29 Jun 2020

Alumna offers teaching advice to help children who are continuing to learn from home

Linda Garner has provided us with some Maths and English top tips, drawing from her 30 years as a teacher, in order to help parents and their children who are continuing to home school during the ongoing pandemic.

Linda, who graduated with a degree in Education in 1978, discussed how to do Maths work in free time:

“Add, subtract, multiply and divide over lunch. One of the simplest and best activities that you can do to help your child with their early arithmetic skills is to count on a 100-number square.

“A lot of it you can do with your child in spare time, for example whilst preparing dinner, walking or cleaning.”

On looking at number patterns and systems, Linda advises:

“It’s a great idea to print out a copy of a 100-number square from the internet. You can start by noticing where all the 1s are, and colour in all of them on the square (for example 10, 11, 12). It’s great to notice the patterns, for example when the 1 is on the left or the right.

Then do the same highlighting the 2s, 3s, 4s, etc, on new sheets if necessary. Compare the patterns made by each number.”

Linda says that recognising these patterns help to understand times tables.

“With the 100-number square in front of you, progress onto counting beginning with the 1s and starting at 0 up to 100. Then you can go backwards in 1s from 100. Then, you can progress to going forwards or backwards from any number randomly.

“You can then start to count in 2s and slowly increase the number to learn the early times tables. This can take quite a long time depending on your child’s ability, I recommend doing around 30 minutes to an hour a day.

“Seeing and understanding pattern can give a child an orderly overview of what may be very confusing arithmetic at school. I believe all primary children can get something from this.

“It's really important that the child follows the progression on the 100-number square until they can do it from memory. Don't take their 100 square away from them until they are ready!”

As well as Maths, Linda has also shared some top tips on how to improve children’s reading skills whilst home schooling:

“Reading anything, including comics, cereal packets, instructions or street signs is useful. Subtitles on TV are great, and if anything is misspelled you can reward them for noticing!

“When you’re reading books to them, its great to end them on cliff-hangers, so they’re keen to read on next time.

“Try focusing on these vowel sounds:

short a as in cat and long a as in made,

short e as in bed and long e as in bee

short i as in kit and long i as in mind

short o as in cot and long o as in low

short u as in cut and long u as in tune

“Look out for any unknown or difficult words e.g. yacht and right. Perhaps introduce such words before they read it. Write down the difficult word, draw around the outline, look at the shape of the word especially if it’s one that is frequently used, for example the.

“Keep a little notebook with the words built up in them and practise them. A new word takes approximately 30 repetitions to learn. Rhymes are also really important and help to learn new words. When you’re reading to them get them to guess the rhyming word from the context.”

One final tip from Linda:

“It’s important to give treats, rewards and positive feedback after hard tasks!”

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