Doing our bit for lockdown and home schooling

So much has happened since we last updated the blog. It is hard to believe that we are now in the middle of potentially 3-6 months of lockdown and home schooling for millions of children. We have been using our social media channels to keep everyone updated with what we are doing to help with home schooling. As a new business launched only in February just before the Coronavirus emerged in the UK we have barely had a chance to get off the ground working face to face in schools but we are determined to keep going and so everything has now been diverted to online.

We have developed a full set of resources for English, Maths and Science for Reception through to Year 2 which have been featured by Money Saving Expert in their newsletter and on their Facebook Page. We also have a downloadable Easter Activity Book available now. You can download these from Our new online shop and we are happy to report that they have been downloaded just under 10,000 times already during the two weeks we offered them free of charge. We are now offering all our downloadable resources for the greatly discounted price of 99p, with the aim of sustaining the publishing side of our business whilst offering unique and easy to use resources throughout lockdown.

We have also been chosen by TIDE business banking to be featured across their social media for our efforts to help parents who are trying to get to grips with home schooling.

Our newest initiative is to launch

THE CHILDREN’S GAZETTE is a free downloadable magazine packed full of writing, photography and artwork created by children from across the UK during lockdown. The website has lots of ideas for writing, photography and art projects which can be done easily from home which will be updated regularly.

We are so looking forward to putting this together and have already had some fantastic submissions. We are allowing children to add a message to their grandparents of other family member alongside their submissions so we can recreate a sense of community.

Educompendium can also offer a bespoke study support service for families alongside our free offer as we attempt to maintain some of the usual elements of the business. If you would like further details of how we can help them please do get in touch using our contact form.

How to talk to your child about Coronavirus

It’s a conundrum isn’t it? In our constantly connected world, we sometimes don’t realise how much of the big media stories our children are absorbing and what effect it may be having upon them. I was driving my youngest, aged ten, to school the other morning and had the radio on in the car. There was a phone-in with some experts about the possible issues and impacts on everyday life that a more widespread coronavirus epidemic may bring. My youngest is usually a chatterer, especially on car journeys – we get to talking about every topic under the sun on our way to school! This particular morning though, I suddenly became aware that he actually hadn’t said a single word. My immediate thought was that he might be feeling poorly, so I asked him if he was feeling ok. He said he was, but I could immediately tell that something wasn’t quite right. As I drove the short distance between his elder siblings school and his own he suddenly blurted out –“I’m sick of hearing about the coronavirus!”

It wasn’t difficult to work out that he had been worried by the content of the phone-in that I had been listening to. Experts had been talking about the death rate in China, self-isolating and having an underlying health condition such as asthma, which my son had when he first started school. It made me think – how often do our  youngsters go online and see a news headline which is scary? Even if they don’t actually visit a news website and read further, Google, MSN and other search engines will invariably have a headline on their opening pages. Do we often have the news on in the background whilst making dinner, unaware that the content may stick in the minds of particularly, younger children and cause them to worry? When a big news story is breaking like the spread of coronavirus worldwide or the latest terrorist atrocity, is this something we should be much more aware of?

What did I do with this worried child in the few remaining moments I had to settle him before arriving at school? Well I don’t believe in brushing things under the carpet, neither did I want him unduly worrying. I took the approach of explaining to him that yes, there is an illness called Coronavirus which has affected people mainly in China (at the point when we were speaking there were few cases outside of China and this was a mainly pre-emptive phone-in aimed at people who were thinking of travelling abroad) I told him that it like the flu and that we all needed to remember to wash our hands and if we sneezed to use a tissue then throw it away. I also told him that the people most likely to be affected are those who are much much older than him and that there are lots of plans in place to make sure that everyone who gets the virus will be really well looked after. By talking briefly and factually I was able to allay my son’s fears.

If you are going to speak to your child about Coronavirus some things to think about include:

  • Taking into account their general level of fear about health-related issues. Some children can have a strong fear of germs which can be hugely exacerbated in situations such as the current one.
  • Give advice that matches that being given by the school and health authorities – conflicting advice helps no one.
  • Remind your child about hand washing and provide them with tissues. Washing hands when they come in from playtime and when they come home from school is a good routine for any school day.
  • Limit their exposure to news reports about the coronavirus situation, but if they do have questions don’t brush them off – answer honestly and factually in a way appropriate for their age.
  • Try to hide any worries you may have as your anxiety will pass on to your children. Heading to the supermarket with children in tow and proceeding to stockpile toilet rolls, cleaning fluids and tinned food as I have seen in recent days, is not going to do anything but panic the children.

The Covid-19 story has progressed in quite a major way as the days have passed since our conversation and it could well be that my son’s everyday life may eventually start to be impacted by the spread of the virus around the country. Emails have been sent from both schools that my children attend, and I have continued to remind them about the importance of handwashing throughout the day.  I’m keeping up to date with the latest coronavirus developments and will make my own contingency plans when needed, but for now though, for my children, it is business as usual.

Here at Educompendium we are developing a resource pack for parents of Primary aged children packed full of activities to help families cope should widescale school shutdowns need to take place.  If you would like to be kept informed as to its availability or would like further information about our online tuition email

What do you mean you need to make a model of the solar system and it is due in tomorrow?!

The Scene: An ordinary suburban kitchen around 4pm the Sunday before school reopens after half term…

The Characters: First we have Mum, who has just sat down with a cup of tea and is inwardly congratulating herself on being fully prepared for the first day back to school – all uniform washed and ironed – all bags packed – all school shoes present and correct.

Then we have The Boy – who without taking his eyes off the PlayStation screen announces – ‘Oh, I just remembered – I was supposed to make a model of the solar system over half term – it’s due in tomorrow’.

The ensuing panic is something most parents will experience at some point during their child’s school days. The hastily cobbled together project, then usually in truth, involves the parents hurriedly making and child simply observing. The end result is a learning opportunity wasted. Parents working or looking after younger siblings and the demands from school ever increasing can make keeping track of the to do list seem like a full time job in itself.

Communicating about homework projects, announcements about events or reminders about dress up days and charity events can be one of the trickiest issues parents and schools face. It would seem ridiculous that in our constantly connected world the message that little Freddie needs to come dressed as a Roman Soldier this Friday can still fail to get through. Most schools have a weekly newsletter and a Facebook Group, a school website and even a text messaging system, but there will always be the ones who miss the message, myself included. We’re lucky if there is a super organised parent who will do his or her best to ensure that everyone is up to speed.

As a parent I’d like a little bit more warning sometimes of the need to turn a sheet into a Toga. Involving parents in medium term planning is something which some schools do – an outline of what is being covered that term and any key dates and projects given in advance can be a godsend for busy parents.

I miss the days of the printed school newsletter and the simple system I used to have of fishing the crumpled sheet of A4 out of the bottom of a damp school bag. I’d pin it straight on to the notice board in the kitchen and highlight any dates with bright orange pen. Whilst I get that schools want to cut down on printing costs and the cost to the environment, it always seemed to be a far easier way. Our digital worlds are so huge these days that request for half a dozen iced cupcakes with stars on can so easily get lost in the cloud.

We’ve created a printable which will help keep you on track with 7 weeks or approximately half a terms worth of ‘must do’s and don’t forgets’

Download your free copy here – whether you print or use it digitally it’s up to you but we hope it helps…

Developing a Growth Mindset in your child

There are a lot of buzzwords thrown around in Education – In the first of a series of blog posts, in which we seek to decode some of those buzzwords, we take a look at the idea of a ‘Growth Mindset’.

One of the most important things we as educators and parents can do for children is to build up their confidence, whilst the same time reassuring them that sometimes, failing, is a necessary part of learning. So what do we mean by a ‘Growth Mindset’?

The most successful learners have been found to be those who are accepting of the idea that knowledge is gained little by little and that skills increase as they are practiced. A child who expects to get everything right first time would not be described as having a growth mindset. We have all come across those children – perfectionists at heart who despair at not understanding immediately and sometimes become so frustrated they give up at the first hurdle. It is a trait some carry on into adulthood with the resulting drop in self esteem causing problems in the workplace.

One of the ways we can combat this is to use phrases which praise a child’s work ethic and don’t focus on results – so try saying thing like:

You are working really hard – I love that!

You get better each time you try

You are focusing so well at the moment

It really shows that you have been practising so hard

That took so much effort – well done!

When things really don’t go to plan we need to encourage resilience and perseverance and offer support – recognising that things aren’t quite right shouldn’t be avoided – useful comments at this stage would be:

So you’ve found that isn’t working – what do you think you could try next?

What do you think went wrong and how do you think we can fix this?

Keep going you are nearly there – shall we try a different way?

Instilling a love of learning and a developing resilient approach to difficulties are two goals that should be at the heart of any learning environment. Next time a child tells you that they can’t do something because it is just too difficult, challenge their thinking and help them to develop a growth mindset which will make them a more confident lifelong learner.

Is your child on TikTok?

Is your child on TiKTok or perhaps more to the point for many parents, have you even heard of TiKTok? With over half a billion active users worldwide and despite a minimum age requirement of 13 years of age it is likely that the average ten year old in possession of a smartphone will have come across this video sharing website. Recent data shows that over half of all ten year olds own a smartphone – a statistic which in itself is surprising, but only likely to increase in the future.

TiKTok is packed full of 15 second videos, the most popular of which are quickly turned into memes, which go viral across social media. The site allows users to direct message fellow users which raises immediate safety issues in regard to younger users. TiKTok has announced today that it is introducing parental controls which will restrict age inappropriate content. Given that the average age of users is 20 years of age they are finally addressing the concerns of parents who have discovered their preteens spending time on the site. Bearing in mind the minimum age set is 13, this will still allow content through which in the opinion of many parents would not be appropriate for a ten year old. We must as parents and educators have a clear idea of what our 10-13 year olds are doing online and if parents have allowed preteens a smartphone checking for and restricting the TicTok app is a must. A recent OFCOM survey discovered that 13% of children aged 12-15 were using TicTok which was an increase of 8% from the year before.

Our advice is if you know that your child is using TiKTok and you are happy for them to continue using the site then by all means activate those parental controls – but before you do take some time to have a good look at the content that is on there and decide whether there isn’t a site set minimum age of 13 for a reason – after all as parents we don’t always have to say yes to content even with the benefit of parental controls.