A quick guide for Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 students
With schools and colleges across the UK now predominantly closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, everyone is scrambling to find strategies to stay engaged, learning, healthy and happy during such unforeseen and unprecedented times. Here’s some emergency tips to help you start your own temporary home schooling adventure.
One of the key messages most schools & colleges have been sending to Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 students is to maintain normality and a ‘close-to-normal’ routine, similar to those you were used to during normal school/college days.
1. Establish routines. Most human beings tend to react well to some form of structure. If you are going to have lie-ins, try not to overdo it. Try to wake up at reasonable times (especially Monday to Friday) to discipline your body and maintain your daily routines as close as possible to the typical school/college day. Aim to treat this period not as a holiday but a normal school/college going period. And if possible, get out of your pyjamas to create a more serious mentality.
2. Create your own timetable and stick to it. Use your typical school/college structure to pace your day’s learning schedule, as much as possible. Aim to keep the same variety of subjects study and extra-curricular activities. Break the sessions into small manageable chunks and it is likely your total learning time might be slightly shorter than at school/college; but that is perfectly understandable.
3. Consistency is key. Its going to be a rocky start, you are most unlikely expected to have perfected routines from day one. Learn to plan and prioritise each day until you have created some real momentum.
4. Allocate yourself specific learning workspaces within your home. Identify several quiet study points to work from throughout the day. You could rotate your kitchen/dining table, lounge and bedroom to establish some form of variety. Some would rather have one specific learning space they would call their ‘new classroom’. Whatever you decide to go for, let it be a learning space that’s free from distractions. If possible, put your mobile phone and any electronic devices you are not using on silent.
5. Have regular breaks, especially breakfast and lunch breaks and use those to catch up on your social media, virtual playtime, gaming and other extra-curriculars. Reserve time for some form of physical exercise. Factor in the unconventional but now trending ‘social distancing’ concept in everything you do during this coronavirus pandemic season.
6. Set yourself realistic targets. Try not to set some over-ambitious goals such as ‘to conquer the entire syllabus for every one of your subjects’. Remember you can only do your best, and during this challenging and uncertain period, your best is more than enough. Just be realistic, and neither too optimistic nor too pessimistic. Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound)
7. Monitor your progress. If you are doing some online progress tests or working on your school/college’s virtual learning environment, aim to beat your previous score. Ask for feedback from your teachers if possible. Use a family member to help you test what you have learned.
8. Reflect on your learning. Be flexible and be prepared to tweak your strategy if it’s not perfectly working for you. Like all new routines, the first few days are always about finding your feet. Give yourself time to adjust. Presumably there are no tests anytime soon, so don’t be too harsh on yourself – take it nice and steady, giving yourself enough grace and space to adjust to this new ‘COVID-19 triggered’ lifestyle.
9. Stay positive and motivate yourself whilst being flexible and open-minded. Use this time to nurture maturity within yourself and self-develop a genuine love for learning. Remember it’s all about quality not quantity, and there are times when less is more.
10. Eat healthy, with plenty of water and a balanced diet.
11. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Discuss with your parent/carer or school/college teachers/tutors (if possible) about any challenges you might be facing. Initiate a conversation about any difficulties you are encountering whether academic, technological related, stress/depression or anything else. As a digital native, you probably are aware of other websites or YouTube you can use for reinforcement, if necessary.
12. Constantly check the school/college website/virtual learning environment/emails. Find out if your teachers/tutors have learning packets/classes/homework or some online resources for you to look at.
13. Develop a high-achiever mentality. Your success in the coming year and in your career is highly dependent on the effort you are going to put in now. If you dream of being on top of your game professionally or drive that Lamborghini or whatever your dream-car is; this is the time to make it happen. In most cases, high achievers aren’t born, they’re a product of hard-work and a success-driven mentality.
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