REALISTIC free educational activities for children during isolation

Finding genuinely enriching activities that children will engage with can feel impossible when there are infinite video games to be played and films to be watched during isolation. I have been recommending individual activities to the parents of my own students, and the three key considerations are:

  1. Choose activities that are a bit different to what they would be asked to do at school, so that they feel special.
  2. Explore topics and subjects that aren’t included in the main school curriculum, but would still benefit them.
  3. Don’t overload them with options – one main activity a day will be more memorable and meaningful.

I have recommended three tasks below, which can be adapted to meet individual interests and levels.


ACTIVITY 1: ARTISTIC reading  – audiobooks plus DRAWING

This is a good one for children who like to draw and who would benefit from extra reading/story time. Audiobooks allow children to hear wonderful stories and improve their vocabulary, especially when there is a good narrator. While independent, silent reading is brilliant, it is just as important for children to hear words spoken correctly and with the right intonation to learn to love language.

How to do it:

  • The app/website Audible has made a selection of stories FREE, without the need for an account. Head over to https://stories.audible.com/discovery to access these.
  • Ideally, choose an unabridged story and ask your child to read along with the story by downloading the book online. This will let them follow the vocabulary and see how the narrator emphasises words to give meaning.
  • However, for a completely free version, or if your child is reluctant, they can simply enjoy the words without the text.
  • At the end of each chapter or listening session, simply pause the audiobook and have fun drawing the main characters and events. Cartoon comic strips can be particularly fun to create. As well as being a bit of fun, doing this really encourages children to visualise stories, which is important for comprehension.


Activity 2: Learn to code for free

No one can deny that this is an increasingly important skill for children to learn in our tech-centric world. Schools do now teach some basic coding, but there has never been a better opportunity to invest a good amount of consistent energy into this. Coding also teaches children to think logically and break actions into chronological steps. Parents should sit with their children while they learn to navigate the site they choose, but within no time their children will be able to complete the tasks independently.

How to do it:

  • There are lots of different websites that teach children how to code. For beginners, I suggest starting with Studio Code, which has created amazing guided Hour of Code lessons. Children learn to code a project in an hour, such as a Dance Party animation to share with friends or a Frozen themed game. The beauty of the site is that children should be able to follow the steps independently. Head to https://code.org/learn for their full options.
  • For more experienced coders or older children, there are other websites to explore. I recommend Code Emoji (https://www.codemoji.com/) and Scratch, which was developed by MIT (https://scratch.mit.edu/ ).

Activity 3: Do something musical!

Music has innumerable benefits for brain development, despite being sadly underrepresented in the average school timetable. If your child has instrumental lessons already, it’s a good opportunity to encourage them to practise more. If not, encourage them to get creative. Either way, to make this activity realistic, it’s important to emphasise fun possibilities, rather than instructing them to do repetitive rehearsals they will resent.

How to do it:

  • For children who already play an instrument: They can try to figure out the notes to songs they already know, make up their own music or make a video diary to monitor their progress. Without school, they have more time to be creative, so they don’t just need to repeat the ‘bare minimum’ their instrumental teacher asks for each week. You can also find free ear training exercises (useful for ABRSM aural preparation) at https://tonesavvy.com/music-practice-exercise/215/interval-identification-ear-training/
  • For everyone: get singing! There are plenty of karaoke versions of popular songs on YouTube, which they can commit to learning off by heart and performing for family, or for a video diary.
  • If you have an unused instrument gathering dust at home: Dig it out and get googling some free tutorials – there are lots of free lessons available for every instrument imaginable!

At Tempus, we are helping our students and parents through the Coronavirus isolation. You can find out more about how online homeschooling help works on our method page, and get in touch if I might be able to help.

Chloe

Support with remote learning during Coronavirus

It looks unlikely that children will be returning to schools in the UK any time soon, as is also the case for many Tempus international students. The support we are offering falls broadly into two categories:

Remote learning check-ins: 30-60 minute sessions to help children recap school work and clarify any issues their teachers cannot respond to individually. It is often more efficient and effective for an external tutor to take on this role, preventing fall-outs from children playing up for parents.

Focussed subject support: a regular slot to work on specific subjects. Many people are requesting Maths and English sessions to ensure their children continue to improve in these core subjects. However, we are still offering support cross all subjects, from Geography to French.

If you want to discuss online tuition, get in touch. I have interviewed and brought on an increased range of tutors across academic subjects and hourly price points to help with increased demand. I personally vouch for the ability and reliability of each tutor, and where there are multiple subjects being tutored, I oversee the whole programme for ease of communication and planning.

Chloe

Corona: Your child might still have to take their GCSEs or A Levels.

Last week, the UK government announced that GCSEs and A Levels would not be taking place as usual in June 2019. However, much still needs to be clarified at this stage, and I am worried that the message has been oversimplified in the midst of the daily news coverage and updates. I would caution Year 11 and 13 students against dropping their textbooks prematurely.

WHAT WE KNOW

Students’ grades will be set by their school teachers in accordance to marks gained in mocks and internal assessments. This may disadvantage students who were relying on a ‘final push’ to the finish line. Secondary to this, the government is clear that students who are not happy with their grade will have the option of sitting their exams ‘early in the next academic year’. This is the message that has been largely missed in the media: some GCSE/A LEVEL students may still need, or choose, to take their exams next year. At this stage, I would personally encourage parents to ensure that their child completes their specifications and has completed good revision notes. At the very least, this will stand them in good academic stead for whatever they choose to do next; for some, it will be a vital part of preparing to sit the exams next year.

If you want to discuss online tuition, get in touch. I have interviewed and brought on an increased range of tutors across academic subjects and hourly price points to help with increased demand. I personally vouch for the ability and reliability of each tutor, and where there are multiple subjects being tutored, I oversee the whole programme for ease of communication and planning.

Chloe

Online tuition during Covid-19

This is a concerning time for many parents, as children are likely to miss out on at least a term’s worth of their formal, structured education. Many schools have announced a switch to online learning platforms, but my observation of remote work set by schools so far has been that the standard of work is notably lower than would usually be expected. This could prevent students reaching their academic potential. In addition, while I believe that remote learning could encourage greater academic independence, the reality is that many students are struggling to achieve the same level of focus and learning as they would at school. There will inevitably be an enormous amount of pressure on students and teachers to ‘catch up’ when the current restrictions lift and schools resume. News outlets are now also reporting that restrictions may be cyclical, which would result in a lack of stability for students should schools need to switch repeatedly between physical and remote learning. All things considered, it is understandable that many are worried about maintaining the quality of their children’s education.

 

I have received an enormous increase in demand for online tuition over the past two weeks. I have summarised the services available below:

 

Tempus Tutoring Services

  • Subject tuition: Coverage of KS3 topics, 13+ or (i)GCSE/A Level/Pre U exam syllabuses. This is especially recommended for Year 10/12 students who may miss several terms of schooling before sitting their examinations next academic year. Note that some Year 11/13 Students may still need to sit their examinations in the UK.

  • Skills tuition: Tuition in reading, writing, science or maths to ensure that children do not fall behind, and that their ability continues to improve.

  • Support with remote learning: Many schools are switching to remote learning platforms. We can provide support with this, such as helping students keep on top of their work or providing weekly assistance to clarify topics that would ordinarily have been revisited in class.

As you and your family settle into a new school routine, do reach out if I can help. I have interviewed and brought on an increased range of tutors across academic subjects and hourly price points to help with increased demand. I personally vouch for the ability and reliability of each tutor, and where there are multiple subjects being tutored, I oversee the whole programme for ease of communication and planning.

Chloe