Outward Bound's tips for home schooling
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Outward Bound's tips for home schooling

Nick Rhys, Senior Instructor

Working, parenting and teaching are three different jobs. And most of us don't usually choose to do them at the same time!

Although our instructors work with small groups, learning at Outward Bound is focused on the individual. Developing and understanding their learning needs is essential. So if you're home schooling at the moment and are trying to figure out the best way to make it work for you and your child - take a look at these tips from Nick Rhys one of our Senior Instructors.

1. Find your passions

There will be things you are passionate about and there will be things your child is passionate about - where this overlaps is where teaching is easiest.

With a bit of imagination, so many different things can be linked into this area of overlap. Take a moment to look at what is around you.

2. Move on if it's not working

This suggestion is tough to follow, but doing it will definitely save you a lot of stress.

If something is not working, simply give up and move on. Younger children will soon forget about the 'failure' and with older children, you’re modelling a really useful life skill.

3. Don't compare yourself to others

As always, there will be people on social media who appear to be excellent at home schooling. Remember, they may be putting a lot of effort and imagination into creating the impression that they are doing world-class home schooling.

Just be aware that things may not be all they seem.

4. Take it in turns to teach

Think about what your children could teach you, their siblings or others in your household. This doesn't just need to be teaching you how to use technology (although that could be useful!).

As well as reducing the load on you, it's a great way to teach empathy.

5. Try to keep your voice level

This idea is hard to do, but I promise it’s worth it.

Only shout or raise your voice for safety reasons or because you’re feeling joyful - and encourage everyone else to do the same. If this doesn't happen and someone raises their voice, so will the rest of the room. And before you know it, there'll be a lot of noise!

This can take a while to learn but it’s so valuable at Outward Bound that it’s one of the first things we teach all our new instructors.

6. Give them independence

What is apparent to me every week at Outward Bound is the more ownership young people have, the more engagement they show and the longer the learning stays with them.

Consciously, think about how your children could self-choose or self-organise or self-reflect. Another way to give your child independence is not to step in too early - give them time to work things out for themselves if it is safe to do so.

In our experience, young people on their own achieve far more than what they are normally asked to do.

7. Embrace the random

What young people actually learn can be really random! You could have an amazing day planned around one thing and the young people will learn something totally different.

Just go with this and if the planned subject was crucial, return to it another day.

8. Remember you're human

What you do can sometimes be far more important than what you say.

This can include showing acts of kindness as well as displaying some of your weaknesses and mistakes - and talk to them about these too. Your children seeing you are human is important and they can learn a lot from this.

9. Focus on what works best

Try and focus on subjects which can be tough to teach in school.

This could be things like time management or teaching practical things, such as baking (a great activity to help teach patience too!). These are usually very hard to do when you have 29 other pupils in a room so maximise your one-to-one time.

10. Finally, try and enjoy your time together

We know this a difficult time and very challenging, but if you can, try and find a positive in this unusual situation. For instance, try not to underestimate the value of spending time with your children - even if that's all you're able to do. This once-in-a-generation (hopefully!) scenario could be an amazing opportunity.

You will learn more about your family than ever before. You will learn that you are all more than you think.

We hope these ideas and thoughts help you. Remember there is no wrong or right and whichever approach you choose to take, you're already doing an amazing job - even more so if you're a key worker or home schooling whilst working at home yourself!

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