Staying Home & Homeschooling: 5 Tips from Tech Will Save Us parents

In the past couple of weeks, the parents here at Tech Will Save Us have been sharing loads of stories and advice among themselves on how to manage staying home and homeschooling their children.

We’ve put some of those activities in our homeschooling Ebook which you can access here. Today though, we wanted to share some more of those tips with you guys too in the hopes it will give you some new ideas for activities and tips to keep you and the kids entertained & learning during the spring holidays! That’s why we’ve asked the parents in our team what advice they’d give to other parents from their experience.

Here’s what they came back with:

Bethany Koby - CEO & Mom to Ash (8yo) and Apollo (1yo)

My son Ash and I made a ‘school at home’ schedule. He designed it and decided what subjects he wanted to do. For example, Ash wanted to do creative tech, and nature walks. He also wanted reading breaks when he can have a snack and read. Sounds like an awesome day to me! 

My mom also mentioned to me that we could also go with the Montessori Method for this type of schedule and not give a fixed time to allow the child as much as he needs to finish each activity. If you’re looking for more flexibility in your homeschooling schedule I recommend going the Montessori way!

You can learn more about the Montessori method here.

Ben Takemori - Global Sales Director & Dad to Maya (7yo) and Toby (4yo)

One thing I’ve quickly learned on this stay-at-home journey is that you’ve just got to accept there will be chaos in your house. Being a parent (particularly with multiple kids) chaos is already part of everyday life. However, having everyone home 24/7 brings things to a whole new level.

Under normal circumstances, I’m a bit of a neat freak and like to keep things clean and orderly. Now with everyone stuck home, I’ve quickly had to accept that that just ain’t gonna be possible. Kitchen tables now double up as homework and art tables. Living rooms become, well, LIVING rooms. While I (try) to impose “clean up times” throughout the day, things are inevitably and unavoidably messier than they were PP (pre-pandemic) and that is just how it is. So I’ve decided to make like Elsa and just Let It…well you know.

I’d like also like to share an activity we recently discovered that is not only great for the kids but also has turned out to be a nice distraction for me as well: Daily Doodles with Mo Willems. Mo is one of our favourite kids’ authors: the Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie etc.

He hosts a daily drawing session online – where you get to do a drawing together plus see his studio, his early drawings and even ask him questions. The kids have really enjoyed it and surprisingly, so have I. I mean, since I’ve already finished Tiger King, I’ve got the time. Attempted jokes aside, it’s actually been a great way for me to disconnect from constant Corona news feeds and just let my mind doodle away. Plus it’s great quality time with the kids!

On that note – here’s a link to the doodle sessions for anyone interested.

Chris Catton - Head of Product & Dad to Arthur (7yo) & Fred (3yo)

This is a bit terrifying with two over-energetic boys. Arthur (7) needs regular support and guidance and Fred (3) needs almost constant attention. Luckily there is two of us so we’ll do a couple of hours on duty each then swap recognising both of us will need breaks between caring and working too. We are also trying to set up an area in the house or studio where they can work that becomes “school” and not “home” to help them mentally switch too which I would recommend everyone tries!

My boys are not exactly the most responsive to more organised homeschooling, but here are a few things we do that sneaks the learning in while having fun:

  • Lots of arts and crafts projects (making cards, painting canvas’ etc.) but nothing too big as anything that lasts longer than 30mins can end in tears for us.
  • We also have tonnes of tech and engineering supplies at home too (as you can imagine) so our projects can sometimes get levelled-up.
  • We play lots of board games which is handy for sneaking in counting and maths, even better when we add in our own rules like making animal noises for example.
  • We have tonnes of apps that have some learning aspects that will get used at times.
  • Lego is the main physical go to, to make it more constructive though we add challenges for what they have to build as well as making them work together to complete them.

Amanda Odeh - Retail Sales Executive & Mom to Malina (3yo)

I found turning activities into a game really works. For instance, if we are doing flashcards and she’s losing interest, I put the cards on the floor and ask her to imitate whatever animal I said. It’s really helped her learn and have fun! Here’s how you can do it too: 

  • Take your flashcards and lay them face down on a table or on the floor.
  • Ask your child to pick up a random card and act like the animal on it for 10-20 seconds. Bonus points for realism or comedy!
  •  If your child isn’t sure what the animal sounds or moves like, set a task of finding a video of it on youtube and copying it!
  • Want to level it up? Players need to tell an interesting fact about the animal before they can claim the card. You can take the lead here!

If you don’t have flashcards at home, there are loads of online resources where you can download flashcard templates for free!

Liam Fisher - Digital Director & Dad to Gabriel (7yo) and Audrey (5mo)

Our main aim will be to stick to the school routine as much as possible, so 9 am till 3:30 pm is “school” time with playtime breaks in the morning, midday and afternoon. We’re working on topics and lessons that he recognises from class in similar time slots that he normally has. Then after 3:30 pm we try and do something constructive for an hour before dinner but most of the time it’s just more non-screentime play.

However, what really worked for us was breaking activities out into 30/45 minute chunks. It helped him stay engaged for longer and gave us some time to focus on our own work! If you’re struggling with this I recommend trying to structure activities this way, it worked wonders for us!

We’d love to hear from you! If you have any other advice or activities you’ve done in the past weeks that you think will help other parents too, give us a shout on social media using @techwillsaveus  and we’ll share it with our wider community too!

You can also join our Facebook Group, #Stay Home: Ideas for Parents & Kids,  for daily ideas of activities to do with your kids at home.