You didn’t sign up for this.

I heard the collective sighs of ‘WTF’ upon hearing the news that education is to take place at home.  I am a qualified teacher and I was one of those people!  I want to be my kids’ mum – not their teacher.

Regardless of government objectives and instructions, I intend on keeping things this way. I will not be tying myself in knots to make sure my kids have ticked every box and completed every task. You don’t have to either, and I’m going to explain why.

  1. You as a parent should not be teaching new concepts. Your child should be getting work for home that is achievable with the skills they already have. It has already been decided that none of the education at home will be assessed as no new concepts have actually been taught. If you are getting frustrated because your child doesn’t understand the tasks, please contact your class teacher.  Learning at home should be largely independent and able to be successfully accessed at every year level.
  2. Learning happens in many ways, not just by putting pen to paper. If you’ve been on school holidays recently, I’m guessing your children have baked, coloured, played games, done puzzles, communicated with friends… there is education in everyday life, we just have to find it. So, Minecraft for 10 hours – No. But playing outside and finding things to do around the house – Yes.
  3. School days are long for a reason, but yours don’t have to be. Every reasonable piece of advice I have listened to recommends 2-3 hours of learning per day, MAX. And when they write this, they don’t mean in one sitting.  At home your children don’t have to line up, wait their turn, listen to instructions to multiple group activities… instructions are direct and individualized.  Sitting in one spot for a long time (which is usually a place of relaxation not education) is tough for little kids. Set a timer and break it down into ‘Now, Next, Then’ instructions. Children will respond much better if they can see the light at the end of the tunnel (don’t we all!)
  4. This too shall pass. I know right now it feels like we are never getting out of this prison, but soon it will be a distant memory (albeit a nightmare as opposed to a sweet dream!). Your kids, my kids and ALL kids will be okay if they miss a few weeks – even months – of their thirteen-year education. This is the perfect time for revision of concepts already taught, but as for getting behind – they will catch up. As a classroom teacher I watch kids have spurts of ‘educational’ growth, then plateau, then grow again. Our kids can afford to plateau for a bit. They’ll be just fine.

The best advice I heard through this whole pandemic is ‘survive over thrive’. I’m guessing you already have a lot on your plate right now.  Please don’t add to it if you feel like it will push you over the edge.  Your kids will be okay. You will be okay. Just get through it.