Homeschooling tips

Posted: Thursday 11 February 2021 at 11:45

The pandemic has presented new challenges to everyone and for parents, homeschooling has possibly been one of the biggest.

But, homeschooling with a visual impairment can present its own frustrations. We have spoken to several parents with visual impairments who have been juggling the additional challenges their sight loss presents.

So, how have you been coping?

One of our mentors Nic Spearman – a deputy head teacher who has Stargardt disease – has shared her top tips to help support any parents with sight loss, or homeschooling children with sight loss.

1. Use the resources available to you.

    For example use the timetables and structures of the day, provided by the school to organise your working patterns.

    Access other resources to support and supplement your child’s learning. The Oak National Academy is a fantastic organisation that offer lessons, resources, schedules and much more to help pupils, parents and teachers with remote learning. Alternatively, BBC Two have a range of programmes in their Learning Zone that cover a variety of topics, and provide alternative ways to supplement learning.

    2. Use technology.

      If your child is accessing remote learning online, consider changing the screen setting.

      Using magnifiers/visualisers can revolutionise access to reading texts and handwritten work, by enlarging on-screen text. For example, Apple have a magnifier on all of their devices, which can be accessed through settings or by downloading an app.

      Consider a larger screen. Many devices can be hooked up to larger screens or TVs. You can easily duplicate the view so that your child can continue their work uninterrupted on their device while you monitor their progress on a different screen

      3. Remember to be kind to yourself and the kids.

        Supporting with home learning on top of daily life can be really challenging, and takes adjustment by the kids too. Make sure you celebrate the successes rather than dwell on the aspects of the day that didn't quite go to plan.

        4. Set some routines.

          Get up at a reasonable time and allow ten minutes to get organised each morning before lessons start, so that you have time to iron out any potential issues.

          Set small goals and celebrate successes. Mark small steps, whether hourly or daily, that take you and the children closer to achieving your bigger goals. This will help you both feel a sense of accomplishment, and don’t forget to celebrate successes together to keep you motivated. You could even agree a rewards system.

          Take regular breaks away from screens. This is a great time to get outside for exercise, or do something that helps your and your child's wellbeing.

          5. Get outside for real world experiences. Find ways of getting outside where possible, social restrictions permitting. You can use the real world for inspiration, conducting easy experiments, or completing basic fieldwork that can give your child experiences of what they are learning about. And, don’t forget to tell school about your outdoor activities – they’d love to hear about your successes, and it could inspire other parents who may be struggling. Not only that, but fresh air and exercise helps children to concentrate better, aiding their ability to learn, and improves wellbeing – for you both.

          6. Stay in contact

            Let school know if you or the kids are struggling. They can be well-equipped with strategies and resources to support those who have a visual impairment. And, don’t forget to tell them about your achievements too.

            Share your own successes/tips at stories@macularsociety.org. Whether you or your child have a visual impairment, let us know what you’ve found helpful.