Natasha's Thoughts On Home Schooling

Natasha's Thoughts On Home Schooling

Sitting at my kitchen table I am in the same boat as almost every parent in the country at this moment, gearing up for home schooling with a heart full of dread at the challenges ahead. I am imagining the coming squabbles, the unanswerable maths questions, the demands of work stretched to the limit as I simultaneously try and supervise an English test!

Many moons ago I was secondary school teacher and I am hoping that I can dredge some of those skills up from the back of my mind and put them to good use but, even with that in mind there is no doubt these are challenging times.

To this end, for a number of years, at Muddy Puddles, we have been developing and sharing with teachers a series of curriculum linked lesson plans that can turn the outdoors into the very best classroom. Unfortunately, spending time in nature has now become more difficult; we must practice government guidelines to keep everyone safe. It is of course the Muddy Puddles mission to enable children to celebrate the great outdoors whatever the weather but at this difficult time, especially in densely populated areas, this is not easy but there are still lots of educational activities that you can enjoy with your children that can help make these strange days feel a little bit more rewarding and wholesome. This is why we are currently adapting these lesson plans for your garden and also for indoors so that everyone can use them, whether you have access to the outdoors safely while practising social distancing or not. We are now delighted to be able to share these with anyone and everyone who would like to use them. They have been written by teachers and used across the country to great satisfaction. They are in line with key Ofsted objectives for Early Years, KS1 and KS2. We really hope that they are a small help to anyone who takes a look at them. While we are working on adapting them, please feel free to use your parental creativity to tweak them for your environment! We would like to stress the importance of following the latest government guidelines if you do have a chance to go outdoors. Here are my favourite lesson plans that have been tweaked so they work equally well indoors, in your garden or outdoors. These have been tested and approved by my children. I’m sure parents will agree with me that sharing a house with growing explorers is much easier once they have burnt off some of that excess energy!

1) Build an easy bug hotel

This one is really fun and can be enjoyed in your own garden. All you need is tissue boxes, natural materials that you can find outdoors (sticks, leaves, damp bark…) – or improvised ones from your garden or past outdoor adventures - and a magnifying glass (if you have one). I’m sure your young explorers will love decorating their bug hotel and observing and naming its tiny guests.

2) Story stones

This one used to be my daughter’s absolute favourite when she was younger. All you need is a few stones and some paint, coloured pens or felt tips to decorate them. Once you’re done, sit down in a circle with your little ones and make up stories inspired by the stones.

3) Make your very own microscope

While a little more challenging, this one’s brilliant in keeping aspiring young scientists entertained. You only need a plastic cup, cling film, a rubber band and water to build your microscope and - of course - interesting objects to look at. Hours of entertainment guaranteed! Please don’t hesitate to share our lesson plans with your family and friends. Best wishes and keep safe x Natasha
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