How to Survive Homeschooling Your Kids: Tips From a Hong Kong Teacher

    With Hong Kong heading into yet another lockdown parents have found themselves perplexed and irritated with the closing of schools. In a sudden 180 spin Chief Executive Carrie Lam went from protecting kids’ emotional wellbeing to throwing them back into the prison of their bedrooms with their only emotional support being their laptop. With this added pressure we are here to help you navigate these tricky times and somehow turn homeschooling into a fun exciting educational adventure, thanks to tips from Hong Kong teacher, Warwick English.

    girl homeschooling and answering teacher's questions

    The most important thing to consider is that children are resilient, but they will need your support and your patience now more than ever. Be open and honest and encourage them to speak about their feelings. When it comes to lockdowns, you may find getting out the house to be a very important tool to surviving the extra time indoors.

    Outdoor Activities

    Here are some short adventures in Hong Kong that can be very educational and will break up the monotony of homeschooling:

    • Beach morning/afternoon of sandcastles and shell collecting (The beach is a wonderful place to learn about tides, shells, coral, rocks, sea life, etc)
    • Short hikes (If you are feeling really adventurous, create a scavenger hunt for the walk, or if your kids are older, make an order of birds in Hong Kong or snakes in Hong Kong. An awesome website is iNaturalist, that will allow your kids to take photos on their walk and create a diary)
    • Strawberry picking (the season has now started and it is a fun morning adventure to get out of the city and eat some delicious treats)
    • Fishing (Not everyone’s cup of tea but it is therapeutic and a wonderful excuse for being outside)
    • Camping (you may have to get creative with locations, but learning about fire and fire safety and cooking food on an open fire is just one part of what makes camping the best activity you can do with your kids)
    • Geocaching (a fun way to go treasure hunting and learn map skills)
    • Tai Po waterfront (take the kids for a cycle. For those with younger kids, you can rent bikes with kid seats on)
    • Hong Kong Wetland Park
    • Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
    • Chi Lin Nunnery
    • Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
    • Inspiration Lake on Lantau Island
    • Or just pick an island and explore!

    Not everyone is in the position to be outdoors and many kids may be stuck at home without supervision. Luckily we live in a world with endless online entertainment options.

    Youtube Videos For Homeschooling

    Here are some worthwhile Youtube channels to add to your arsenal:

    family hiking in hong kong

    • StorylineOnline (Famous kids books read by famous actors)
    • Cosmic Kids Yoga (Mindfulness made fun – a great way to start your day or you can use it as a break when your kids are feeling a little jaded)
    • Alphablocks (For younger learners, this channel teaches phonics in a short, fun and educational way)
    • Numberblocks (Maths concepts brought to life through animation)
    • TED-Ed (Interesting and engaging educational videos for slightly older kids)
    • Crash Course Kids (Educational short videos that can be used to match themes they are tackling in their curriculum)
    • PBS KIDS (Short videos covering a host of different topics)
    • The Dr Binocs Show (a series by Peekaboo Kidz that delves into a variety of educational themes)
    • Sweat Kids TV (A fun exercise-themed channel that will have your little ones bouncing around)

    You may find that you need a tutor to help guide your child through this tricky time, so why not try out something new and exciting, like a creative problem-solving gameplay session to cover the Hong Kong curricula in a way that your kids will love and leave with the knowledge cemented even while homeschooling:

    • Fezed. Modern-day curriculums tend to fall short in the critical thinking and creative problem-solving departments. If you are looking for a modern way to learn that involves your child and their friends collaborating and using their imaginations, look no further than Fezed. I believe that this is what modern education should be: ever-changing, ever-engaging and an EQ-forward approach to dealing with the curriculum. Check it out here.

    If you’re worried about screen time, you’re not alone. Learning from home can create a lot of reliance on screens.

    Offline Activities

    Here are some tools to embrace the old school in us:

    • Yoto Player (The Yoto Player is a kid-friendly music player with games and audiobooks. You can create your own content or get loved ones to read stories or create games for your little one)
    • Board games (Apples to Apples, Scattergories, Guess Who, Boggle, Codenames and 30 Seconds are just a few we are wild about)
    • Arts and crafts (Time to Pinterest; it is time-consuming but get into a habit of making boards whenever you see something that you think your kid will enjoy) Check out Imagination Tree for some helpful starters.
    • KiwiCo (monthly STEAM sets delivered to your door so you don’t have to think or research)
    • Hey Clay (Any modelling clay works and it’s great for fine motor skills and a wonderful solo activity that allows you to enjoy a warm cup of coffee)

    Educational Apps

    Educational apps are a minefield of money spent and little gained. Here are some that are worth the money and the time:

    child coding while homeschooling

    Hopefully the homeschooling situation in Hong Kong is temporary and our kids will be back at school before we know it and family time can go back to care-free, homework-free time.  Until then, we hope that a few of these tricks allow you a hot cup of coffee (or a cold beer).

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    Warwick English is a primary school educator who has been living and working in Hong Kong for more than ten years. He specialises in Phonics and Activity-based learning. He believes Education needs a facelift and he tries to bring wonder back into the classroom one lesson at a time. Feel free to contact him if you have any questions: [email protected].

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