Bringing the subjects to life is something that we often just don't have time for in school,” adds father-of-three and former super headteacher, Leon Hady.
“You hear the phrase ‘teaching to the test’, right? What home learning can do is spark an interest in their subjects. They don't look at it as a lesson, they just think about it in terms of what's in front of them. They're thinking about it in the way that teachers would love students to think about it rather than in the way that they might be taught to think about it for an exam.”
Of course, most parents aren’t teachers and may not have the equipment or resources to create these practical lessons, and this is where kits can come in. Any museum gift shop is replete with these practical and education
Hady has personally had success with subscription kits for his daughters, which help keep things interesting and offer the
kind of routine young minds crave. “You can rely on them for a few weeks for a science lesson, or a home economics class,” he says. “It's a doable and positive addition. And for some students it's a much better way of learning than being at the computer screen.”
A baking subscription kit has turned Hady’s 7-year-old daughter into “a little Delia in the kitchen”, bringing her out of her shell and lending her confidence in her more traditional school subjects, while his 10-year-old has started collecting science kits which have sparked a real passion for the subject.
“I've caught her looking at YouTube channels where they're explaining some really complex concepts, but she's just so
fascinated by science now.,” he says. “Even if she doesn't properly understand it, she's in for the penny in for the pound. That exposure is a great thing.”
Ultimately kits, subscription services, and at-home experiments can’t replace the curriculum but they might just foster a love for a subject which can make the Zoom learning just a bit more bearable. And come the reopening of schools, it might make all the difference.
“There's a remarkable difference between those who work at home and those who don't,” concludes Franklin. “Children who don't have those experiences are often more cautious about doing things in school because they don't see why they need to be doing it. Children who do things like science experiments, or baking, or anything at home are then more confident to try different things in class.”