7 Reasons Why I’m Not “Homeschooling”
I’ve worked in education my entire adult life. Here are the reasons why I won’t be “homeschooling” my kids right now.
Schools in the UK have been ordered to close and all but the most vulnerable children – and those of key workers – are to stay home for the foreseeable future.
You may recall I wrote an article recently for UK parents, advising us not to worry about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Things have moved on very quickly in just a short time. But, I would still advise parents not to panic.
Follow the advice of the government and health organisations.
But don’t panic.
Life is changing pretty quickly, and we may feel anxious about many things.
But our kids missing out on curriculum-based learning should not rank highly on our worry-o-meter right now.
There are lots and lots of blogs, articles and resources popping up all over the internet to help parents “homeschool” their kids.
While I appreciate that these are meant to be useful – offering practical ideas – my own social media feeds tell me that actually this is causing more stress at home for many parents.
Adding another level of unnecessary anxiety at a time when our kids need us to be calm and level-headed.
Bare in mind that my own kiddos are very nearly three and eight. And so my situation is very different from parents whose children are in their tweens and teens.
Home Learning Packs
Like many other kids, GinGin came home with a home learning pack to work through – if she wants – while she cannot go to school.
Great! Love this!
Super-helpful resources provided by her teachers, who I know worked really hard to put together tailored packs for all the children who attend that school.
And GinGin is very much looking forward to cracking on with her home learning pack.
But this is not the same as homeschooling. And there is absolutely no expectation from the school that kids do the work.
The home learning packs were given out for the children to work through if they’re anxious to carry on with their school work.
It gives them something to focus on. Something to do. And provides a little bit of normality to their rapidly changing lives.
Remember that most kids love – thrive from – routine. They feel safe when they know what to expect.
And now it’s up to us dearest mummies to decide what that routine will look like.
Daily Educational Activities
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we won’t be doing educational things each day.
We definitely will!
But I’m not about to get my knickers in a twist about following the curriculum to the letter.
Or at all.
We don’t need to worry about our kids falling behind.
Do you know why? Because they’ll all fall behind together.
And the trained, qualified teachers at your kid’s school will help them get back on track when the time’s right.
For now, our job is to keep our kids safe and entertained.
In fact many of us are going to have to work from home during this period of uncertainty. That’s going to be hard enough, without adding homeschool teaching into the mix.
We’ll most likely do some curriculum-based work together, because I know GinGin will want to. She enjoys it.
But the kind of educational activities we’ll do everyday will be things like drawing, painting, sewing, cross-stitch, music and dance.
GinGin will practise tying her own shoelaces. She might do a bit of typing. And we’ll learn the names of trees, plants and birds we spot out on walks.
We’ll do some measuring and we might write short stories. Both girls love puzzles and we have lots of board games to play. Even ones for two-year olds.
I’m sure GinGin will want to take lots of photographs. And Roo will want to learn new songs.
And we’ll definitely read everyday. Because that’s something we already do and enjoy.
We will have a loose structure to the day. But it’ll be flexible depending on our mood and the weather.
But this isn’t homeschooling.
This is simply providing a variety of things to do each day to keep us all sane, and make the most of all the lovely time we’ve now got to spend with our beautiful children.
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7 Reasons Why I’m Not Homeschooling
1. I’m not a teacher.
I’ve worked in education my entire adult life. I’m an education specialist.
But I’m not a primary school teacher.
There’s a reason people train to become qualified teachers. I can’t hope to learn a fraction of their knowledge and skills while I’m also trying to work from home and stay calm.
2. Great teachers know how to inspire children to want to learn.
Can you remember your fave teacher from school? Were they incredibly knowledgable, witty and someone you could listen to for hours?
And do you remember your worst teacher from school? Were they short-tempered, annoying and it just felt like they hated you?
If I’m honest with myself, I know which of these would best describe me trying to teach my own kids…
3. Teaching methods.
Do you know how many different ways there are to teach maths, for example? Do you know which methods your child’s school uses? And do you know which are credited by awarding bodies?
Unless you’ve answered yes to all these questions, it’s probably best that you don’t try to “teach” your kids at home.
By all means let them practise what they’ve already learned in class, using the information your school has provided.
But don’t go downloading tonnes of stuff just because you heard your fave celebrity mummy has and you think you should too.
4. Working from home.
Many of us are having to do our normal day jobs from home.
That might mean both parents sitting at the kitchen table, trying to work remotely.
Which of you is going to take charge of homeschooling?
If you’re going to be working from home alone, because you’re single, or your partner is a key worker, are you realistically going to be able to put together a curriculum for your kids to do while you’re also trying to work.
Nope. Me neither.
There is an endless number of educational resources online.
Schools and teachers know the good from the bad. And they know the ones that feed into the wider curriculum for their year groups.
I will look at the online resources GinGin’s school have recommended. And I may use some of them.
But I’m also aware that lots of what we can find online just isn’t relevant to what our children need to learn, particularly if it’s American and not British.
(Sorry America! It’s nothing personal, but our education systems are VERY different).
6. I still like my children.
We’re only at the very beginning of what could be a long period of social-distancing.
I really don’t want to start off our time together arguing, squabbling and stressing out over me trying to homeschool them.
My priority right now is to be a calming influence, particularly for GinGin who is old enough to be aware of what’s happening, even if she can’t understand it.
I don’t want to be shouty-mummy everyday. I want to be fun, calm, encouraging, loving mummy. The keeping-my-babies-safe type of mummy.
7. I’m already stressed.
Right now it’s hard enough trying to keep my s**t together.
Trying and act normally while inside I’m worried about what the future holds.
People wiping the shelves clear of EVERYTHING is pretty stressful.
Not to mention worrying about how we’ll cope financially if work stops indefinitely.
I don’t like that we’re probably not going to see any of my family for weeks. Maybe months.
And, in all honesty, adding in the pressure of homeschooling is probably one stress factor too many.
And it’s the one that could do more harm than good. Both in terms of my relationship with my girls, and with their educational development.
I’ve been in the situation where I’ve had to teach students to unlearn stuff. Honestly, it’s far harder to do that than it is to learn things from scratch.
Educational activities: not homeschooling.
So, yes, we will be doing lots of educational activities everyday. But I won’t be homeschooling my girls.
I’ll be leaving their formal education to the school. And I’ll trust that the teachers have a plan to make sure my children catch up on the things they need to learn.
The way I see it is that we’ve been gifted some precious time to spend with our children. And I’m going to take that opportunity to do lovely things with the girls that we might not otherwise have time to do.
Give yourself a break wonderful mummy. And if you feel yourself getting overly stressed out by things you can’t control, maybe join in with my #calmchronicles over on Instagram.
So how about you? How are you planning to deal with the schools being closed? What are you most worried about? And what tips would you like to share?
If you like this post then you might enjoy these to:
- Head Lice: How to Get Rid of Them for Good
- My Epic Parenting Fail And How I Overcame It
- Education: Kids It’s Okay to Make Mistakes!
- 7 Reasons We Love to Play Yahtzee
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