12 tips for keeping your visually impaired child entertained and educated at home
Most children will now be learning from home during this period, and you might feel a lot of pressure to follow a normal school day at home. Whilst following a strict home learning timetable may suit some people, it may not work for you and your family.
Rachael is our Children and Young People's Enablement Officer for Oldham, and is also a qualified primary school teacher with SEN knowledge and experience. Follow Rachael's tips below to find out what is right for you and your child during this time.
Remember that the National Curriculum has been suspended, so even children that may still be attending school will not be learning in the traditional way.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or your child to recreate what happens in a school. There are lots of videos and posts from parents who are home educating in a more rigid way than you. Remember, that is only a snapshot of what they are doing, and it is completely fine if you are taking a different approach.
Focus on your child’s abilities and needs, rather than doing what everyone else is doing.
Spend some time discussing any concerns with your child.
Explain that there will still be some form of education and agree with your child how they would like to work. Giving them some ownership over how they want to work will really help.
Offer incentives for completing work, like every hour of work completed earns a set amount of screen time.
A timetable may help but will depend on how your child works and responds to structure.
The timetable could also incorporate play time and snack time as well as free time, so children know that it’s not all about work.
If a timetable doesn’t work for your child, a ‘To Do’ list of activities for each day could give focus but allow the children to do the tasks in their own order and tick off as they do them.
They don’t have to be formally learning at all times.
It is impossible to entertain your child all day long! It’s perfectly OK for them to be bored and create their own fun, but do try to limit screen time!
Challenge them to learn something new, for example, learn how to count in a different language, learn ten new facts about a given topic, etc.
Develop life skills around the house
It will be tempting while your child is at home to do everything for them, but now would be a perfect time to develop life skills at home. They could help with baking, preparing and making meals, gardening, etc.
You could also look at some of the areas throughout the day your child needs support with, such as finding their own clothes, and put things in place to help them practice doing it for themselves.
Life skills are so important and often not taught in schools. Age appropriate life skills, such as how to safely make a sandwich or make a drink, can be practised daily.
Give children age appropriate jobs to do around the house
There are lots of jobs that children could help with!
Make a list of jobs that they could help with, such as hanging the washing out, vacuuming, washing up, etc. This could also be linked to a reward scheme.
Make use of the Henshaws Knowledge Village
There are many useful blogs and eBooks on our online Knowledge Village, and videos on the Henshaws YouTube channel to give you ideas, tips and life hacks for living with sight loss.
Check it out here: www.henshaws.org.uk/knowledge-village
And subscribe to our YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/user/Henshaws1837
Do topics your child enjoys!
If your child has a special interest in a topic, such as dinosaurs, do a topic on dinosaurs! Let your child read and write and do maths on things they enjoy. You will be able to find websites, resources and packs for most topics if you just Google it.
However, children are creative and resourceful and will probably come up with so many more ideas if you let them be creative!
Tell them you want them to do a presentation for you on a topic of their choice and watch them go! They could make up a song, do a Powerpoint presentation, or do a lesson for you! If you and family/ friends are connected via Skype or Zoom for example, your child could then do the presentation virtually for other family members!
Listen to audiobooks
Many audiobooks are available for free online at this time.
Let your child listen to stories and ask questions about what they have listened to. Get them to tell you about the story and do book reviews.
If they have difficulties writing, they could do a video review of the story to recommend it to other children. You could share these on our Facebook Page!
Link up with other parents via social media
Knowing others are in the same position as you can help.
Join the Henshaws Facebook community to chat to other families online. You could even get children to write letters or e mails to each other, maybe even link up with other braille users?
We have a Children and Families Group on Facebook which you can join by searching for ‘Henshaws Children & Families Manchester’.
Have fun! This is probably the most important point.
Without a doubt, this is a challenging time for all children and can be even more of a challenge for children with a visual impairment.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and remember, Henshaws are here to support you through it!
You can contact us on 0300 222 5555 for any information, advice and guidance.
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