Studying and Working from Home
Working or studying from home can be tough. Employees at top law firm Cleary Gottlieb have put together some top tips to help. Here's how to manage your time, work effectively and stay motivated.
- Focus on when you work best. We all have times of the day when we are more productive. When do you work well? You can’t always control when your lessons are but you can try to plan your own studying for the times of day when you are most productive.
- Make a schedule. Working under one roof with other family members can make it hard to concentrate. Write down the times of day when you have a lesson or need to be left alone and put it in a place where everyone can see it (for example, on the fridge door or the kitchen table). If everyone knows when others need peace and quiet, this can help everybody complete their tasks.
- Avoid anything distracting. When you are studying or watching your lessons, try to avoid having anything around you that might be distracting. For example, if you have a phone, put it away or switch it off so that you can't check it.
- Take regular breaks. It’s hard for anyone to focus for long periods of time. The Pomodoro Method is a useful tool that suggests you break your workday into 25 minute chunks, separated by 5 minute breaks. These intervals are known as Pomodoros. After about four pomodoro cycles, it's a good idea to take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. This should help you focus better, for longer.
- Break your work into small chunks. A big task (such as an essay or revision) can make you feel overwhelmed because it seems so big. Breaking the task down into smaller chunks (for example, splitting revision into different topics) can help make it seem easier.
- Get creative with your workspace. Make your furniture work for you and how you like to work. If you don’t have a desk, you could use your kitchen counter, washing machine or ironing board as a standing desk!
Where can you find suitable news stories to use with your pupils at home as a family? Here’s a great selection of age-appropriate news sites offering both UK and global perspectives from The Guardian:
- BBC Newsround offers daily stories on national, international, sports, entertainment and science news, as well as inspiring stories about children. You can watch the Newsround bulletins and read stories on the website.
- BBC What’s New? is a news programme for young people in Africa aimed at 11- to 16-year-olds. A weekly broadcast is available to watch on their YouTube channel. They also include stories about children doing remarkable things in different African countries.
- The Day is an online news service for schools, aimed mainly at the secondary age range. They report on daily current affairs across all subjects. You can read certain articles for free but must subscribe to access the full range of stories and materials. A newsletter for parents is currently available for free, with a daily round up of news and a current affairs topic to discuss with children. There is also a weekly news quiz that you can access for free.
- Dogo News is an online news site for children with stories written from an international perspective.
- First News Live is a free weekday news broadcast for young people made by Sky News and First News. There are also weekly polls on current news topics. The Positivity Place is a great source of positive news stories for children.
- Inside Science is a science news service from the American Institute of Physics. Some stories and language may be too complex for younger pupils. However it is a good source of weird and wonderful science stories.
- News for Kids: Daily roundups of current news written for children, including explanations of unfamiliar terms. US-based but includes worldwide stories. Free to access with ads, paid for ad-free subscription available.
- Space Scoop is an astronomy news website aimed at children aged 8 and above, with weekly stories from a wide range of international astronomical organisations. There are also podcasts available.
- Tuesday News Day: each Tuesday, members of the News Literacy Network tweet recent news stories appropriate for school-age children to the hashtag #TuesdayNewsDay. The National Literacy Trust has discussion cards to help guide conversations and get children thinking critically.
- Twinkl NewsRoom publishes a primary-age-appropriate news story and activities every day, with a fake news quiz each Saturday. There are options for both upper and lower KS2.
The Family Maths Toolkit from the National Numeracy website is full of ideas to help parents, families and children aged 13 and under enjoy everyday maths activities together.
The site also offers resources to help teachers support family engagement with children's maths learning.
Top tips for parents and families:
- Be positive about maths. Don't say things like "I can’t do maths" or "I hated maths at school"; your child might start to think like that themselves.
- Point out the maths in everyday life. Include your child in activities involving maths such as using money, cooking and travelling.
- Praise your child for effort rather than talent - this shows them that by working hard they can always improve.
- If you struggle with maths yourself - try our free online tool the National Numeracy Challenge to improve your maths level.
Parents in Touch is a great tool with guides and advice to help your child with their school work