As we all start to come to terms with the new normal of homeschooling and social distancing, many students are feeling a little adrift at the moment. If you were in a year group facing exams then you may have found yourself with little motivation or even little actual set work to do. Even without having the end goal of exams removed, other students are finding themselves either overwhelmed by work set or finding it tricky to motivate themselves. There is no right answer to any of this; schools have been set an impossible task to both provide meaningful work and simultaneously act as childminders to those students who can't be cared for at home. They are doing their best in a stressful and scary situation. Equally, parents who are attempting to manage careers and a new role as educator-in-chief are feeling the strain, particularly if they have multiple children or their work has taken a downturn.
We all need to be kind to ourselves and each other in this peculiar period - none of us have experience of this and we are all making it up as we go along. For secondary school students, it can be difficult to encourage learning particularly if it is stuff that you don't feel confident with yourself. It's even harder if they are no longer working towards the exams that they expected to sit. There are a few options available to you in this case: firstly, if they are not planning to go on to A Levels then you may wish to encourage them to continue working towards GCSEs. If their result comes out lower than they hoped then they may wish to sit the exams in the Autumn (or whenever the system allows). I wouldn't recommend necessarily trying to stick to the same schedule as school but a little and often approach with a gentle routine may help them stay focused and, crucially, keep their mind off things.
For those who are planning on taking A Levels (or degrees), this is a great opportunity to get ahead of the reading. You could read the set texts for English but even better, read around them too. If you are studying Death of a Salesman, read Streetcar Named Desire to compare. If you are reading Keats, have a look at some Wordsworth or Shelley as well.
History students should take the opportunity to develop a basic understanding of the key events that they will be studying. Make timelines and find out about crucial characters: this will be invaluable when you get to the A Level proper as you will be able to focus on analysis rather than just knowledge.
If you are a student (or a parent of a student) of English or History and would like some ideas of things to do, feel free to email me and I can provide some suggestions for reading and activities. If there is work set that you don't understand, send it over and I'll guide you through it. I won't be charging for providing advice and guidance.