So here we are, the first week of homeschooling in Coronavirus done. And how was it? Well, it’s early days, but so far so good. With that said, I wanted to share with you 11 things I’ve learned during the first week of homeschool ing in Coronavirus…so here goes!
A timetable is a good starting point
Regular readers of my blog will know that I had drawn up a timetable. I soon learnt that this was only a rough structure and that most allocated slots wouldn’t need anything like the amount I had given them.
A French lesson could be done and dusted in 20 minutes, and a maths activity could be nailed in five. I realised that’s because being one-on-one, the learning is more intensive. After all, our children are not sitting in a class waiting with their hands up or we the teachers having to spend a disproportionate amount of time keeping order!
I started planning out the week’s timetable at the weekend, and will continue to do that as that works well for us. Download our revised homeschool timetable here.
Flexibility is key
Some days, everything is a bit chaotic. But hey, that’s homeschooling in Coronavirus! For example I might have a deadline which throws the homeschool schedule off. This week has been glorious sunshine so instead of doing the afternoon homeschool, Mr C has just taken E out for a bike ride every afternoon.
I’ve found it’s really nice to have some kind of plan, but to be able to switch it up and freestyle within that. Some days we might make up for something that didn’t work out the previous day, or merge two topics together, or just go totally off-piste! We’ve started adding in daily maths and handwriting after lunch which takes all of about ten minutes but these bite-size pieces of learning really seem to work.
I enjoyed teaching (and learning stuff too!)
In the past, the thought of having a career in teaching left me breaking out in a cold sweat. But I realised that when it came to teaching my own, I actually really enjoyed teaching! I also realised that there is a lot of stuff I have forgotten since all those years studying, or perhaps I didn’t know in the first place. It’s been lovely to experience being curious and learning about things together, and listening to my daughter give her own take on concepts.
Connection is important
Now that our children are no longer in a classroom setting with their peers, you have to find other ways to connect. This is even more important during the current Coronavirus lockdown. We have been experiementing with various forms of connection which have included video calls on the House Party app, a class Zoom call, one to one Facetimes with friends and family, talking to neighbours over the fence and out the window…you get the picture. Having a support network around them – if only virtually- is so important to help them be resilient at this time.
…As is downtime
I haven’t quite figured out why yet, but E has been so much more tired during this week. Maybe it’s a growth spurt, maybe it’s the bike rides, or maybe the one-on-one learning. I’m still a little baffled as to why this is as we’ve only been doing about 1.5 – 2hrs max learning a day but perhaps it’s the sum of all parts. Some evenings she has literally been flopping into bed at 7pm begging to go to sleep which is unheard of….but fine by me! 😉
Afternoon movies are a great way to wind down and recharge after the day and a nice chance to get some extra hours back at the desk for work for both Mr C and I.
Patience is important
I am not naturally the most patient of people and have had to work on this a lot in my lifetime. It’s one of the reasons I thought I could never be a teacher. But patience is so important when homeschooling and I’ve really been trying to take things slowly and be patient. It helps that the overall pace of life has slowed down with the enforcements, making it so MUCH easier to be patient.
Outdoor learning rocks
Where possible, we have been doing a lot of our homeschooling in our little garden and it has made all the difference being out in nature, in the fresh air. If you have access to an outside space, I would highly recommend you do this as much as possible if you can, because it just makes everything feel a lot more laid back..I am guessing this is a lot to do with the ecopsychology benefits being out in nature has on us.
The shifts have worked well
We didn’t know how the shifts of Mr C working from 7am – 1.30pm and then me from 1.30pm – 5pm would work out. In terms of homeschooling, it’s worked out really well. But in terms of my work, Mr C is still adjusting to it and I’m still having to cram a lot into a very small window of homeworking. Still, it’s better than nothing!
I did have to pull Mr C up on being a bit too “mucky around” on the first day on his shift with a stern-look, reminding him that he is the homeschool co-teacher in residence!
We have also been strict about locking ourselves away in the spare room whilst working and not homeschooling. We even got E in on the act to make a “do not disturb” sign for the “home office” door a.k.a. spare room which really helped EVERYONE to play ball on this front – wink wink.
Play to their strengths
I’ve had quite a few friends say to me that a certain child doesn’t want to learn. First up, I would say, if your child wants to play Lego all day, then think about how you use that as a basis of learning. Homeschooling in Coronavirus presents a unique challenge that most of us were not prepared for, but more lobbed into.
This is not going to be forever, but we also don’t know how long for. Like with all things in parenting, play to your child’s strengths as best you can and don’t beat yourself up about it if things don’t go to plan or they don’t want to play ball because we are all just fudging it anyway!
Use BBC Bite Size
I don’t know where I would be without BBC Bite Size this week. I had heard that they use this in schools a lot and now I know why. One of our favourite homeschool resources their perfect short clips of a few minutes on curriculum topics are a great way of starting or ending a “lesson” and having something to discuss.
Alexa educational games are a godsend
Owing to the fact that everything seems to take a lot less time than in school, there are a lot of times when you feel like you have exhausted everything in a day, and maybe loathe to more screentime. That said, Alexa has been a saviour for us during homeschooling in Coronavirus. We have discovered so many fun and educational Alexa games which are really great for lull times. We love a few rounds of 1-2-3 Maths! I’ve published a list here that you can work through.
Homeschooling in Coronavirus: here’s what we covered this week
Want to know what we covered in homeschool this week. Here’s a quick look:
French – numbers to 10
Geography – mountains
Art – papier-mache Easter craft
Forest school – garden mindfulness & nature art
Dance & music- looking at different styles: Samba and Cha Cha and having a go!
Science: Kitchen science – making an optical illusion
History – The Roman Empire
PSHE – conflict & resolution
Maths – calculating differences, telling the time, working out change
Handwriting & spelling (daily sheet)
How has your first week of homeschooling gone? Do share in a comment below.