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Resources to support your child's learning

Now most kids are back at school, their teachers will be doing everything they can to help them get back into the swing of learning. Some children may not be able to go into school, either because of their health or because they are having to self-isolate. Whatever the reason, their school will provide them with learning to do at home. But if you're looking for resources to help support your child’s learning, either in school or at home, there are plenty of easy-to-use materials out there. To stop it all feeling totally overwhelming, we’ve worked together with Education Scotland to pull together our top picks. 

There’s no such thing as lost learning

If you’re worried that your child has missed out on learning during lockdown, you needn’t be. In this short film, Dr Janet Goodall from the Learning Foundation explains that there’s no such thing as ‘lost learning’ and that children have been learning all the time during this strange situation.

If you only use one resource…

Use BBC Bitesize. It has resources for kids of all ages, including a number of educational and entertaining videos that can give you a break. The BBC Newsround page is a good way for kids to keep up to date with the news if they want to find out what’s happening. If you want something more fun but also educational try the CBeebies and CBBC pages.

Maths resources

Helping your kids with maths might be a little daunting at first. Sumdog, the Maths Week Scotland website and Numberblocks are great places to start.

Our page on helping with maths homework has lots of suggestions for ways to make maths fun.

Reading resources

Again, BBC Bitesize is your friend! The Scottish Book Trust also has a great site.

Our page on helping kids with their spelling homework has lots of suggestions for ways to make spelling fun.

Tips for helping children learn at home

Tip #1: Show an interest

Ask your kids about their day and some can’t wait to tell you everything they’ve learned, while others will just shrug. It helps if you ask them open questions, that they can’t reply to with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Here are some questions to help you help them open up.

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Tip #2: Help them plan their time

It’s the day that fills every parent with pride and fear: the day when your kids start bringing back homework. One of the best ways you can help them with it is to sit with them to plan their time. Make sure there’s time set aside for them to do their homework, so they’re not doing it last thing at night. For example, how about giving them some time to relax and play when they get home, and then getting them to do their homework before or after tea? Or maybe they’d like to get their homework out of the way first, so the rest of the evening is free? Ask them what they’d prefer – although ‘not doing it at all’ isn’t an option!

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Tip #3: Make some space

It can help if children have a designated place to do their homework, away from other distractions like the TV. Different children like to work in different ways, so it’s nice to talk this through with them and maybe try out some different places. Remember, they may learn in a different way from you! Some kids may prefer to be in the same room as you, so they can ask questions and discuss their work, whereas others may prefer to be on their own so they can concentrate. Likewise, some may like to listen to music, while others may prefer peace and quiet. 

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Tip #4: Break up learning with physical activity

If your kids are full of energy and won’t settle to their homework, why not put on some music and get them jumping up and down or dancing for 10 minutes? This way they’ll burn off some energy and stay fit!

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Tip #5: Read together

Even if your kids think they’re too old for bedtime stories, reading together is a great way of spending quiet time together. Books and stories open up new worlds for children, giving you all new things to talk about and discuss. If you don’t know where to start, the Scottish Book Trust has good recommendations on their website. 

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Tip #6: Reward them

Remember to offer them lots of praise and encouragement when they get on with their school work. You could even offer them small rewards, like stickers or extra time playing, if that helps them focus.

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Tip #7: Stay in touch with the school

If you have any concerns about the learning your child does at home, for example, if you think they are given too much work, or are struggling with any topics, get in touch with their teacher to talk it through. The aim of homework is to help children learn, not to upset or overwhelm them.

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For tips to help teenagers, check out our page on supporting your teenager’s learning.

Don’t forget to play!

Play helps kids learn and grow too. Encouraging them to play is one of the best things you can do for them. Our page on helping your child through play has more information about this, and there are lots of ideas for games on our website too.

Here are some tips for wee ones:

  • Kids love drawing and painting – let their imaginations run wild.
  • To burn off some energy, why not try using dance videos on YouTube or making an obstacle course? Build a den with sofa cushions, cereal boxes, towels – anything to hand.
  • If in doubt, read them a story.
  • Being read to, guessing the next word and acting out the stories is all fun for wee ones.
  • Make music! Sing nursery rhymes, dance around to pop songs, or create drums out of saucepans.

What about exams?

It’s understandable that your teen may be worried about changes to the exam system introduced because of coronavirus. You can get the latest information on the changes on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website. If your teens are anxious reassure them that everyone is in the same boat and that their teachers will be doing everything they can to help them. 

Skills Development Scotland offers advice, information and support on education, employment and career choices for young people and their parents and carers. You can also head over to mykidscareer.com for information on skills in demand and tips on handling career conversations. There’s also lots of support on Scotland’s career website, My World of Work.

Supporting children with additional support needs

Our page on supporting children with additional support needs has advice on how to help your child with their learning as they return to school.

Other useful resources

The Parentzone Scotland website has lots of information about learning at home.

Are your kids interested in cooking and baking? The Food Standards Scotland website has games and educational resources to help children learn about food safety and nutrition.

Dekko educational comic books are now available for free to support children, teachers and parents during the coronavirus outbreak. Aimed at 8-12-year-olds, they teach subjects like Maths, English, French, Biology, History and Geography through funny, colourful narratives. They were created by a young Scottish illustrator who struggled with dyslexia himself at school and developed this method of learning to help other struggling readers.