At the time of writing many, countries are in a form of lockdown or restricted movement in an effort to contain the pandemic. This has resulted in a large number of children staying at home and being subject to home schooling.
From some of the jokes on social media, it is apparent that some parents are finding being responsible for their child more of a strain than going to work! I find it amusing that the parents who badgered governments to close schools now can’t wait for the same governments to open them again!
A further problem for parents is that lockdowns are only announced for short periods and then they are extended. Therefore, many parents had seen this as a short-term exercise. As such, they have enthusiastically used all of their creative know how up in the first three weeks. Now they are faced with what do in the second or third phase!
And yet, despite the hair tearing, I believe that there are a number of positives that can be gained from this exercise in home schooling.
The first of these is a better appreciation of the teachers in schools. A few weeks of home schooling soon teaches you the amount of preparation that is needed, often into the evening, in order to fill all of the next day.
It is also salutary to realise that little Johnny or Jane aren’t the class angel that you thought they were. Perhaps the teacher may have had a good point about behaviour at parents’ evening.
But perhaps the biggest positive is in the benefits of home schooling to the child. By necessity schools have to treat children in groups or classes. However, your child, like every other child, is unique.
Home schooling gives you the opportunity to teach your child as a unique individual. It means letting them learn in ways that they find easiest.
Given that you have all day with them it is easy to let them learn by finding things out for themselves rather than telling them facts. It may not be possible to learn by experimentation at school because of numbers and the dreaded health and safety. But building a mini-volcano in the garden is certainly possible.
Home schooling also allows you to see first hand the areas of learning that they enjoy and the ones they don’t like so much. In other words, you get to discover where their skills and talents lie rather than what you would like them to be!
Home schooling doesn’t mean sitting at the dining room table all day. You may be limited, but if you have a garden, go out there with them and hold learning sessions there. How long was it since you all went on a bug hunt, or built a bird table?
Home schooling also means spending more engaged time with your child. All too often today, children see their parents only fleetingly. Now you don’t need to be introduced to each other every weekend.
Leaving work early for the school play is certainly enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as helping your own child learning new things every day while displaying skills you never knew they had.
It also gives you the chance to give them skills that they will not learn sitting in rows at school. Why not help them to bake a cake or a pie? Perhaps they could do some sewing or a bit of elementary carpentry. Why not make musical instruments out of everyday items?
When this pandemic is over the world will be a very different place with a need for many new skills. It will also need the creativity that grows out of experimental learning.
Rather than try and put down lots of ideas here, you can visit the Internet for a wealth of ideas that don’t need shopping trips to accomplish. Your job at the moment is not to improve the share price of toyshops but to focus on that unique individual sharing your home.
No one knows how long lockdowns will go on for, but it gives us a real opportunity to change children’s views and approaches to learning from the traditional conveyor belt approach to a more exciting, creative and engaging form of education.
It is what education needs, and all revolutions start with one or two committed individuals at the grass roots. So take the opportunities that lockdown has given you. Hopefully, at least in pandemic form, you wont get another chance!