Teaching is the most brilliant profession but it is hard. Parenting is also very hard. Put the two together, throw in sibling rivalry and not being able to leave the house and it all gets so much harder. So here are a few tips and comments which may or may not help – they are not meant to be patronising in any way.
Firstly, we genuinely sympathise with the plethora of difficulties that you may face as a parent during this challenging time. You may be working, you may be delivering online content yourself, you may have younger children, or a combination of all of these factors. Of course, you and other family members may also be ill. We really do understand. The issues we were all working through in our personal lives have not gone away – they are still there and are in some cases made a dozen times worse by these new restrictions and worries for the future.
This is not home schooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting on the whole world. Home schooling is usually a parental choice, where you considered, plan for it and you are your child’s school teacher in whatever form you choose. The situation that we all find ourselves in is not home schooling – you have not chosen it and we would definitely not choose it for you.
I saw a great post on Twitter today which said “Day three of home schooling. All the pupils are in detention for answering back, one member of staff has gone off on stress and the other has been sacked for swearing.”
Funny but telling!
Do the best you can, try to get a routine in the day and go for ‘little and often’ rather than giving up.
- Education staff find home learning hard too. It is not the same teaching your own children!
- Don’t try and completely fill a child’s day, they need down time as do you; primary aged pupils all need time to play – perhaps you do too.
- Don’t set yourselves up to ‘fail’ over time with timetables which are too lengthy (beyond the school day) or that your child might get bored with.
- Save up some good ideas – if you find a new idea, website, recipe etc. Consider when to introduce it as the implication is that we could be doing this for some time.
- Staff are there to help and your teachers have all been in touch with you via email or text. Some by phone. Please ask them for advice when you need it. They may not get back to you immediately but they will get back to you as soon as they can. Some of them are also accommodating illness, social distancing and rest so as to gear ourselves up to future provision for key workers, so not all staff are available at all times. We want to help though.
- Any sort of physical activity during the day will also help with not just everyone’s physical health, but also our mental health too. Sunlight during the day helps you to sleep at night. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, there is no restriction on its use. You don’t have to stay indoors, just away from other people and your garden counts as your home.
- Keep expectations realistic. You know your child best and whether it is working little and often, or doing more of the academic tasks in the morning rather than later in the day; choose a strategy that works for all of you and also works around your work patterns.
- This could also be an opportunity to engage in so many other areas of life skills that don’t involve always sitting in front of a screen. Many families will now be spending more time together in each other’s company. Let’s treasure and make the most of that time. Share the duties – cooking, tidying – skills for life.
- Enjoy some family time – perhaps even complete that jigsaw, colour in, learn an instrument, learn a language together? A lot of people’s flowerbeds are benefitting from this situation – children love gardening too.
- Don’t let this be something that stresses you. In these unprecedented times, all any of us can do is to do our best and please be reassured that you have our support and guidance when you need it.
We will continue to provide home learning throughout this period and please do keep an eye on the school website – especially on the curriculum tab and the history of the school. There are always activities on this website and I am adding a little more every day in between other jobs.