Written by Jemma Zoe Smith, director of Oxford-based home schooling service The Education Hotel

The Education Hotel has been supporting home-schoolers for the last eight years and working with online students for the last five years.

We work with many families and teachers within Oxford.

The global pandemic of coronavirus has forced schools to shut, causing many parents to become impromptu home educators with no experience or training.

If you’re in that boat, here are our top tips for helping your child study - so you can get some work done too.

For all ages -

  • Have shorter days: your children’s typical school day might be six or more hours long, plus homework, but one-to-one home schooling is much more intensive than studying in a classroom.
  • Structure the day: even adults have difficulty with working from home without appropriate structure, and it’s harder for kids. Have strict start, finish, break and lunchtimes. You could even consider having them wear school uniform to get in the right frame of mind.
  • Be flexible: this might seem contradictory, but some flexibility is important too. A good teacher will call a halt to an activity that isn’t working; you should be prepared to do the same.

ALSO READ: Which schools are COMPLETELY closed this week?

For primary school children -

  • Keep activities short: your child might have an hour of English or mathematics in their timetable, but that doesn’t mean an hour on a single activity. A six-year-old might have a 15-minute attention span while a 10-year-old can manage up to half an hour. Switch activities when their attention runs out.
  • Accept any kind of learning: this isn’t the time for sticking closely to the curriculum. If your child is planting seeds, knitting, baking a cake, reading a book or even doing household chores, they’re learning something, and that’s great.
  • Encourage siblings to teach one another: teaching is one of the most effective ways to learn, so why not have an older child teach a younger one? Both will benefit - and you’ll get time off.

For secondary school children -

  • Encourage them not to worry: children who have been under pressure about upcoming exams might now be anxious about what happens next. Reassure them that everyone will understand why their education was disrupted, and they won’t be penalised.
  • Create fun tasks: liven up academic subjects by letting your child be sillier than usual. Instead of the same old boring essay titles, you could get your child to consider which character in Hamlet would cope best under coronavirus quarantine.
  • Involve them in your own work: do you have tasks you could delegate to a brand-new intern? Your child could learn a great deal from managing your inbox or proofreading for you, and it’ll save you time as well.

For more advice visit educationhotel.co.uk.