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Curriculum for Life

Let the professionals set the work, the parents teach in a way that's familiar but keep the children focussed whilst learning life skills

Photo of Hollie Fox
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I am a.....

  • Graduate Product Designer

Tell us about your idea

I started by looking at the question as a whole, I carried out some primary research and this helped decide which Idea Starter to continue with. The research presented a mix of challenges and as a result, my solution fits best with Idea Starter #4.

Breaking down current at-home learning situations, I found that the main scenarios are either parents working from home themselves whilst trying to home school or parents currently furloughed and home-schooling. I thought about how this can be made fair for both situations as it is fair to say parents home-schooling and trying to work from home would be struggling.

It was the question of what do we really need our children to be learning that needed answering. How could we introduce some more practical skills that can be utilised at home? What better time to do this whilst actually learning from home.

I spent some time looking at the current curriculum and thought about which 'home skill' could mirror which 'school subject'. My solution focusses on leaving it to the educators to set the work and the parents to interpret and teach in a way that is familiar to them. The difficulty of the work will depend on the age of the child, but this will be up to the teacher to work out.

Children can learn maths whilst helping parents cook dinner (this does not take any extra time out of a parent’s day) for example:

A recipe for lasagne (parents can interpret the dish) serves 8, but we only need this for 6 (use percentages and ratios). Out of the 6 portions, only 40% are eaten- How much is eaten? (The difficulty of the question will depend on the child's age)

DT and Art can be learnt by helping parents with jobs around the house, again this will be set by the teacher but up to the parents to interpret. Examples can include, hanging up picture frames, changing a lightbulb and putting furniture together.

The benefits of this reimagined education system are:

-Parents will have more time to focus on working from home by introducing learning into jobs they would already carry out

-It adds some fun into the curriculum as children are currently bored at home not being able to see their friends.

-Children are able to learn useful life skills for the future.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

If COVID has taught us anything it is not to stress about situations we can not control, I believe this mindset should be used in education. The current curriculum focuses too much on exams and testing, I believe stripping it back to basics is the best way forward for learning. Schools should focus more on teaching children life skills rather than subjects they will not make use of as an adult.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I am a graduate product design student with a keen interest in design thinking and research. I was meant to be starting a new design role in April but due to COVID the company were unable to take me on. I am currently furloughed from a previous role and filling my time with different design challenges. I love sharing my ideas and really enjoyed this challenge as I do not have much experience designing for the education sector. My passion is problem-solving within my work, I wanted to utilise my research skills to help with the tough situation we are all facing at this time. 

What region are you located in?

  • Europe

Where are you located?

I live in a busy city in the south of England, there is a strong community feel in my town and this is what inspired me to take on this challenge. I gained real insights from the community and wanted to design something that would make a difference for them.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Peter Worth

Hollie Fox thank you for sharing your idea! I'm a community coach for this challenge. I really appreciate your documentation of your process, and that this idea came from your research.

Have you thought about testing some quick prototypes with community members? What types of subjects work best for this authentic home teaching, and what types of supports might parents need to teach in this way? Thanks!

Photo of Hollie Fox

Hi Peter, thank you for your response, the research phase is my favourite part of the design process so I enjoyed documenting this.

In regards to prototypes I would ask a father and son currently homeschooling to test questions, the child is in year 5 and I think this is a great age to start learning some basic life skills. I would get feedback from this experiment asking parent and son how this compared to current learning for both of them.

I have gained some feedback from a primary school teacher and she believes the best lessons for this type of learning would be Maths, English, Science and Art. Building upon my ideas with Maths and English, A great way to learn science would be walking as it gives children a link to nature. This is something they are currently laking and vocabulary used in lessons pre COVID was very much focussed on technology. Recycling found around the home could be used as Art supplies and it is a great way to teach children about reducing waste.

As long children have support from the teacher and are given work in a way they understand, parents will have the confidence to guide their children through this way of learning.

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