I think we can all agree that this remote learning malarkey has been a steep learning curve for all if us. I’m here sitting on both sides of the fence; setting work on learning platforms for my students (with varying success!) and also getting my own kids to log on, download and complete the work being set by their teachers. We worry that if our children don’t do all their school work perfectly that they will be ‘behind’ and, yes, I do think we should be keeping our kids as up to date as possible with their education, however, sometimes it can all seem a little much and sometimes I do not have the energy or mental capacity to coax my own children into doing all of the set tasks. I know, I’m a teacher, but I’m saying it: sometimes my kids don’t do the work set. Shocker.
Let’s get real. There are days when we are overwhelmed by social isolation, my children are stressed, sad and angry, something I think we’ve all experienced in the past few weeks. Our children’s mental health (and ours for that matter) trump everything, so some days we do our own thing. That’s not to say we just binge on films for the day, but we take a break from the schedules and worksheets, and follow our interests instead. Education is everywhere and doesn’t have to be formal, it can be growing apple pips, looking for bugs in the garden or, talking /writing about their favourite TV show or book. Just asking your children questions about their activity is a great way to spark their interest, and further their imaginations.
The more parents I speak to, the more I realise how many different personal situations we all have right now, we are all battling with multiple stresses, and I can reassure you, that teachers (many of whom are parents too), do not want school work to be stressful. Being a teacher doesn’t give me any advantages in home schooling, to me I’m just their annoying mum asking them to do work, when they would far rather watch Frozen 2. I get all the eye rolling too, so I do know the struggle.
My advice is to do what you can and know what works for you and your family. We are all different, and what works for your friend down the road (and sounds very impressive, organised and educational), is not necessarily going to work for you. Homeschooling reminds me of becoming a mum for the first time, with so much conflicting advice it can be overwhelming – endless debates, on bottles, dummies, sleep training, weaning and re-usable nappies! Advice is useful, but don’t be drawn into the pressures and confusion, you’re their parent, and know what works best.