Nadia Sawalha and her husband, TV producer Mark Adderley, are some of the few parents across the UK that have not been thrown off by school closures during the coronavirus pandemic.
While many mums and dads had to quickly learn how to juggle working from home and educating their children during the first lockdown, the Loose Women star has been homeschooling her two daughters Maddie, 18, and Kiki-Bee, 13, for five years.
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Amid the nation's third national lockdown, we take a look at her top homeschooling tips, which she previously shared with HELLO! in an exclusive interview...
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1. Family can help
"What we’d like other worried parents to know is that it’s worked wonderfully well," Nadia told 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; back in April 2020, Maddie was preparing to audition for drama school, while Kiki-Bee wanted to work in animation.
READ: Nadia Sawalha and husband Mark reveal their biggest parenting regret
Nadia and her daughters cooking together
Now tutor-free once again due to the lockdown, it's likely that Nadia, Mark and live-in grandmother, Nanny Di, are doing the teaching. So any live-in relatives or, in some cases, members of your support bubble may be able to help.
2. Ignore time schedules
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 said.
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"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," said Nadia. "Teenagers study better after they’ve had more sleep."
3. You don't have to know the answers
When it comes to core subjects, the actress suggested: "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.
Dad Mark with Maddie and Kiki-Bee
"And if you don’t know something, admit it. Nobody knows everything. But showing your child how to find the answer is very useful."
4. Make it fun
Dad Mark had a few tips of his own too, telling HELLO!: "Learning doesn’t have to happen in a classroom." He added: "Every art gallery in Britain has a virtual tour online. Make learning fun, too. I use humour and try to make the girls smile."
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5. Offer after school activities
"Give them something to look forward to," he said. "When I was a kid I would have loved my parents to play computer games with me.
Lenient schedules, fun learning and after-school activities are some of Nadia's suggestions
"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."
6. Give them some freedom
We loved 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!
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