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⇓Financial aid for the HE Sector
Schools, colleges and universities have remained open during this second lockdown period. However, some parents have made the decision to continue with homeschooling due to personal or household considerations. If you have made the decision to continue with homeschooling it can be challenging to ensure you are providing the right support in terms of education and mental health for your child. You are probably worried about them falling behind academically, them not seeing their friends and the long term effects that these changes could have on them. There are plenty of resources out there to help you, and your child. Most schools are doing a superb job or offering support and advice to parents who have concerns. They should always your first point of contact. Young Minds or our family section can also provide further information and support.
Getting your children, especially younger children, to focus at home can be a challenge.
Try and create a separate working and wind down environment for them – for example have them working in the kitchen, and keep the living room and their bedroom as wind down and recreational spaces.
Allow them to take regular breaks. Breaks are important and are actually helpful for a lot of children’s focus. It gives an opportunity for them to reset, and they can come back relaxed and ready for the next task. If one task is proving too difficult and they get flustered, suggest taking a break and revisit it later.
Try and keep their schedule similar to their normal school working day to keep a familiar routine in place. Lessons at school tend to only last for between 30 minutes and an hour, so don’t spend too long on one subject as it can become overwhelming and uninteresting to your child.
Listen to them – if they are acting out or struggling to concentrate, ask why and listen. It’s a difficult time for you as well as them, and clear communication is the best way to navigate this time together. If you feel your child is having a particularly hard time with their mental health it is important that you speak to your GP or direct them to charities and crisis teams such as Childline and Samaritans for support.
If your older children, for example those later on in their secondary school education prefer (and can be trusted!) to work more independently, it’s good to give them a little more freedom and independence. Help them come up with a structure for their day, choose a good work space and check they’re getting their tasks completed. If they are struggling or falling behind, gently offer them a bit more support, implement a stricter structure or speak to their teachers for advice.
People in higher education
Universities have been instructed to stay open, however encouraged to move a lot of their lessons to be interactive online instead of completely reliant on face to face lectures, to help control the Covid outbreak. Student unions and other social buildings on campuses will remain closed in this second lockdown in line with the government guidelines. This will offer an extremely different university experience, especially for first year students who were looking forward to the social and fun aspect of higher education.
When it comes to studying from home for university students, the advice would be very similar to those working from home.
Separate your workspace from your space to relax. This can be tricky living in halls as your personal space is so small, but do your best. Perhaps organising a study group with other students in your halls in the communal areas, where possible and safe under the current guidelines, for example only do this with people who you are in quarantine with already and nobody outside your building. Try and make sure your work space is pleasant and has lots of natural light.
Vary your work style, try to include standing as well as sitting, and use different learning techniques that work for you, so it’s not all reading and writing. Flash cards, colour coding and speaking out loud for example. Find what works best for you.
Take regular breaks. If you start to struggle or feel distracted, have a meal, go for a walk, do something recreational and then revisit your work.
Ask for help. If you are struggling with your work, speak to your tutors and ask for extra help, or reach out to others in your class. If you are struggling with your mental health in general, speak to close friends and family, if you feel unable to talk to those close to you, it’s important you ask for help from your GP, speak to a crisis charity like Samaritans or make use of any mental health services your university may offer. These services should have already been brought to your attention but if you aren’t sure, check your universities website or ask your tutors about them, most universities offer mental health support services. See our health and wellness page for more information.
During this lockdown university students have been told they are not to travel between their university accommodation to visit their family homes. If you are feeling homesick reach out to your family for phone calls or organise FaceTimes to help you feel a little closer to your loved ones. A scheduled travel window has been set between 3-9th December, for you to return home in time for Christmas. Some Universities may choose to scatter these dates in order to keep to social distancing rules, so it’s important to check what your own university are implementing. Lectures will then move to being fully based on-line, so that you can continue working from home. Your university will keep you up to date with the exact plans and details as and when they are confirmed, so keep your eyes out for their communications regarding these plans.