More Lockdown…

Now you have decided to be a teacher in addition to all your other roles. I have seen some impressive timetables for home schooling and after 3 weeks of lockdown I have also seen some exhausted parents and carers who tell me they are failures.  Some of the timetables that are being used are school timetables.  These are developed by a team of specialists who have skilled teachers at the ready. You cannot copy this structure as one individual.  In addition to this if you teach the next stage in the curriculum, your children could have to relearn this from the teacher or at worst they might have misunderstood or developed damaging misconceptions. 

Parenting is not easy but the main challenge in these difficult times is the worry and guilt.  Parents have asked me if it is ok that their children are playing outside in the sunshine instead of sitting at the kitchen table for home-schooled lessons.  Of course, it is.  This is exactly what you should be doing.  Enjoy opportunities that arise in your daily life.  This pandemic is being compared to the second world war or other disasters.  Use this by encouraging children to skype an elderly relative or neighbour and ask them about their experiences.  This will support the well-being of everyone involved and provide another angle to something they might learn about. 

If you want to support your children and their education ask them what they know.  Talk about the learning that they have been involved in.  Find opportunities to reinforce the learning that has already taken place and build on this.  Every curriculum I have worked on recently has had a pressing objective to link content to the real world and everyday experiences.  If you really want to help, do this but do not teach.  You are not your child’s teacher.  If it was so easy, we wouldn’t go to college and university and run up huge debts to allow us the honour of teaching your children. 

I recommend that you relax and enjoy being with your children use what they already know in your day to day life.  You can introduce structure to your day by writing a schedule of activities for example breakfast at 9 and lunch at 12.30.  Encourage children to write a diary about their time during lockdown.  This will be treasured in future years.  Younger children could keep a picture diary or record themselves daily.  Involve children in the preparation of food.  Ask them what fraction of their sandwich is one mouthful? Why has the toast gone brown when it is cooked? Heating food changes it irreversibly.  This is a chemical change.  Freezing ice cream is a change of state from a liquid to a solid. When measuring ingredients talk about mass and weight.  This is one of the biggest misconceptions in maths and science.   Kilograms is a measure of mass and not a measure of weight.  Weight should be measured in newtons as it is a force.  Encourage children to read every day and if you do nothing else this will be a gift that will support all future learning. 

We do not know what jobs our children will be applying for in the future so give them opportunities to promote the skills and experiences and let the teachers support their qualifications. 

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