Parents' guide to homeschooling: tips to support learning at home

Parents’ guide to homeschooling: tips to support learning at home

Pearson is a learning company. As well as providing qualifications and teaching and learning resources to schools all around the world, we work closely with experts in education to understand the best approach to teaching. To help you in this difficult time, here are some...


Pearson is a learning company. As well as providing qualifications and teaching and learning resources to schools all around the world, we work closely with experts in education to understand the best approach to teaching. To help you in this difficult time, here are some suggestions to help you with homeschooling.

Looking after your family’s wellbeing

COVID-19 has caused a great deal of worry and uncertainty and is a challenging time for people of all ages. Here are four ways to look after your family’s wellbeing:

1. Limit social media

While social media can bring people closer, it can also be a source of anxiety and worry. Try to remember we are all dealing with this unprecedented time differently, and what works for others does not have to work for you.

2. Remember teachers are expecting children to have had different experiences

It is okay if you cannot give your children your undivided attention. You are not expected to replicate the school day. We are working with teachers to provide support for when schools reopen, and will provide them with tools to manage the next term of teaching. Some time spent on extra-curricular activity can be just as valuable as schoolwork.

3. Take some time to relax

Find time to do something you enjoy. Ask your children what they enjoy doing to relax and schedule that activity into their day and make sure you take breaks.

4. Try a family activity to help you unwind

  • Read a book together
  • Watch a box set
  • Enjoy some arts and crafts
  • Practise mindfulness
  • Exercise.

Keeping your children engaged

We know that it can be difficult to keep your children engaged while they are learning at home. To help make life a little easier, here are four quick tips:

1. Create projects that can be spread over several days

Choose a theme and let your children complete different tasks around that theme. For example, allow your child to gather data on a theme, analyse it, make a craft project connected to it, and then write a story about it or create a short presentation.

2. Be creative with your resources

A lot of online resources are being offered for free, so take the opportunity to try something new. If you are looking for more ideas, a range of new, free resources can be found on our website. Alternatively, you could repurpose materials that are already in your home. Items ready for recycling are often opportunities for creativity!

3. Give rewards and recognition

It is important to make sure your children’s achievements are recognised whatever their age. Sticker charts are surprisingly effective for younger children. For older children, if they’re willing, share their successes with friends and family outside your home.

4. Use your home items as a project

  • Swap ingredients when baking to experiment with recipes
  • Gather insects, flowers or other objects from the garden and draw or paint them
  • Collect data from life outside your window and create fact sheets about where you live
  • Watch a film and write a review or adapt the story line.

Selecting the right resources

Since school closures, more and more online resources have been created, and this has presented its own challenges for parents. To help you identify which resources are best for your family, here are four ideas:

1. Start with the resources your school has provided

Worksheets or tasks provided by the school can give you an indication of what areas to focus on, and what type of resources are suitable – then you can look for others on the same themes.

2. Be creative with your resources

Save time and reduce printing costs by getting children to write key information or answers on a notepad, rather than printing worksheets. If you have more than one (younger) child, you could try splitting the screen on a laptop so they can work simultaneously, or rotate activities.

Use resources around the home to create projects, such as playing with magnets or rewriting a story. Use the environment around you to keep children engaged, like growing vegetables on the window sill.

3. Select our free resources to suit your needs

We are providing Bug Club eBooks, Abacus maths games and access to The Maths Factor for primary-aged children for free. We also have free eBooks on our website for secondary-aged children. See our range of free activities and tools for primary and secondary parents.

4. Enjoy a host of other free resources

Organising your time

We know that organising your time can be difficult now schools are closed, so here you will find four quick tips which we hope will make your life a little easier:

1. Create a routine with your children

Wake up at a regular time and have breakfast. Start the day with some exercise or an online workout. Children are often more focused in the mornings, so these might be best for academic subjects. If possible, leave the creative tasks until the afternoon. Split the day into suitable-sized learning blocks, according to your child’s age and usual lesson times. Take a look at our planners for more advice on this:

Primary homeschool planner (PDF | 2.65 MB)

Summer term homeschool planners

2. Know it’s okay to break the routine sometimes

It’s okay to adapt your schedule if you or your children struggle some days. Take advantage of any live activities, such as a live streamed performance or live zoo webcam. If you are able to leave the house safely, alternate between mornings and afternoons, as this allows you to make comparisons about the things you see and creates a change of routine.

3. Take breaks at the same time as your children

Make sure your family’s day is broken into manageable chunks and, if you can, take breaks as a family, which are frequent and fun. Fit the breaks around your own work/time/other commitments. Remember to build in time for exercise, screen time and play, as well as learning.

4. Try one of these creative afternoon activities

Good activities for younger children are:

  • art and crafts
  • modelling with clay
  • threading beads
  • and other activities to increase their fine motor skills.

Older children may want to:

  • cook (along with their friends on a FaceTime call maybe?)
  • carry out safe at-home science experiments
  • make artwork, music, short films or animations.

However you use this time, we wish you the best! And if you’re looking for more support, you’ll find more articles for parents here.


This article was first published on the Pearson UK Learners site.

In this article