How quickly all our lives have been thrown into chaos. The idea of having to home-school my 2 kids ages 6 and 7 whilst working from home with very little notice was enough to give me many sleepless nights and a few migraines. The home-schooling memes came quick and fast on the class WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages, whilst funny none of them gave me any clue on how home-schooling was going to play out in my household. Yes, the school sent out tips and everyone had the best way to do it, but I just felt it’s not possible to have a cookie cutter solution for millions of different scenarios.
Everyone and every household are different. Some people have very stressful jobs that require multiple zoom meetings and phone calls, some households don’t have enough devices for everyone to get their school work or zoom meeting done and then throw in multiple children across different grades requiring assistance often at the same time as the phone is ringing – It is enough to give anyone heart palpitations and reach for the bottle of red wine before 10am.
I don’t have tips that are going to solve everyone’s home-schooling woes, but I can offer some snippets of the best advice I have received from friends over the last few weeks.
- Set up an area in your home that has minimal distractions. There should be nothing to fiddle with, play with to cause distraction. This is quite often the dining room table. There is enough room for everyone to have their own workspace. Mom or Dad can keep an eye on kids who are working independently and are in arms reach of the children who require more assistance in the younger grades.
- Have a schedule. Our school provided us with one including break time and activity time and I found this very helpful. The kids could do smaller bursts of concentrated learning as they knew when to expect the next break. Having a schedule has also meant I can try to schedule my work calls and emails for when the children do not need my undivided attention. (it doesn’t always work which leads me to my next point)
- You can only do what you can do! No one is going to fail their HSC because of a few home-schooling months from us parents. Start with the important activities, the “must get done” – everything else is a bonus. Try and bring some of the learning off the page into day to day living. I’m pretty sure my daughter has mastered her multiplication skills by me putting her peas into groups of 2’s and 3’s.
But seriously, our children are amazing, they have been champions, it isn’t easy for them staying at home with us all the time either!
I take comfort in knowing that in a year’s time they aren’t going to remember me as the worst teacher in the world, I’ll be back to just being Mum.
Contributor: Jacqueline Hawksworth, Founder of Mumble by Design