Jonathan (39) and Anna (32), with their four children and six dogs, have over 1.8 million subscribers to their YouTube channel and a combined 3.8 million social media followers. Starting off as a fun experiment to document the couple’s milestones and daily happenings, Jonathan set himself a challenge to film every day for 7 days. This soon turned into an enjoyable hobby and escalated into a project like no other. Four beautiful children later (Emilia (7), Eduardo (5), Alessia (3) and Andrea (1)), their content has become predominantly family focussed and Jonathan’s experiment has evolved into a full-time career.
With the continuation of lockdown restrictions across the UK, millions of parents up and down the country will be feeling at a loss about what they can do to maintain a happy family life and content kids, so The Saccone Jolys have helped parents with some wonderful Homeschooling Tips.
Use a diary, wall calendar or even a pad of paper to plan at the start of each week. I usually spend Sunday evenings going over what the school provides for us and working out when we can fit it in, and then copy that over to our family calendar which hangs in our kitchen. It’s colour coded for each family member! I think this really helps to encourage the kids to take it seriously and acts as a solid timetable. We’ve realised that the kids find it a lot easier to concentrate in the morning, so we try to get the most important parts of home-schooling done around that time, but every child is different! I’d say have a go at looking for patterns in your kid’s attention spans over a week or two and then try to construct your days around that. I think it’s so important to keep spirits up so we’re trying to go easy on ourselves and just be grateful for the learning that does get done..!
Let them work independently where possible. This is only really true for Emilia (8) as the other three, Eduardo (6), Alessia (3) and Andrea (2) are too young, but we try to let Emilia work independently as much as she can. We make her aware that Jonathan and I are free if she’s stuck or needs any help, but this is a good way of keeping distraction levels down. I’ve also read that it’s really good for kids to learn how to study on their own as soon as possible which works for us!
Dedicate time for exercise. Making sure your kids have dedicated time to exercise is really important and helps keep their energy levels consistent. We normally take the children out either in the garden or for a walk once a day. It gives them a break from constantly being on screens and refreshes them. We usually plan it for the afternoon when things start to go a bit haywire! We take the buggy for Andrea if he gets tired and the fresh hair gets them hungry for dinner time as well as tired enough to get a good night’s sleep!
Make dinner early. Recently I’ve been making dinner around 1-2pm. Having it prepped and ready to go ahead of mealtimes reduces any fuss and helps to keep the madness to a minimum. The kids have usually stopped concentrating by mid-afternoon which means they are free to play, so I have some time to get things done ahead of time. It also means I am able to enjoy the evenings with my family a whole lot more.
Always make a meal plan for the week. I did this pre-lockdown and I continue to do it. It’s a pain but it honestly helps keep me so much more organised and I save money too. I usually do an online shop and schedule for it to arrive on Monday mornings. When the kids were at school some of them needed packed lunches and others had school dinners, but now we all need lunch! We usually do traditional packed lunch style - sandwich, piece of fruit and a treat of some sort (crisps, snack bar – that sort of thing) or batch making is a God send. Planning for dinner is slightly easier as I am used to that. If you think it might help, have a go at making a monthly meal plan to have on rotation, I know it can be really useful and works for lots of families.