As we approach the end of week one of this new way of life I just wanted to write and tell you that you’re doing a great job!
Lots of people are feeling worried, stressed, overwhelmed and under pressure by everything that’s happening in the world around us and for many parents the work being set for children to complete at home is adding to this burden. I wanted to share some thoughts with you – I hope they may help.
You are not ‘Home-schooling’. Home-schooling is a choice parents make when they have considered a wide range of information and decided to keep their child out of formal education as provided by schools. It is something parents who take this decision plan for, they choose to become their child’s teacher in whatever form they decide this will take. What we currently have is an unprecedented emergency situation that has catapulted us all into a ‘distance learning’ situation that is alien to us and we are all doing our best to adjust.
You are, and always have been your child’s primary educator. If you decide that your child isn’t going to engage with the work set by school and is going to spend their time away from school building dens, baking, watching TV learning new stunts of their bikes and scooters then that is your choice. That is your right.
Remember that, as schools, this is all new to us too! We have had no notice, no preparation time, we were told to continue to provide opportunities for pupils to engage with learning during the time they are away from school and we are still finding out what that looks like and how best to do it. The activities we are setting are suggestions and ideas to ensure that we are offering enough opportunities for our pupils to remain engaged with learning – use them if they suit you and your child. Nobody is expected to do every task and remember that there is no deadline to complete by so you may have days where you do nothing and then other days where you dip in and catch up – that’s fine!
It is absolutely not possible to facilitate distance learning taking on the role of teacher with primary aged children and work from home at the same time. If you’re trying to do that stop now! The work set by school is re-visiting learning objectives already taught in school, providing the children with the opportunity to rehearse and over-learn to ensure that deep learning has taken place and more of what has been learned will been remembered. We’ve opted to do this so that tasks can be completed independently by the children giving you time to be able to focus on the elements of your job that need your attention whilst you work from home.
Because we don’t know how long schools will be closed for but we do know that ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ I would ask you to try and complete some of the tasks set by your child’s teacher each week and as a minimum ensure that your child does some reading each day, some free writing weekly- maybe keeping a diary or writing a report about something they have experienced, maybe drawing a comic and illustrating their writing. Some maths work, practising times tables, logging into times tables rock star or Sumdog or practical work cooking and problem solving. Also try to ensure they get some physical play/activity every day eg Lego building, cutting out, playdough modelling – those of us still in school are starting our day exercising with Joe Wicks and loving it!
The most important thing we can do at the moment is look after each other and try to stay well. Don’t let school work and pressure to complete tasks be another stressor in your life. Your children’s worlds have changed beyond recognition, many of them are worried and uncertain about what the future holds. You loving and supporting them through this very difficult time is of paramount importance.
Focus on the things that are most important and find the positives in every situation so that we have the strength to get through this and emerge stronger for our experiences.
During this closure time school and teachers can be contacted in the usual way so if there is anything you need please get in touch.
Take care and God Bless