Coronavirus: information and updates

Homeschooling during lockdown

With schools closing, many parents are homeschooling their children. This may be more challenging if your child has Special Educational Needs (SEN). But there's online support and a range of educational and fun activities to help you through this difficult time.

If your child has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), they may still be able to go to school.

School closures, coronavirus and EHCPs

Find out what support your child's school can give you

Schools should provide guidance and support in home learning tasks for your child. They should tell you what your child needs to learn to continue their education. If they have not, ask them for help or contact your local authority's education department for support.

If your child gets SEN support or has an EHCP, the school and local authority still have a duty to support your child even if they are staying home. Talk to your child’s school about what they can continue to provide at home, such as support sessions with a specialist teacher over video.

If you’re not getting support from the school, complain to your local authority. They should help make sure your child gets the provision in their EHCP or a reasonable alternative while they are at home.

Contact your local authority (GOV.UK)

Avoid comparing yourself to others

Every family and every child is different. Some families can commit a lot of time to their child's learning, while others are balancing working from home and children with varying needs. Try not to compare yourself with other families.

You are not expected to provide the full curriculum to your child. All children will learn at different levels during lockdown. The most important thing is keeping your family happy and healthy.

Motivation and routine

There are a few ways you can help your child with motivation and encourage positive learning.

Helping your child with motivation and confidence

It can also help to create a homeschooling schedule or routine. Within your schedule, you may find it useful to give your child a choice of 2 educational activities. This helps them to feel they have a choice.

For example:

"What would you like to do? We could draw a picture of a rainbow for the window or we could do a science quiz."

Resources and activities

There are plenty of online resources, from teaching packs and activities to apps and online games. We've tried to collect together a range of activities to suit children with different abilities and needs. There are many more online and you'll know best the type of activities that suit your child.

Homeschool resources for children with SEND

There are some resources that could be particularly helpful for children with SEND:

You could also look at advice on managing behaviour and new routines:

Home education website lists

Education packs and resources

Fun things that inspire learning

Educational listening and watching

Educational apps

  • Duolingo for languages
  • Photomath explains how to answer maths questions or solve an equation
  • Kahoot offers easy-to-use learning games for study at home and a new self-study section
  • Star Walk app for learning about stars and planets, use the device at night to see constellations for a fun activity with your kids
  • SoloLearn makes learning to code a game

Online games

Some websites are organised by American school system but you can easily search online for the UK equivalent age groups. You could try:

Virtual tours and online exhibitions from around the world

You could create some activity sheets about what you see or learn about each place or exhibition.

Exercise and physical activities

Homeschooling and your mental health

Looking after your own mental health is important. If you can, avoid setting yourself unrealistic expectations.

Mental health and coronavirus

All homeschooling parents will be worrying about how they're teaching and how their child is doing compared to other kids. Adding more stress and anxiety around schooling will not help. Remember that you are an expert on your child and any time spent at home can be a positive educational experience.

Think about things you can do with your children that you may also find relaxing and therapeutic. This could be:

Learning does not have to be structured academic lessons. When you walk outside and see the seasons changing, this can lead onto biology, nature and the weather. While baking a cake, you could talk about how heat changes ingredients from solids to liquids or you could practise maths skills with weighing and measuring.

Children also learn a lot of valuable skills through play. You can focus on things like how you are working as a team or how creative they are becoming.

Write down at the end of each day something you have achieved as a family.

Coronavirus mental health and wellbeing toolkit (Mentally Healthy Schools)

Balancing work with homeschooling

It can be hard to give your child attention 100% of the time while you're working. Speak to your employer about flexible working and other options to help you homeschool and work.

You can also use some techniques to manage interruptions, such as creating a timetable with things like:

  • quality time
  • scheduled breaks
  • deciding who is on 'parent duty' if you live with your partner
  • screen time, using both educational and recreational games or TV shows

Flexible working with children

Speak to other parents for help

Talking to other parents about resources, support or techniques that they're using or found worked well can be helpful. You could:

Many local authorities have parent carer forums that work with the council to make sure that local services meet the needs of disabled children and their families. Ask your local authority if there is a parent carer forum in your area.

Contact your local authority (GOV.UK)

Support groups for parents

Last reviewed by Scope on: 20/04/2020

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