About the Home School Connect Packs & Website
Children learn to read and learn maths at school. What are the home resource packs for?
Research has shown conclusively that parents involvement in a child’s learning matters a great deal. Rich home learning environments are associated with higher academic achievement outcomes in children. The HSC packs empower parents to monitor, reinforce and extend their children’s class learning at home.
The unique thing about HSC, is that parents can engage with HSC in the way that they want, and in a way that is right for them and their child. As HSC activities are a complement to school, parents are free to choose how much and what activities they would like to do. Parents may wish to use the packs to:
- reinforce concepts being covered in school so that their child is confident.
- make good on any gaps in their child’s learning, or help with concepts their child needs further practice with.
- focus on activities that their child is particularly interested in
- stretch able learners or young children hungry for stimulation.
- prime/prepare children for class learning, by providing learning opportunities at home before children experience it in school.
Research also indicates that children who start off ahead in the early years, maintain that academic advantage far into their future schooling years.
What is in the packs?
Both maths and reading packs contain a parent activity guide along with practical resources which can be used with children to make learning fun! All materials are high quality and sourced from well established educational resource companies that supply schools all over the country.
The activities in the HSC guide are short easily implementable (approx. 10 minute) activities using the practical resources in the pack. The activities do not have a workbook/worksheet completion emphasis and are much more hands on, practical and fun (replicating the way children learn in school within the EYFS).
How does it work and how do parents know what to do?
The parent guides – Each resource pack comes with a comprehensive guide specifically written for parents wanting to support/extend their child’s learning at home. The guide is written simply (avoiding teacher jargon) and explains to parents what children will need to learn over the academic year/s in reading or numeracy. The main part of the guide describes the various 10 min home activities. However there are other invaluable parent know-how sections of the guide. For example, parent-child interaction tips, how to provide feedback while children are learning, motivating, monitoring and rewarding children’s learning efforts. The guide/s also contain useful appendices that assist with further home activities (the physical resources supplied with the guide are not the only teaching items - quite a few are included within the guide itself).
Video Clips – Both Maths Videos and Reading Videos can be accessed from the website, demonstrating how children learn in school and learn at home. The home videos show families implementing a selection of reading and numeracy activities which correspond to the HSC guides.
The Website – The website offers parents further help to support children’s learning at home, such as picture book recommendations; links to free online games; access to a phonic soundboard so that parents can hear how the sounds are pronounced; reward sticker charts, home learning diaries, curriculum information and other downloadables.
How frequently and for how long should I work with my child at home?
Much of this will depend upon your own time availability and the aptitude/interest/ability of your child. Everyone’s home circumstances and children are very different! That said, to get the most out of the materials, HSC recommends a ‘little and often’ approach. Short 5 – 10 minute activity sessions are generally more suitable for the nursery 3 – 4 age group and perhaps slightly longer for the Reception aged child.
For the EYFS Maths and the Nursery Reading Pack, HSC recommends short sessions of twice a week or more (children who are very enthusiastic and parents who have more time can obviously do more).
For the Reception Reading Pack, HSC recommends that:
- picture books are read aloud to children every day or almost everyday.
- children also try to read a book (or part of a book) aloud to their parent every day or almost every day.
- Short parent-child phonic activity sessions occur approximately twice a week (or more).
How long can I use the reading packs for?
The nursery and reception reading packs are intended to be used for 1 academic year (depending upon which one has been bought). However, some children will be able to access the nursery pack earlier than age 3 and the Reception pack earlier than age 4. The development window is very wide at this age, and some children develop faster than others. When parents decide to purchase the pack for their child is a personal decision and will largely depend upon when parents feel their child is ready to engage and enjoy the resources.
How long can I use the maths packs for?
2-3 Years. The packs and guide are completely aligned to the EYFS curriculum and can be used throughout the two EYFS years, Nursery and Reception. Indeed, some parents will use the packs slightly before the recommended age (perhaps from 30 months onwards) and many children will use the extension material provided well into Year 1 (e.g. from the maths pack).
Can’t we get a lot of these reading and maths resources free on the internet?
No. The internet is flooded with worksheets (more so for Year 1 onwards) and learning through worksheets is less appropriate, particularly for the 3-5 EYFS age group.
The home school connect resources are physical hands on resources that you can hold, feel, and manipulate (the same as is found in classrooms all over the country). Home School Connect believes that families can replicate the kind of learning that happens in school with some basic know-how on appropriate activities, talk and hands on resources. HSC has tried to save parents time, effort and money by putting together a great selection of relevant materials for their child. Many parents feel overwhelmed by the education market and don’t know where to start!
I’ve bought lots of workbooks. Do the packs offer something more?
Yes definitely. There are a couple of workbooks included in the packs. However, children learn best through multisensory learning and 90% if not more, needs to occur through talking, social interaction, exploring and doing.
Workbooks are less appropriate for this specific age group for that reason and although can form part of a child’s home learning diet, it should not be the main or only mode of learning. Besides, young children enjoy variety and can often find workbook learning (if done in isolation) boring or tedious.
The HSC packs offer a multi-sensory approach and the opportunity for learning to occur through dialogue, social interaction, having fun and play.
Click here to view EYFS Reading & EYFS Maths Packs
Why not just use apps or online games?
It is true that there are some excellent apps and online games which do enhance children’s reading and maths skills. Furthermore children are excited and eager to use/play them. However, ICT modes of learning are just one way. They are a great source of learning, but ideally should form part of a child’s learning diet, rather than be the only or main part. In fact HSC has compiled a list of free online reading games and free online maths games.
In school, children learn in a variety of ways (and modes) to keep learning fun, fresh and interactive (they discuss, observe, play games, engage in interactive activities, use ICT, and perform pencil/paper tasks etc). Primarily however, children learn most effectively with key adult involvement, interactive dialogue and social interaction. This is why in school, a computer can never be a desirable substitute for the class teacher. In the same way, children at home learn best from an adult mediated (namely the parent), multi-sensory learning environment.
What makes the packs so special and a great buy?
Parents can support their children at home without a great deal of specialist knowledge or time, with HSC’s ‘pick up and go’ approach
Parents have the physical games/resources to hand which engages their children and makes learning fun!
HSC packs are EYFS curriculum aligned – Parents can meaningfully keep a close eye on their children’s progress and support them accordingly.
Resources can be used over a whole academic year. As the packs are physical resources (unlike monthly subscriptions to online services, tutoring or attending after school centres), HSC packs can save time and offer value for money, particularly for families with more than one child. Resources can be used again with younger siblings, sold or passed on if kept in good condition.
Learning at home from loved ones is also a far more age appropriate and comfortable mode of learning for children this young.
About the supporting Home School Connect Website
There are many websites supporting parents to help their children’s learning at home, what is unique and particularly useful about this one?
The website is solely dedicated to being a quality resource for parents supporting their children’s learning in the home. Everything a parent needs to know (for the EYFS years) is here all in one place.
The website provides further support to parents who have purchased the HSC packs by providing them with relevant information, news, games, downloadables, online phonics resources, and videos.
I have bought a HSC pack, how can I get the most out of the supporting website?
Use the phonics soundboard to hear how to say the 40+ phonemes
Confused on what picture books to read with your child? View HSC recommendations.
Download maths downloadables such as reward sticker charts, monitoring home learning diaries and curriculum information.
Download reading downloadables such as reading checklists, rewards sticker charts and home learning diaries.
Read the latest news related to the EYFS and parents supporting children’s ‘at home’ learning