Coronavirus Closure - A Guide to Home Learning

A Guide to Home Learning for Parents

 

We are entering a world, with little warning, where parents and children are forced to adjust to a new rhythm of school and work at home. The dual challenge that lies ahead for parents is to manage new ways of working, while ensuring our children do not disappear into social media and video games but remain motivated, healthy and happy.

 

Hopefully, this Guide to Home Learning for Parents will give you some ideas and practical guidance for the weeks and months to come.  If you would like to download your own copy of this guide in PDF format click here.

 

How to Access Home Learning

 

Students at The Blue School access their home learning via the Google Classrooms platform.  Your child(ren) should follow the steps below: 

1.      Navigate to Google Classroom via your web browser or click the following link: https://www.theblueschoolwells.co.uk/section.php/1228/1/google_classroom


2.      Log in to Google using their school gmail address and password:

 

1.      Email = yourfirstname.yoursurname@theblueschoolwells.co.uk

 

2.      Password = the same as their school network log-in password

 

3.      Click on the classrooms that have been assigned to them.  If they can't find a particular class, they can ask to join one by clicking on the "+" icon in the top right of the screen, then selecting "join".

 

4.      Enter the classroom code for their class or year, provided by your teacher and found on the school website here:  https://www.theblueschoolwells.co.uk/section.php/1228/1/google_classroom

 

5.      Your child(ren) can also access their online classrooms via the Google Classrooms app on their smartphone or tablet.  Download the app from your app store then follow the steps above.

 

Additional information about using Google Classroom can be found in our "Students" section.  If you would like further advice and support on using Google Classroom, have a look at the recently uploaded video found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Iowi-gmbys

 

Expectations


  • If your child is in Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 & 9), they will be expected to complete an extended project set by their teacher, in each of their subjects.  (There will be no work set for Core PE).  The project can be completed offline and should take the equivalent number of hours that they would have spent in lessons over the fortnight.  They will not be required to submit the work online, but may do so in online discussion with the member of staff.  We will determine an appropriate assessment when we know more about how the summer term will be organised.
  • If your child is in Key Stage 4 or 5 (Years 10 & 12), they will be expected to complete specific tasks set by their teacher.  The tasks may include a mixture of online and offline activities and they should take the equivalent number of hours that they would have spent in lessons over the fortnight.  They may be required to submit the work online, but other work may be handed in when they return to school.  The teacher will then determine an appropriate assessment and communicate this with your child.
  • If your child is in Year 11 or Year 13, they will not be required to complete further work and that includes any outstanding coursework.  Some students are worried that this will affect their predicted grade.  It will not.  The grades will be assessed based on the information that we already have.  When we have further clarification from the government, we will let you know.  For the time being, we will set tasks which keep them engaged in the subject and help them to prepare for future study, as appropriate.  They should feel free to ask questions of subject teachers on the "stream" class pages.
  • Your child will be able to ask their teacher questions about the tasks that have been set.  They should use the "stream" function on their Google Classroom page.  All members of the class will be able to read the comments posted.  Teachers will aim to respond to these comments within 48 hours, during normal school hours.

 

General Advice

 

It is not realistic to create a normal school day in the home environment. Use the ideas below to help your child's Home Learning experience be successful:

  • If possible, try to create a space where home learning can happen; ideally this will be a flat, clutter free surface, such as the dining table or a desk, near a computer. If you do not have internet access, the school will provide you with a learning pack. 
  • A good rule of thumb with regards to how long young people should spend studying is 15 minutes per day for each year of the young person's life. For example, a 12 year old should learn for 3 hours a day and a 14 year old should learn for 3 and 1/2 hours. Obviously, students who owe crucial work may need, in the short term, to spend longer than this on their studies.
  • Try to break the learning time down into manageable chunks and include this time in your daily routine. (See below for more advice on your daily routine) These chunks will obviously have to fit around other commitments you and your family have. Also, allow short breaks within the home learning time.
  • Try to get the balance right between prioritising the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, and letting them guide their own learning. By allowing them some control over their learning and by not dictating and criticising too much, Home Learning time will not be a time of the day your child dreads.
  • Reward! Staff will continue to award praise points for work completed that can be spent in the online epraise shop. Positive reinforcement from parents will make Home Learning even more successful. This could be in the form of increased Screen Time or staying up later.

 

Your Daily Routine

 

It is widely accepted that young people need routine in their lives. A structure to the day improves mental health, provides comfort and feelings of safety and reduces anxiety. The need for structure and routine is even more important in times of uncertainty such as these.  

There are many examples to be found online of daily routines for families and young people. As well as time for Home Learning, a daily schedule could, and often should, include the following:

 

Exercise and Outdoor Time

More and more of us are joining online exercise classes and some of us have home gym equipment, however, at this point in time, we are still allowed outside! Making sure that young people release their energy is crucial so try to factor in two opportunities a day for this. While keeping in mind social distancing parameters, activities could include walking (with or without a dog), cycling, or gardening (Spring is just about here!).

 

Creative Time 

Allowing time for young people to be creative will benefit them and you! Activities away from screens, that are not focussed on the academic side of learning, can develop skills needed and to be enjoyed in other areas of life. They could include playing games, baking, cooking, arts, music or craft activities. Depending on your commitments and schedule, you can also take part!

 

Chore Time 

For many of you, this may seem like a distant dream but as families will now, it seems, have to spend a lot more time together, it is important that we all have a part to play. Assigning roles will help young people feel a sense of purpose that will help them cope with the uncertainty that lies ahead. By giving them a chore, such as walking the dog or vacuuming the ground floor, you will give them a much needed sense of responsibility.

 

Quiet Time 

Even if it is for just half an hour a day, an activity away from screens such as reading or drawing, will not only help improve literacy or concentration levels, but will hopefully provide a sense of calm, thus maintaining the mental health of our young people.

 

Family Time and "Me Time" 

It is also essential that quality family time is planned into our days. We all need time away from the pressures of work and learning to try and enjoy each other's company. This could be the morning walk, meal times, a film in the evening etc . Don't forget that at some point you will need some "Me Time" to ensure that you stay mentally healthy too!

 

Free / Screen Time 

It would be sensible to schedule in free or screen time towards the end of the day as a reward for our young people to aim for throughout the day. However, it is important to remember that screens should be turned off at least an hour before bedtime to reduce anxiety and enable a good night's sleep!

  

We hope you have found this guide useful.  If you have any further questions about your child's Home Learning, please contact the school in the usual way:

Call: 01749 678799

Email: office@blue.somerset.sch.uk

We will endeavour to reply as soon as possible.