How to study and home school your kids

Finding time to study for your AAT qualifications is hard enough under normal circumstances – let alone when you’re juggling working from home and educating your children.

But AAT is here to help you stay on track with your studies, even during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Time management – how to fit studying into your busy day

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having to work, home school your children, and study – all without leaving the house! So don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve.

Talking to your colleagues about the challenges you face is a good place to start – and that includes discussing when you can study. If your employer usually offers you paid leave to attend classes or revise, find out if you can keep taking this time to continue your studies from home. If you have your employer’s permission to start an AAT course, why not look into doing it via one of our online partners such as Accountancy Learning, Reed or ICS Learn?

As most working parents already know, the easiest times to study are generally when everyone else is in bed – or at least snuggled up in front of a film. So try to set aside an hour in the evening, or get up early and study for an hour before the rest of the household wakes up.

You might feel you should be spending this time doing paid work, but failing to stick to your contractual hours will not just stop you from studying – it could also have a negative effect on your mental health.

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Homeschooling – how to be top of the class

Sticking to a routine isn’t just good for you. It also helps children feel less disorientated by the life-changing restrictions of lockdown. So try to get up at the usual time on weekdays, and to keep mealtimes and bedtimes as normal as possible. Creating the right atmosphere is also important.

If your children are old enough to get on with their school work with little input from you, a “work zone” where the whole family knuckles down may be a good option. If not, carving out a private niche where you can work and study is the best solution, where possible.

Either way, don’t feel your children need to be doing academic work for hours at a time. Activities such as drawing, baking, and reading are also great ways to learn, while bigger projects such as puppet shows have the added advantage of freeing up some studying time for you.

Online resources – how to make the internet work for you

As an AAT student, you have access to a wealth of e-learning services, all of which can be accessed via your MyAAT account. 

You can also stay up to date with industry news thanks to the AAT Weekly e-newsletter and 20 magazine – as well as AAT’s Twitter feed:@Youraat. And you can connect with other AAT members on the lively AAT discussion forums.

Online AAT resources that can help you keep on top of your studies during lockdown include:

  • Practice assessments: familiarise yourself with content type and question structures and try example assessment questions to practice your technique.
  • E-learning modules: enhance your understanding and test your skills using interactive tutorials, worksheets, and animations on key topics.
  • Study support webinars: join in live or watch a previously recorded one of these sessions, which focus on a specific element of an AAT unit.

There are also numerous online resources available to help parents educate and entertain their children during lockdown. Many secondary school children, for example, are continuing their normal lessons online via Google Classroom. For younger children, meanwhile, Twinkl is packed full of fun stuff ranging from interactive maths games to animal flashcards for toddlers.

What’s more, the site’s 630,000 resources can be accessed for free while lockdown continues – just enter the code CVDTWINKLHELPS when you register. 

Other online resources worth checking out include the BBC’s Super Movers videos, the National Geographic Kids YouTube channel, and the virtual tours being offered at many UK museums. You can also fill much of the day by tuning in to free celebrity-led content, and studying while they watch and learn.

The celebrity sessions on offer include:

  • 9am – PE with Joe Wicks
  • 10am – Maths with Carol Vorderman
  • 11am – Story time with David Walliams
  • 12pm – Cooking with Jamie Oliver
  • 1pm – Music with Myleene Klass
  • 1.30pm – Dance with Darcey Bussell

In summary

Fitting in studying when you are homeschooling and trying to do your job remotely is not easy, but it is possible. Organising your day is key; it may help to write a list of small, achievable tasks such as:

  1. Study for 30 minutes
  2. Do an activity with the kids

You should also take advantage of all the free online resources available – to help both you and your children be better students.

Further reading:

Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.

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