The challenges of home schooling during lockdown

Laura Trelfa, Headteacher at Micklehurst All Saints CE Primary, discusses the challenges of home schooling.

This is a very worrying and anxious time for everyone. We are all missing seeing the people important in our lives and doing the normal things we usually take for granted.Like most schools, we provided initial hard copy work packs which were sent home when school closed to the majority of children on March 20. Since then we have used Class Dojo, Seesaw and the school website to provide additional resources and work that can be completed at home.

Like all schools, we are hoping these will help provide educational opportunities and positive activities during the shutdown. When schools resume, teachers will be trying as far as possible to pick up where they left off.

While children are working at home, the support of parents and carers is vital. However, they should not put themselves under undue pressure to try to progress their child’s learning in the same way that teaching staff would be able to do in school.

While it is important for children to complete work at home, we acknowledge that some children may be feeling upset or lonely so trying to maintain a degree of normality and routine in your child’s life is more important than worrying about a specific school subject or piece of work set.

Trying to do too much may prove boring and counterproductive – especially when, in this difficult time, maintaining a child’s morale and mental health is so important.Ideally you should try to agree a daily routine for the days that children would normally be in school, including set times to get up, have breakfast, get dressed. Parents/carers will know how best to structure their day to ensure that it is as enjoyable as possible.

Within this routine identify times work or activities are to be completed and tick them off when they are done. However, don’t try to run a full school day.

With many parents/carers permanently at home, try to find the time to do some fun, non-school activities that will enhance their home learning, baking a cake, gardening, going for a walk, reading together or playing a game.

As well as children being at home, we must also remember the key worker children still in school.

While they are in school and may feel that their day is more normal, the experience certainly is it what they are used to. With staff on rotas for cover, children are spending their days with teaching staff who they may not know very well and in mixed age groups.

Key worker children are taking part in lots of fun activities but they are not being taught the curriculum and so they are at no academic advantage to their friends who are at home.

Importantly we have tried to keep the link between children that are in school and those at home through regular videos posted on the school website that combine images of what everyone is doing no matter where they are or who they are with.

This has proved to be very motivating for staff, children and parents/carers and we will continue to do this while the shutdown continues.

Parents/carers are encouraged to keep in contact with teachers through the various class apps and if they feel they need additional support or guidance then they should feel confident in asking.

If parents have a particular interest in an area of the work or activities set for their child, they should concentrate on these rather than something that they are less confident in.

We also hope our standard open-door policy means that if parents/carers are anxious or worried about anything then they can contact school during the school day or out of hours on the emergency mobile number.

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