Across the UK, parents are performing the ultimate juggling act by working from home, educating their children and working. Home-schooling is a new skill for many mums and dads, and quite frankly, we'll take any tips we can get. Loose Women's Nadia Sawalha and her husband, TV producer Mark Adderley, have home-schooled her daughters, Maddie, 17, and Kiki-Bee, 12, for nearly five years and HELLO! caught up with the couple to chat to them about it in an exclusive interview.
WATCH: Sophie Wessex shared her homeschooling tips too
"What we’d like other worried parents to know is that it’s worked wonderfully well," Nadia tells us. The TV star and her husband took their daughters out of school after the rigid demands of their curriculum began to cause them both anxiety. They were subsequently home-schooled by tutors and have flourished; Maddie is preparing to audition for drama school, while Kiki-Bee wants to work in animation. Now tutor-free due to the lockdown, Nadia, Mark and live-in grandmother, Nanny Di, are doing the teaching.
Nadia and her daughters cooking together
Nadia advises parents not to panic or put too much pressure on yourself; she says you can educate your children and have fun at the same time. "I'd also advise parents not to get bogged down with the idea that school has to start at 8am and finish at 3pm," she says. "Forget the constraints of the clock. You need to be flexible. When Kiki told me she needed a bit more sleep, I said: ‘Sure,’ and we started work later. "If you’re working from home, start early and let the kids sleep in,” says Nadia. “Teenagers study better after they’ve had more sleep."
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When it comes to core subjects, the actress suggests: "Some children have problems with maths. With Kiki, we use the Power of 2 [a maths teaching book] and for ten minutes a day, we go over the basics together. And if you don’t know something, admit it. Nobody knows everything. But showing your child how to find the answer is very useful."
Dad Mark with Maddie and Kiki-Bee
Dad Mark has a few tips of his own too, telling HELLO!: "Learning doesn’t have to happen in a classroom." He adds: "Every art gallery in Britain has a virtual tour online. Make learning fun, too. I use humour and try to make the girls smile."
"Give them something to look forward to,” he says. “When I was a kid I would have loved my parents to play computer games with me. “If you promise your child something for 4pm, they’ll do whatever they need for the rest of the day because they’ll be looking forward to that treat."
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We love Nadia's advice when it comes to books too, revealing that the key to getting your child to read is allowing them to choose the book and reading together as a family activity. We'll be using a few of these pointers ourselves!
To read the full interview, see the latest copy of HELLO!
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