Parents, please take the pressure off of yourself to home-school - ‘homeschooling’ is now a widely misused term for what millions of parents are currently trying to emulate, when in reality homeschooling is a choice to remove a child from an educational establishment, fully prepared, with obligation and legal responsibility to adhere to government standards.
Millions of us did not elect this and did not prepare for it. It was thrust upon us as a result of a worldwide pandemic and as such we have to consider it something new and a bridge to the extended work our brilliant schools are now offering.
Do not assume, with no choice in the matter, you are suddenly expected to be a teacher, in the same way, you wouldn’t suddenly assume you could drive if I showed you a car for the first time, or could be a basket player upon seeing a basketball.
Just like the notion of ‘social distancing’ has morphed in circles to a more appropriate ‘physical distancing’, (we need to be social no matter how far from one another) we’d do better to consider ourselves offering ‘learning guidance’ than homeschooling, we parents are currently facilitators, conduits and occasional presenters - connecting our children to things that will engage, occupy and better them in small, small steps, wherever form they come in.
Over the last week, I’ve spoken to many parent friends who are already feeling the strain to fill their days with school-esque timetables - the goal really should be to set a rhythm in the day, for families to be around each other for so long in enclosed places - something that we may need to continue for months.
It may help to first consider your daily routine, where you can involve your children in all household activities, use them as discussion points and add smatterings of the formal education activity when you can be fully present for it.
With older children, in addition, you can guide, set tasks and direct towards e-learning (asking your children to explain items they are studying to you is an excellent way for them to show understanding and gather thoughts on a subject - so let them guide you too!)
Above all, this extra time is a chance for us all to improve and cement relationships and new degrees of activity with our children, whatever they may be.
Advice from teachers is invaluable, by all means, seek it, and of course many will consider being a teaching assistant or teacher a possible new career choice when this cloud lifts, but for now please, know that we are in it for the long term and we need to pace ourselves and our expectations, the coming weeks will reveal much and we need to be calm assured as we get there.