
This is perhaps the most crucial aspect. Without the usual ebb and flow of school life, the brain needs structure to signal that it’s time to learn. Research from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has showed how important established routines are for children and adolescents for effective and happy home schooling. A weekly study plan will help students feel secure in their learning and help parents monitor and encourage their progress.
It’s important that the student has their own designated space in which to work. If possible, this ought to be a space free from distraction and one not used for anything else. The physical act of entering and leaving the study space helps the brain to switch on and off, crucial both for effective home schooling and rest. Because our outdoor activities are limited, it’s also important that the space be well lit with natural light. This helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, or body clock, and keeps our sleep patterns healthy – vital for concentration and focus.
It’s worth remembering how much of school life is not directly related to subject learning. When thinking about a routine it’s important to try and build in the physical, creative and social aspects of a school day. Countless studies have shown how exercise assists in learning, retention and focus, so a long walk with the family or a game of football in the garden can be more than just a break from study. If students don’t have ready access to outdoor space, there are plenty of online resources for home workouts too.
There is no doubt that this is a troubling time, and the interruptions to school life – especially for those taking public exams – will reverberate for some time. The unfortunate truth is that the best we can do for each other to beat this virus is what feels like doing not very much at all. But this ought not to mean that passions and interests gather dust. Aside from curricula and course material, there are techniques and skills that will stand students in good stead for sixth-form, university applications and beyond. In other words, it’s possible that we could look back at this time and not remember it for its limitations but for its opportunities – and if you’re stuck for ideas, there’s plenty online to give you some inspiration.
No two students are the same, and every family is affected differently by this pandemic. One-on-one tutoring is most valuable in its capacity to match the needs of a student with the expertise and experience of a dedicated specialist. The time and flexibility this affords benefits both students who are struggling in a particular area, and those who want to be challenged with more advanced material.
Consistent feedback and a warm approach have long been at the heart of Lotus Tutors. We are Oxfordshire’s only local, family-run tutoring company to be reviewed in the Good Schools Guide, and our values shine through their report (which you can read here). We offer bespoke tutoring through our matchless online portal for students approaching all levels of education, from Common Entrance, through GCSE, A-Level and IB, to undergraduate.