Our children are 12 (secondary) and 10 (primary). They have no learning difficulties and we are lucky enough to have plenty of space and IT equipment. My husband and I are both lucky enough to able to work from home. This means that we can be here to support and guide rather than actually teach them.
From this outline, I think you can see we are extremely fortunate.
I've made it clear to the girls that they need to be doing their best every day. However, I really enjoy the flexibility we have. I said that if they got all their work done, then we can have a bit of fun together once I finish work in the afternoons. On the whole they stick to the schedules they’ve been set by school.
I prefer the blended learning approach of the two schools.
The youngest has a 45 minute class call in the morning where the teachers welcome them, makes time to ask as many as possible for some input about the topics they are learning and generally sets the expectations for the day. They are sent videos to watch and tasks set tasks, some of which can be added to Tapestry so teachers can feedback on their work. I am not super vigilant on this as she passed the Kent Test and will go to Grammar School in September.
She is quite pleased SATs have been cancelled and is generally a pretty good student. She pays online games with friends but is really only socialising with a very small handful of friends so she is really missing out on the social side of school but she is resilient and positive enough to overcome this in the long run.
Our eldest is managing quite well with the occasional live class call and most work being set through Edulink. I much prefer this to some of her peers at other schools who are on live lessons from start to finish. The downside of this is there is little group work which is a valuable way to learn when you are shy or lacking confidence in a subject.
She barely had the chance to establish a solid friendship group which is a big and enjoyable part of school. However I don’t think that this will be a problem for her. The biggest problem is being distracted by being at home (as it is for all of us) - obviously in school their time is managed.
Overall I am grateful to have my children at home but this is because they are able to learn independently. I am looking at this as an opportunity to spend better time with them, reading more and relaxing, rather than being the grumpy mum, always chasing about to get here and there, for this club or class.
I’m not sure I would feel the same if my children were much younger, or older, getting ready for exams or feeling let down that their exams wouldn’t get them their grades. I feel very much like we are in the Goldilocks zone and realise that many aren’t as fortunate.
I really look forward to getting them back to school and myself back to the office as the weather and circumstances improve.
Two days later...
Karma has given me a bit of a kick, since my initial thoughts on home-schooling.
I think I may have painted a rosy picture of our home-schooling life but then I received notification from the secondary school that six pieces of classwork were outstanding from my eldest.
Initially, I was quite cross with my daughter for not sending it in. I chased her up and gave her the chance to email it to her teacher.
By this time I was a bit annoyed that the teacher hadn’t let me know work was missing before six were overdue. Much easier to get to the point sooner rather than later. I am guessing that the teacher is so snowed under herself that she’s only now checking what work she has in for all her pupils. (A mammoth task I can only imagine)
About half an hour later, I checked how my daughter was getting on. This is when the problems started. She is 12 (Year 8) and not a speedy writer, in fact she really dislikes writing. The issue is that she’d not quite completed the work and wanted to finish it off before emailing it over but always ran out of time and inclination.
Encouraging my daughter to get the required work finished is painful, to be honest. There’s a lot of encouraging, cajoling, support and help on my part and the crying, upset, stomping, running off to hide and refusal on her part but we got most of the way there, in the end agreeing to carry on tomorrow, “manyana, manyana” (which is what got us here in the first place).
Anyway, the bulk of the work was done, luckily, so all she had to do was hand it in. Easy enough when you go into school but not quite so straight forward when you have to photograph it, somehow get it from your phone to a computer (via Whatsapp), edit the photo to cut out the shadows, save it as a sensible file name so you can locate it on your laptop and then finally attach it to an email with an apology.
A big shout out to all the teachers who have to look at all the photos of scribbly writing.
Also, I am worried that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that more teachers will be prompting us for more work that’s not been sent in yet.
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