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Mum's Guide To Romford Blog

Home Schooling - The Reality

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There is so much talk on social media about home schooling. I have shared a list of websites with free resources and called it 'Home Schooling Ideas' but the reality and our personal expectations of that are so far apart. Many parents are feeling overwhelmed and stress levels are high.

I was a primary teacher for 10 years so this is where my experience lies. I cannot speak for the secondary education system, but I can speak as a parent.

Firstly. Let's just all take a breath.

This has come at us like a bolt out of the blue. We watched other countries shut down and naively didn't realise the impact this would have on our lives. The schools have closed to all but a few children. We've all be sent learning packs or work to do at home with our kids.


I'm just going to say it ...


We did not choose to be home educators.

The schools are not expecting us as parents to become teachers.

Children are not expected to follow the curriculum during this time.

The children who are still in school will not be following the curriculum as it stands.

ALL CHILDREN WILL START BACK WHEN THIS IS OVER AND BE AT DIFFERENT STAGES.

 

We cannot prepare them for the return to school academically but we can support them to keep their brains active.

We are faced with an indefinite amount of time with our kids at home. They get bored. They need to stimulated and they love to learn new things. Being bored isn't a bad thing. I think children in this generation are often over stimulated in terms of constant activity and don't always know how to entertain themselves if for example the WiFi goes down. We have a great opportunity now to show them how to be creative, how to 'find things to do'.

So thinking about that, we have a situation where we may have to work from home and maintain an income that pays the bills, so we don't have time to home school in the sense that we understand home schooling to work. Maybe we have had to take leave without pay and we can't afford to spend money on educational resources. Maybe we have children at vastly different stages in the education system and we literally just don't know how to support them. Everyone's situation will be slightly different.

As a primary teacher myself, I know that even the normal school holidays, doing nothing at all can lead to a regression in ability. So how can we manage this unorthodox situation?

Schools have sent home work packs or online learning platforms to access. In an ideal world children will do some school work or educational activity every day. This is help them to maintain a level that they are currently at. Most importantly it will help to stimulate their brains and help limit those unwelcome behaviours which often are exhibited when kids are bored.

To make life easier for us all being cooped up in the house for long periods, a routine will definitely help. Children thrive on knowing the expectations. They need boundaries. They need to know where the goal posts are.

This does not mean a timetable of lessons. You may be trying to work so this won't be manageable.

You will have to find what works for you as a family. Ultimately what I am saying is don't panic. All of our children will be in the same boat so we can only do what we can.

There are a vast amount of free resources out there which can help you to keep your child busy. In the long run they will make your life easier.

Remember - this is between you and your children. No one is marking the work, no one is assessing YOUR ability! Even work that is being sent back to school via online platforms can't be accurately judged. Teachers will just be excited that the children are busy and keeping their skills up. Obviously for older children in upper KS3 and 4 who already work independently things will be different and there may be an expectation from school to return a certain amount of work.

Don't beat yourself up. 

You have already taught your children great life skills and this time at home will be a terrific opportunity to develop that. Chores, basic cooking/baking, helping to maintain the garden, organisational skills. These are all important and valid.

So while we are all using the term 'home schooling' very freely at the minute, the reality is that this is not what we are all going to be doing. It can't be. 


And that's ok.

 

 

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