So many questions are filling the heads of parents everywhere.
How to home school?
Are you going to home school?
What to do if your child’s school sets too much work?
Where do you look if your child’s school does not set enough work for your children to do or work that is above or below their ability?
What can you do if you don’t have the skill set or let’s face it patience to teach your own child?
What are you going to do if you don’t home school your kid(s)?
So many questions and the truth is so many variations of answers, what is right for one family won’t be right for another. What one family is going through will be a different experience for another family and this is ok. Unless someone is living in your shoes it is very hard to decide what is the best way forward for you and your kid(s).
Ask yourself, what you want your family to remember about the corona virus and lockdown when you talk about it in years to come, this is usually a good place to start with how you are going to ‘tackle’ the return to the Summer Term when they are not actually returning to School.
YOU are the expert of your family, trust your gut. You can write pros and cons lists, you can rationalize all you like but I encourage you to listen to that niggle in your head, the feeling that comes over you when you think about the Summer Term and what is best for you and your family. What ever you then decide, have the courage to run with your decision even if it means running in a different direction to those around you.
It is absolutely ok not to home educate your child, just as it is absolutely ok to home school.
If teaching, planning lessons, interpreting what the school has sent or not sent, battling with your kids to do anything is causing you stress or means your anxiety is rising then don’t do it. Put the guilt or questions buzzing around in your head, to one side and don’t do it! Once your child returns to school the teachers (who are amazing) will pick up from where your child is at and then will take steps to move their learning forward. What will you fill your days with if you are not going to home school?
If you are home schooling, how are you going to structure your day? Will you follow what the school is sending through or are you going to blaze your own trail?
It might be that you have decided that half way house is a good place to be with a little ‘school’ input and then the rest of your day will be spent doing what your family wants to do. Could you spend an hour on English and Maths with extra time for reading and then you move onto life learning.
Regardless of the age of your child, do not underestimate the power of play. Build time for play into your day, especially if it is not obvious due to the age of your child. Play does not have to be toys, it can be drawing, creation making out of recycling, music making or running around the garden.
I would, however, regardless of if you are home schooling or not, encourage you to get your kid(s) to read during lockdown, to listen to audio books or age appropriate podcasts. Can you ask their grandparent(s) to read to them via FaceTime or create a reading paper chain where you add a chain link for every book your child reads. Reading has a power to engage, to empower their imaginations and to learn about life through the characters they are reading about. Reading is for everyone regardless of ability, we just need to find the material that allows your child to find the reading bug.
In 10 years time when your child is asked what they remember from this time of lock down, they are probably not likely to say ‘oh that is when you taught me all about the Ancient Greeks’ unless they are huge fans of learning about history and this captured their imagination and interest. They are more likely to remember how they felt and the ‘fun’ learning that occurred such as; camping in the back garden, daily bike rides, family Zoom calls, baking or simply being able to do their own thing which may or may not include hours of screen time (no guilt here for my daughter’s screen time!).
Stand true to your beliefs and values at this uncertain and strange time in the history of our planet, even if this means that your path is different to those around you.
We are in this together.
This blog was originally written for Weekend Nannies.