I am a parent first (and an education leader second) I’m seeing a huge amount of anxiety about ‘home schooling’. First of all – “home schooling” as a term is a bit misleading.
As a teacher at home or a teacher in school who has a non-teaching partner at home – don’t forget that all you need to do is keep your children physically active and continue to be engaged with learning. School closures are in place to allow some teachers the chance to provide critical emergency childcare care to Key Workers. As parents or carers you are now part of a huge team enabling NHS staff and others to keep the country safe, preserve life and keep food flowing. If you or your partner are a key worker and you’ve managed to keep your children at home because you understand this is ‘emergency childcare’ then thank you for understanding the bigger picture. By keeping your children at home you are also minimising the spread of the coronavirus.
1) This is not home schooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation. If you don’t start any kind of school work today or tomorrow and you aim for Wednesday whilst you get organised, drop food at your parents, move a table at home so you can set up your work laptop that’s fine! It’s absolutely fine!
2) When you do start to get your children to do something I think a good starting point could be to do some age-appropriate topic work about the coronavirus. Help them understand why they are at home and that they are playing an important part in making history. I’ve got some scrap books, some coronavirus newspaper articles and have set various questions/ tasks
- What is the virus?
- How did it start?
- What can we do to slow down the spread?
- What are different countries doing?
- Make a poster to encourage people to do 1 thing to ‘stop the spread’ eg hand washing
- Write a diary entry about how you feel today and what the news is saying (watch the Newsround coronavirus special)
- Make a video message to cheer Nana and Grandad or elderly relatives up (we can send it later)
- Write down any worries you have in bubbles and colour the biggest worries in red and the little worries in yellow.
- Make a PowerPoint presentation about Covid19
3) Re: schools … we had hardly any notice, some schools are further along than others in harnessing digital technology. We are anxious about our students at home, our students who are coming in, ourselves and our colleagues. Many schools have started to send links out to on-line work or to signpost to useful websites. It’s going to take a while to explore all this. Secondary school students can explore them and report back to you what’s useful/ clear and what they can crack on with. Primary school children will need you to do this with them at first.
4) It is absolutely not possible to ‘work from home all day’ whilst keeping younger children learning or occupied. All you can do is aim to facilitate some distance learning for a few hours whilst building in some time for you to do your work when your children are watching a film, reading a book or playing with Lego. This won’t last forever so just do what you can but be realistic and kind to yourself.
5) Keeping children physically active doesn’t have to mean you turn into a PE teacher! Try and aim for at least 30 mins being active a day! If you have a garden run round it with music on, play tag, practice throwing and catching, kicking balls, jump on your trampoline etc. If you don’t have any outdoor space and can’t access one, then you can dance, run on the spot, and check out the Youth Sport Trust resources that are on the way very soon https://www.youthsporttrust.org/news/government-supports-sport-sector-response-keep-children-active-during-coronavirusalso you can tune into Joe Wicks children’s daily workout : https://m.youtube.com/
6) You might be worried about your child falling behind but honestly, we are all in this together and schools will have to catch children up together when things get back to normal. This is mainly revision work, if we could teach children new concepts and knowledge remotely then teachers would be out of a job! If you can keep your children’s brains active, keep reading, keep active and stay safe then you are winning.
7) Mental Health – see my other blog for useful resources around this vital area https://allianceforlearning.wordpress.com/blog/
- Read lots
- Help with cleaning/ gardening
- Watch some TV
- Physical exercise every single day
- Keep a routine of some description including bedtime
- Try and maintain a healthy diet
- Remember they have water bottles at school -keep this going
- FaceTime grandparents daily
- Listen to music and dance
- Do a few ‘projects’ making a folder about a topic or creating their own book or presentation
If you have very young children then dress up, play make believe games – shop, cafe, hotel, holidays, lots of imaginative play, let them make it up.
Be kind to yourself.
You are enough.