So you’ve decided you want to have a real go at homeschooling. What now?
It’s time to start thinking like a teacher. And here’s how.
Maybe your child’s schooling has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, their school isn’t operating normal hours or you’ve just decided homeschooling is best for you and your family. But how do you get started? And what do you teach?
Firstly, you need to look at what you are going to teach. You already have a broad outline from developing a schedule but it is important to identify the topics you will be teaching and skills your child will be learning. This is called a scheme of work and covers a series of lessons. It is important to note that if your child is of school age then you can refer directly to The National Curriculum. This framework will give you an idea of what should be taught within each subject and what skills your child should be developing at different stages.
If you decide not to use The National Curriculum and have more flexibility over the style, method and content of learning, you still need to develop a scheme of work with what you want your child to learn and when. A good idea is to teach topics, using their interests and passions, to keep your child focused. For example: Space, The Stone Age or Dinosaurs. You will be able to take your child on a learning journey throughout each topic and intertwine specific skills (reading, counting, mathematical and scientific knowledge, moral and spiritual awareness), engaging your child in cross curricular learning.
Tip : Outside of school, lessons have the scope to be more creative, imaginative and take many different forms. However it is important to follow some basic principles to ensure your child is learning most effectively.
Planning a Lesson
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to teach, the next step is planning the individual lessons. A lesson plan provides the structure that you and your child might need and reduce confusion surrounding the learning process. It helps breaks down a subject into smaller, manageable chunks with specific objectives and goals to achieve. Lesson plans can become a guidebook for your child’s learning journey.
A lesson plan starts with a learning objective. This is a question that your child will work towards answering by the end of the lesson and should follow on from the previous lesson objective.
Tip : Every lesson will not go to plan, even for the most experienced teachers.
Example Lesson Plan
1. Starter (5-10mins)
The start of a lesson will be when your child is most receptive and concentration levels are high. During this time the learning objective and goals should be introduced in a way that ensures your child is excited and motivated about the topic they are learning. This can be done through a short, quick paced activity that reflects the content of your lesson and is pitched at an achievable level. This time can also be used to recap learning from the previous lesson.
2. Main (30-40mins)
Now your child is focused and engaged, this part of the lesson should incorporate direct instruction, guided practice and independent learning. The instruction of the lesson’s concepts needs to be short, clear and concise. This is followed by time for your child to practise and apply skills that you might have demonstrated or instructed. Finally, time is needed for your child to complete tasks independently, to reinforce skills and demonstrate their understanding of the lessons’s learning goals.
3. Plenary (5-10mins)
This is the conclusion to your lesson and where you will assess to what extent the learning objectives were met. This can be acheieved in the form of questions, discussions, a quiz or refelective activities. This can give your child a sense of resolution and is an informative approach for next steps.
Tip : Remember both schemes of work and lessons plans should be flexible and be working documents. You should feel like you can add to them at any time or alter them completely if your child is struggling or advancing well within a lesson.