Health and happiness are the most important things during this time. Still, also we have to think about the school work being sent home and what learning our children are potentially missing out on. Some of us are going to be thinking about this more than others. Each family is going to find a way they can do what they can, and find a way for it to fit in with their new, temporary life.
I have to admit, I am a worrier and an over-thinker. Before it was announced that schools were closing I had already bought my 8 years old daughter the following;
- 3 x Pink lever arch folders,
- 200x Plastic document wallets
- 10x pink HB pencils
- Colouring pencils and pens
- Multiplication Books
And printed off what feels like the entirety of the Twinkl website! This was my way of coping, and doing what I do best; overthinking.
The prime minister announced the closures of all schools nationally, and it was OK because I was ready to go. I was already indoors as I received a shielding letter from the NHS, so I didn’t have to worry about that and luckily Mr Croot can work from home.
The school said they were sending home learning packs. Great! I thought. We will have plenty to do. When my daughter came home on the last day, she had also been given a log in for a school site whereby teachers were planning to upload work for the students. Little did I realise the amount of work she was going to get set!
Soldering on, keeping kids engaged
The first few weeks were excellent, we were plodding through the work that was set and extra if she wanted to. Then we started running out of time to do things together. Nothing surprising, just baking and decorating cupcakes, making bread, colouring and usual family things.
Then obviously she started getting bored with all the school work. We tried more breaks to break it up, even more, we decided to try no breaks to get it all done by lunchtime. That didn’t work.
Feeling a bit deflated, I decided to talk to the other class mums. (We have a WhatsApp group that was set up in reception and now the children are in year 3, we use it all the time! if your Childs class doesn’t have one, GET ONE!).
Idea’s to switch up the school routine
It made me feel a lot better because all the parents were in the same boat as me. I realised every single mum had a different idea, a different routine, a different way that their child could manage. These were some of the ideas;
- Limit to an hour of work before lunch, and an hour after. The rest of the time do family things and learn through play.
- Let the child lead the learning, and when they have had enough, let them stop and do something else.
- Some of the mums had made their own curriculum entirely and were not using the school website at all.
- Find your child’s weaknesses and work on those rather than pushing new work onto them. For example, if your child struggles with division/the bus stop method, try going back to the basics of the bus stop method rather than trying to keep up. Teach them from the beginning. When they go back to school, they will have a substantial grip on that method and will no longer be confused.
The important message here from me is to not stress! Do what you feel is best for your family and see this time as a blessing. Life is so busy with school, work, after school clubs and sports we never get this time. Our children will never be this age again. We can’t expect every day to go to plan and that is OK! It is OK to deviate from the plan. All we have to remember is that us mums are doing our best right now and we should all be there to support and help each other.