Many parents are coming to the end of their fifth week of homeschooling their children. It’s an unprecedented situation – with parents making the shift to remote working, maybe for the first time – and having to juggle homeschooling their children with attending Zoom conference calls and keeping themselves from climbing one of their four walls.
Most schools are adhering to a rota of skeleton staff as they stay open to cater to children of key workers. Even when teachers aren’t on the school premises, they are still working hard from their homes. They’re always figuring out new ways to help parents educate their children – whether it’s offering advice and much-needed support to individual parents or sharing new and exciting resources to keep the children entertained.
We’ve spoken with a few parents homeschooling their children and juggling work. We talk about the highs and lows and any advice they have for parents in a similar situation.
We have a new appreciation for teachers
After speaking with parents, it seems there’s a newfound appreciation for teachers. Although parents appreciated them before, some don’t understand how they manage to organise a class of children all day.
Chrissy, a mum to two boys, Harry (7) and George (4), says: “I have very high regard for the teachers now… trying to teach two kids is a nightmare, and they have 30!!! How they don’t swear is a miracle. Harry and George will be going back with a few choice words. My advice (and I should listen to myself) is don’t panic about them being behind, just try and enjoy the time. Don’t listen to what others are doing, find what works for your kids and stick with that.”
Schools are supportive
With teachers available via email for support and advice, parents have found schools, in general, are supportive. Schools across the country have impressed upon parents that they shouldn’t feel any pressure to complete tasks if they don’t have the time to fit everything in.
Primary school teacher, Laura, mum to Louie (6) and Isla (4) says: “Louie’s school upload about three core tasks a day using an online platform but have said we shouldn’t feel pressurised to do them. I’ve been doing my own activities with him – things we can look back on in years to come like a daily weather diary and weekly journal. His school friends have also become pen pals and are taking it in turns to write to each other each week. We aim to do about an hour a day, as well as reading, but apart from that, it’s play, play and more play!”
It’s important to stay positive
Although none of us know when the lockdown restrictions will end, it’s essential to keep positive. It’s not just as simple as allocating time for homeschooling and work – some families have younger children to keep entertained, too. Michelle recommends starting a weekly family diary so you can look back and remember what you did during the lockdown.
Michelle, a mum to Isabella (7) and baby Harris, said she’s trying to keep positive:“The school has sent us general tasks and ideas, I’m using them as a guide to ensure Isabella keeps up with maths and English. We do two small tasks a day, most days plus reading. Everything else is play play play! Having Harris makes things a little more interesting, so we work it around his naps. We want it to be a positive thing to look back on so I don’t plan to get stressed about schooling and being the perfect parent; we do a weekly family diary so we can look back over what we did in lockdown, planted seeds, lots of craft and exercise. Hoping that keeps her brain active enough for when she eventually returns to school!”
We hope that reading some of this advice and the experience other parents are having has helped you realise that you’re not alone in this homeschooling situation.
The takeaways: try and enjoy the time you have with your children and focus on communicating honestly and having fun!