How are you coping as a parent at home with children during the Coronavirus lockdown?
During these unprecedented times we may experience a feeling of extra pressure to home school our children to a high standard.
Here are 10 statements to show parents that you are actually winning at home educating.
1. Mental health
Our children’s emotional wellbeing is the most important thing. If your child is feeling a bit wobbly, focus on this, not the academics. They will be mourning cancelled parties and closed parks. We don’t know how long this will last for, so be sensitive to your child’s feelings.
2. Adult anxiety
Similarly, if you are feeling a bit wobbly yourself, put on your personal life-jacket first and look after your own wellbeing before panicking about your child’s progress.
3. Parent teachers
Teaching your own children is hard. It’s certainly not something I ever wished to do! Just because you are qualified in the field, it does not mean that teaching your child will be easy, especially if they are not generally receptive to learning!
If you are secondary trained, it may not be easy to tap into how your 6-year-old learns and if you teach infants then you may find teaching a year 10 pupil just as challenging. It is okay ‘not to know’ what you are doing. Use this time as an opportunity to bond and remember that learning through play is appropriate at any age.
Juggling different age children is a challenge. Both in class and at home and catering for all learners is a logistical nightmare. Give yourself a break, after all, who can do it perfectly, day in day out? You may have a detailed daily timetable or a be a person with no timetable at all. Both are fine! At the same time, you may wish to go off-piste with the home learning sent by your child’s teacher…
5. Managing your work
You are probably also working from home. Parents will forgive your children screaming in the background whilst video conferencing. These are challenging times. You cannot be a perfect home educator as well as meet the demands of facilitating your pupils’ learning.
6. Individualised tuition
Your children are getting much more feedback than usual. If you have a child to adult ratio of 1:3 for example, your time is split 3 ways. This is a much higher ratio than a normal classroom, so, if you only spend 1.5 hours in a day on academic subjects, this is still more 1:1 time in comparison to a real classroom! I’ve never met any tutor who can sustain 5 hours of non-stop tuition…
7. No need to hover…
As teachers, we set children off ‘on tasks’ and expect some degree of independence. You can do the same. They probably don’t want you breathing down their necks while they work. There’s no need to hover; go easy on each other and set some time limits for space and work.
8. Seek support
There are a plethora of wonderful ideas on the web and children’s teachers are rising to the occasion, doing all they can to help. Video call a colleague and share a glass of something. If you need support, just ask.
9. A well-rounded curriculum
Use this opportunity to develop their wider curriculum by cooking, craft projects, household chores and building resilience, including getting creative online. We can shape the curriculum that we want for our children and none of us will ever get this opportunity again.
10. The iPad is your friend!
There is still such a thing as too much ‘screen time’, but if you need it, use it, don’t abuse it.
I live in hope that one of the positives to come out of this COVID19 situation is for the people at the top to realise that many children have not been disadvantaged by this process. They will have had different opportunities and will have learnt new knowledge and skills.
If you’re looking for academic research, try Educating young children at home: key lessons from research; you can also find a collection of resources from UCL that schools can share to support parents.