Updated: Jan 9
If you'd have asked me a year ago if I would consider home schooling, I would have told you
"no way!" ok I may have added an 'F' word in there as well. Yet, here we are in our 2nd round of home schooling nationally but for anyone who has had to do the vicious self-isolation circle, you could well be on your 5th!
So, I'm going to be honest...I did not like the pressure of lockdown 1 home schooling BUT felt bad for the teachers that had gone to the effort of producing creative content for our children. So, where do we stand?
The only way I could help myself and my family was to understand, and I mean fully understand the fact that everyone's lives are different. It doesn't matter how close you are with your cousin and her children or one of the other mums. Everyone's lives work differently, what works for some does not work for others.
So, with that I had to amend our day to suit our family of 5.
This was not an overnight process. It took a little while to come to terms with the fact that, I did not need to keep up with some of the mums that would post daily about how well their home schooling was going. I had to accept that I was in my own lane and things will happen when they are supposed to.
We live in a weird world that makes us believe that we should all be at the exact same level or a better one. The crazy thing is that each individual person has some incredibly beautiful talents, but they're not embraced if they're not relevant for the time.
So, my home schooling took a back seat. I decided that my sanity and my relationship with my children had to take priority. A strange thing happened...we all started to get along better and because we were in a better mood, we squeezed in some home schooling.
NO, we didn't keep up with everything, but we did when we could.
I think that whilst we have been through this before, the Prime ministers briefing on the 31st December 2020, sadly triggered anxiety nationwide.
We have now entered our second lockdown with school closures and the pressure on both parents and teachers is once again upon us.
So, what have we brought from the last lockdown to this one?
Experience, online articles and messages from teachers are now a lot more informative than what they were in March. How could we ever believe anything written in March when no one had experienced this. Home schooling in a lockdown is not the same as home schooling by choice. there are a lot more limitations.
Here are the top 5 things that I have taken from what I have read and learnt from teacher friends:
Acceptance is an important path to positive wellbeing: So, we should try to tell ourselves that we are not "home schooling" we are trying our best to keep life as normal as possible for our children at a time of crisis. If they don't get what we are saying, guess what? that's ok!
2. Emotional skills may well outweigh the reading and writing. We as a family had to develop some strategies to help calm the children in times of stress. They don't always work but when they do, we're thankful we have them. I just don't find it possible to sit with a child when they are already in a stressful state, let alone something I am not equipped to do in the first place. So, I will not feel guilty to park it aside and wait for an opportunity to open when the mood is better.
3. Children can only concentrate for 2-3 times their age. So, if you have a 5-year-old, they may well only be able to concentrate for between 10 and 15 minutes.
4. Feel confident to go back a step if you need to. If your child is finding the work hard, do what you think is the step before. A teacher friend advised this, and this is a big one. Us parents get a little self-doubt creep in when our children don't get it. We feel like it's our fault as we're not teaching them properly. It's important to try and squash those feelings and remember that everyone learns differently, and we are in our own lane. That also includes comparing to other mums!
5. Set aside some time to unwind as a family. No phones, no tablets, laptops, home schooling or news. it's hard, believe me I know but just like a power nap, even 20 minutes of uninterrupted fun will make a difference.
I would like to wish you well through this difficult time. Remember, if you’re struggling, reach out for support.