The coronapocalypse has impacted almost everyone, especially parents of school-aged children. We have found ourselves tasked with working from home, queuing for limited food supplies and becoming our kids’ teacher, almost overnight.
It is hard enough to think clearly about anything these days, but the thought of recreating the school curriculum at home and somehow continuing the kids’ quality education can lead to complete overwhelm.
The only way I can tackle this seemingly enormous and important task for weeks on end in lockdown is to do it on MY terms.
Here are three unconventional reasons why I’m home schooling during quarantine…
1) Home Schooling During Quarantine Provides Structure
My daughter, Eloise, is just about to turn five, not even at school yet. My son, Dylan is only seven. Much of the expert advice I have seen says that at that age, young children do not need to continue with ANY formal education at all over the few weeks in isolation. So why am I insisting on it with my tiny humans?
The main reason is that home school provides structure to their day.
As I write in my book, Crappy to Happy, we all have a need for certainty because safety, security and comfort are connected to our survival as a species and as babies. We are living in very uncertain times and creating a predictable routine to the day helps kids (and grownups) to feel secure despite everything else going on.
Don’t get me wrong – this is not a rigid structure, timed down to the last minute. The day starts with the usual morning routine of breakfast, getting dressed and free play. At around 9am the first lesson starts and goes for about an hour. We break for half an hour for morning tea and then have one more lesson that takes us through to lunchtime. After lunch it is a combo of activities, free play and screen time. Simple in design but a great way to let my kids know what to expect.
I am not saying that anyone should follow what I am doing. How you construct your day depends on many factors such as work demands, how much support you have and the expectations of your child’s education provider. All I am suggesting is a small amount of routine goes a long way.
2) Home Schooling During Quarantine Creates Positive Memories
During those two lessons of ‘Schooler School’ (a play on words with our last name) each morning, I purposely haven’t tried to mimic what would be taught at real school. Instead, I have imparted knowledge about things that I have an interest in or jumped into what the kids seem most enthusiastic about.
The ‘3 R’s’ have been an incidental part of the education about world geography and rhyming words (things I enjoy) and drawing, planets and learning about flags (things the kids have instigated). Dare I say it: it has been quite fun.
Although it is almost a cliché now, we really do live in unprecedented times. There is unlikely to be another time in history like this. Our kids will remember this unusual time for the rest of their lives. And I would very much like my kids to recall their time at ‘Schooler School’ with fondness.
3) Home Schooling During Quarantine is a Learning Experience… for Me
There were zero expectations that my kids would learn anything with my rudimentary home school set up, but funnily enough, I have learned a lot.
I either didn’t know or had forgotten basic facts. How big the sun is in relation to the Earth (1.3 million Earths could fit inside the sun!). What the largest country in the world is (Russia). The smallest country (Vatican City). And how similar the flags of Romania and Chad are to each other. Yes, I could simply look these facts up any time I liked but when you teach something, it is ingrained deeper than when you try to learn it on your own.
Most importantly, I have learned that my kids’ teachers should be showered with diamonds, cash and accolades. I do appreciate teachers but not nearly enough. Boy, this is a tough job!
These weeks of lockdown during the global coronavirus pandemic are not about my kids learning anything at all. Home schooling during quarantine provides daily routine, produces positive memories and presents an opportunity to learn something new myself.
This unconventional approach has helped me feel in control and reduced my stress levels. But more than anything else it conveys to Dylan and Eloise that they are safe and they are loved. Right now, I can’t think of anything more important than that.
One million Earths: https://www.businessinsider.com/image-of-1-million-earths-inside-the-sun-2015-1