Parents: Here's how to keep your child motivated and productive during lockdown

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Today we have a guest post by Oscar Smith from Titanium Tutors, an online tutoring service which introduces tutors for lessons via Skype and Zoom. Their face-to-face sessions in London and other UK cities are temporarily on pause during the Coronavirus lockdown.

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Photo by Titanium Tutors

The “new normal” for education

Whichever way you look at it, these are unfamiliar and difficult times for us all. The spread of Covid-19 has changed how us tutors go about our teaching and daily lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to claw back some much needed normality and a reliable routine.

How to manage your time at home

Cue Adapt, a free revision timetable app which has been making serious waves amongst GCSE and A Level students over the past few months. There have been plenty of glowing comments about Adapt’s fantastic functionality and interface, so in this short review I want to try something slightly different. Seeing as summer exams are cancelled and homeschooling is becoming the norm, I’m interested to find out if Adapt might be able to help parents who are looking to keep their child’s learning going during lockdown.

How can Adapt help parents while their children are home?

First things first, I needed to set up my account on the mobile app. It’s been a while since I was in Sixth Form (and the thought of revisiting Mathematics makes me shudder…) so I decided to have a stab at the AQA A Level equivalents of my degree; Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). The app is breeze to get around, so I’m pretty confident that even the most technophobic parents could get up and running.

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Photo by Adapt

With exams a non-existent prospect, parents are going to struggle to encourage their children to plough on with their respective revision regimes. Instead, I would recommend that parents try to think about the next steps for their child. Are they planning on taking A Levels after GCSE? Are they going on to study a subject at university / A Level / GCSE they’re not currently taking? If the answer is “yes” to either of those, then I think Adapt might just… adapt to the current environment well (sorry).

Preparing for University during lockdown

Going back to PPE, when I was heading to University, my only experience with Philosophy, Politics and Economics came from a few introductory books I’d picked up so I could write a cogent UCAS personal statement; a proper introduction prior to my degree would have helped! If your child finds themselves in a similar situation, you have the ideal opportunity to help them get a head-start on their degree!

Setting clear and realistic expectations for work during lockdown

I set my Adapt timetable to let me work my way through PPE at a leisurely pace of one topic per day (remember: any progress made during these testing times is impressive stuff) with the hope of having a gentle initiation into the subjects. My thought process was to let Adapt build a nice ‘roadmap’ (doing the heavy-lifting of finding appropriate topics for me), letting me do the fun part of casually learning a little bit about these subjects.

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Photo by Adapt

Now, before we get over-excited, I probably ought to temper this with some realistic expectations about what you can hope to achieve. If you don’t already have access to eBooks of key textbooks or an online library system through your teen’s current school, then you’re going to need get creative with what you use as learning material. For older students looking to get some pre-university preparation done, I would recommend looking at Jstor or the National Emergency Library, which both have extended free collections due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Failing that, you could even venture out to YouTube to check out the myriad of fun videos which provide interesting introductions to thousands of subjects, with many operating at a university level. Sometimes you’re not going to be able to find an appropriate resource for a topic and that’s perfectly fine! Just skip that topic and move on. Again, any progress made during lockdown is fantastic.

How Adapt can get your child ahead for their next academic stage

I’m not asking you to vet every source or article your child reads, but a light-touch approach in the first few days and guiding them towards material you think might be relevant is a good way to get the ball rolling. If you feel way out of your depth, then speak to your child about what they think would be useful. You may even want to work together with your child and take part in some of their learning. Who knows, you might even learn a thing or two…

So, what can Adapt do to help your child get ready for the next stage of their learning journey? I think the talented creators of this app put it better than I ever could: “The world may be chaotic right now, but your day doesn’t need to be; let us structure your time so you feel calm, energised and purposeful. We’re here for you, no matter what test you may be facing”.

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Photo by Adapt

In normal circumstances with exam-stress and revision meltdowns, I would be recommending Adapt to my students in a heart-beat. It’s dead-easy to use, it looks lovely and it’s a focused tool which helps you structure your revision in a meaningful way. However, even when exams have melted away into a sea of emergency quarantine restrictions, I find myself giving that exact same recommendation: it’s still dead-easy to use, it still looks lovely, but perhaps most importantly of all, it’s a great tool which helps you structure your life a little bit more during lockdown.

Whether you’re a busy parent, a quarantined student, an online tutor, or just someone looking to better organise their time, I’m sure you’ll find this to be an incredible all-rounder of an app!

Cover photo by: @marjo.bujo

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