During these changing and challenging times, Dr Amelia Roberts shares research that supports practical ways to support children and young people while home schooling.

Real life learning is powerful and brings with it opportunities to develop learning in a real life context, which can help to deepen the thinking and learning for children and young people.

There are clear guidelines about how this can be achieved. The areas include:

Developing vocabulary and encouraging talk.

Multisensory learning. People learn better when they can see, hear and interact.

Cross curricular activities. This approach enables children and young people to make connections, transfer knowledge and build their understanding and confidence. This ultimately results in continuity and comprehension of topics being more thorough, whilst applying critical thinking as they identify, categorise, compare and find themes.

Long term memory development. This works well if we can make sense of information for our selves. If someone gives you a fact about something that is of interest to you, you are more likely to remember it. This further reiterates the importance of making learning more personalised.

Achieving real life learning

To achieve real life learning, everything needs to be slowed down and every step should be seen as a learning opportunity. This can be achieved by including children and young people in decision making. For example, asking questions like ‘what do you think will be a nutritious supper?’ or ‘What meal can we create for everyone at home?’. This will help them to develop confidence and will provide opportunities to have conversations about the preferences of people in the household.

According to researchers from the Institute of Education there are 7 key principles of learning which  can be applied to the home schooling context.

Prime areas include: personal social and emotional development, physical development, and communication and language.

Specific areas include:  literacy, maths, understanding the world and expressive art and design.

The importance of vocabulary

Research into vocabulary has exploded recently. It has been found that there is a link between language development and vocabulary, and the future prospects of children and young people at school and later on, in their careers.

Home schooling is an opportunity to enrich children’s vocabulary and allow them to feel comfortable using new found  words in context. A way this can be done is by choosing an area of interest to them, or sharing yours and creating an image or a mind map to show the new word and link this to other areas of knowledge; further cementing their learning.

Another way to improve language and increase vocabulary is by reading together and asking questions to spark conversations. Recall questions are particularly useful. If there are older siblings in the household then a family activity can help to achieve this too as younger children are exposed to the language used by older family members.

How to use everyday activities to aid learning

To reinforce learning, here are some examples of how you can link an ordinary activity to the school based curriculum.

Cooking

Art. Draw in different styles and angles the finished dish.  

Design. Illustrate and write up the recipe to help with sequencing. Recalling can also help with memory.  

Maths. Counting and weighing, recording, and adding and subtracting quantities of ingredients. Explore increasing and decreasing quantities by half or quarter, and ratios.

Writing. Design a poster explaining the finished dish.  

Photography. Take photos of each stage and explain the process.

Vocabulary. Name ingredients, tastes, textures, smells and consistencies.

Outdoors

Maths. Count as you walk or try counting backwards.

Art. Pick up twigs and leaves for collages.

Science. Discuss the type of habitats you can see and explore the types of animals and insects that live there. Write a report at the end of the activity.

For more examples and resources you can watch Amelia’s webinar below.