These sure are strange times we are living in right now, huh?
Here in the UK we’ve been on a fairly loose “lockdown” for several weeks now.
I’ve been working from home for 8 weeks and the kids have been home for about 6 weeks. If this sounds like you then I applaud you, pat you on the back, salute you and any other thing we can do to acknowledge good work, greatness, survival etc. I kid you not – this is hard stuff.
In any given 24 hours I am typically being a dad, a husband and employee and a teacher, all within the confines of the walls of my house, it’s crazy.
In amongst all of this we are doing our best to keep our two boys education needs ticking over. The school they both go to has been great with daily updates on what to cover, weekly support calls and forums etc to keep in touch. However – I do hear from a wide variety of mums and dads that they fear they are not doing a good job of this. Stop. Now. The vast majority of us are not teachers. We are not trained to deliver education to small humans. We did not go to teacher training school and learn wizard-like techniques to control and educate kids.I”t is more than likely that you are in fact doing a GREAT job – all things considered.
Here’s my top 5 tips for home schooling and keeping sane during this Lockdown situation:
1: Try to keep a routine.
Routine for children is one of those foundational needs. Wake up. Breakfast. School. Home. Snack. Play/TV. Supper. Bed. It’s the same thing when they’re at school – it’s good for them to know what’s coming up when. A very high-level example of ours goes something like:
9am: exercise (Joe Wicks or Cosmic yoga)
1.30 – 2.30: Maths/Numbers
2.30-3pm: Wind down/Tidy up
None of this is written in stone and serves as just a guideline structure for our day. The times are fluid – once they’ve done the work they need to then generally we’re done with the block
2: Don’t flog a dead horse.
The difference between your home school and the real thing is that you really don’t need to push your kids the way they might in school. They are going to have those days when they can’t quite muster the motivation – just like you will. If you can, just take it a bit easier on those days. Nobody’s judging.
3: Be Positive.
It’s entirely possible you will be horrified at the quality of your little one’s handwriting or artistic prowess. It might be tempting to tear a strip off them for not knuckling down, or for giggling with their siblings during lesson time. Look for opportunities to praise them. Praise them hard. Do your best to build them up however you can. I think that kids respond far better in these situations to positivity than to criticism. Give them praise for their efforts and good behaviour not just the outcomes and achievements – although these are important too when they occur.
4: Prioritise happiness.
Your child is probably feeling as weirded out by what’s going on as you are. Maybe they are feeling a little confused about things, sad about not being able to see friends and family. Help them be happy as much as you can. Make them feel safe. Make them feel happy to be home with you. Make them feel reassured and loved.
5: Be kind to yourself.
Just to be clear – OFSTED are not going to be coming round to inspect. You are doing great in whatever you are doing. Stop comparing yourself to teachers. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. You are doing what you can, when you can. As long as your children are happy, loved and safe you are doing a great job.
What tips do you have for home schooling during these times?