Frequently Asked Questions
We have tried to answer some of the questions we been asked about the children learning at home whilst the school is closed.
There is no map for the journey that we are all on and we are all just trying to do our best in very tricky circumstances. We hope some of the advice below will help.
My child doesn’t understand why they need to work. How should I explain it?
We find that with children starting with 'why' is key. It helps the children understand the purpose of the task and enables them to understand why they're being asked to do it. Each household's 'why' will be different: it could be "because when you go back to school, you need to be up to date with the learning," but just make sure you don't use "because I said so!"
After starting with the ‘why’, explain to your children what they will be doing. We have decided to set daily English and maths tasks along with another subject for the afternoon. There are also the ‘Everyday Tasks’ that include reading, times tables, KIRFs, spellings and handwriting.
Remind them that is isn’t an extended holiday but school at home. There will be holidays as well!
Do we have to do the work set?
We would like all children to have a go at the work. When this is all over, and it will be at some point, we will all be back at school. We know that after holidays there is always a ‘dip’ in what the children can do so keeping up with some work will hopefully make it less of a dip. When (not if) we return to school we want all of our children to be up to speed and that won’t happen if they don’t do anything.
We haven’t started any of the work yet, is it too late?
Of course it isn’t. All the work we have set so far will remain on the website so you can use the two weeks of Easter to catch up.
We have lost the password to My Maths and Times Tables Rock Stars.
These usernames and passwords for both of these should be the same. They were on the My Maths letter that was sent out with the packs. Children may have also written it in their home school diary at the beginning of the year. If you still can’t find it then please email the office and we will send it to you.
We’ve done so much work that the book you sent us is running out. What do we do?
Firstly, well done on the great work! Feel free to start doing some of the work on paper. We have ordered new books for everyone and we will let you know after the holidays how you can get a new one.
We have really enjoyed the work – please could you set some more over Easter?
We are really happy that you have enjoyed the work but everyone needs a break to recharge their batteries! The teachers are going to take some time off as well but will be back with your daily lessons on Monday 20th April.
There are lots of other ideas out there for activities to keep everyone busy. We will be adding activities to the other sections of Hamstel at Home – Active Family Activities, Any Day Activities and Looking after Yourself.
We recommend that you keep up with the activities on the Everyday Learning section of the website. These activities can be done all the way through the holidays.
I am struggling to get into a good work routine – do you have any advice?
Try to remember that this is new to all of us. We shared a suggested plan with you two weeks ago but we are sure that the plan will have changed several times. Some of you will be into a good routine that really works for you and your family whilst some of you may still be trying to work it out. Do try and stick to your plan whilst recognising it won’t be easy. Like any new ‘job’, the first few days and weeks are all about finding your feet.
Taking a break over Easter and restarting with a new routine could be really useful.
Where should we do the work?
We are all missing the idea of ‘going to school’ or ‘going to work’ so it is a good idea to have an area set out for where work is done. Agree the rules beforehand. This could include use of phones or calculators, how much help can be given (lots initially but the children should be able to do most of the work independently), background music etc. Make sure that the children have everything they need to hand to help avoid the distractions. Oh, and make sure they go to the toilet before they start!
The work that has been set is too hard. Should I make them do it?
The work set will be at an appropriate level for most of the children. Some children may benefit from tackling the work labelled 'supported' which offers extra resources and / or guidance. Some children with SEN (those who have a POPP) may still find some of the work too hard. Remember that some children will have extra support in school so it is appropriate to help them and make it easier if needed. If the work is still too hard then you could look at the year group below to see if that work is more appropriate. Remember that the work should be challenging but achievable.
How strict should we be on presentation?
At school we really encourage the children to take pride in their work – if we know they can do it neater, they are expected to do it again. Now is an ideal time to really make an impact on messy handwriting. Go back to basics with the Letter Join handwriting app – the link is in the ‘Handwriting’ section in Everyday Learning.
Home Schooling isn’t going to plan – what should I do?
There are going to be good days and bad days. As teachers we know this so it is important to be reflective. If things aren’t working out, don’t be too harsh on yourself or your child/ren. Try it and feel free to tweak the work if you need to. This is your opportunity to inspire your children and foster a love of learning. Feel free to go off in a different direction if your children are inspired by something.
It is really important to look after yourself as well – remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup! There are a growing number of ideas to keep you physically fit (see Active Family Activities) and mentally healthy (see Looking after Yourself) on our website, so take a look for some great ideas.
My children are missing school. What should I tell them?
Please let them know that everyone at school is missing them as well. Our children are constantly in our thoughts and we can’t wait to see everyone again – whenever that may be.