Home Schooling During Lockdown
We are a family of 5 living in Husthwaite.
Watching the news unfold throughout the middle of March was very unsettling. Chris was about to start as acting headteacher at his school. Arthur and Evelyn both had a very violent sickness bug so were off school. Albert and I were doing our best to stay clear! We decided not to send Albert to school from Thursday 19th March slightly ahead of guidelines.
We felt very radical! I think at the time we naively thought lockdown might last maybe a few weeks ..... I was secretly hoping for longer! I have always dreamt about home educating my children so this felt like a good opportunity to spend some time teaching them the things I know I they would thoroughly enjoy. And, ultimately enhance our family life. I again now feel very naive as this wasn't really what home schooling would be like in ‘normal life!'.
We decided Chris would move to his parents unoccupied flat to minimise the spread of the virus. It was a really difficult decision but he had to continue going to work to support the most vulnerable children at his school during this whole pandemic.
The first week was mostly about settling in to a new routine and almost unwinding from the extremely fast paced life we're used to. As a family we rarely sit down for long! (Especially in the last five years doing this extensive renovation). We spend most of our time outside if we can. We love all the walks on our doorstep so it has also given us the time to enjoy them some more! The children are quite close in age so are a tight trio! They mostly play really well together with a good mix of arguing to keep everyone on their toes!!They're super imaginative so they are always hunting the house for obscure ‘props' to get into whatever role is required in the moment. This is a disaster when it comes to ‘tidy up time'. Needless to say the house is even more of a filthy bomb site than ever before! The 3 full meals a day plus all the snacks is also a full time job in itself!
Our daily routine tends to be quite fluid, I have to admit some days I've wanted to move mountains and other days just laze on the grass! (I then later beat myself up over what I could have/should have done!) I know the children feel exactly the same though, so, we've tried to just follow our needs on this one. When the children have been up for some learning we've jumped on to the online learning ‘seesaw' to see the ever growing mountain of work being sent through from their classroom teachers. There's no way I could teach 3 different key stages, the amount of work set each day, so early on I resigned myself to the fact that the red number glaring at me on the screens was just going to have to grow!
I'm not overly keen spending hours looking at a screen to learn! Especially not when the weather is so glorious like it has been. We opted for lots of painting and hands on learning. They are very lucky that we live at ‘mucky pups' with the huge array of play things! They have a beautiful ‘scrap book' each that seems to be taking shape with experiments, baking and recipes, photos of them doing household jobs - (they each have varying responsibilities) pressed flowers etc. It's really lovely and as I'm writing this I'm reminded of how special this time has been so far, they have achieved so much and we're so proud of them.
It is safe to say that Arthur (the youngest at just 4) is absolutely exhausted trying to keep up with the big 2. Albert has taught Arthur his numbers, he can now count to 100 (in 10's too!) and backwards from 10-0. He is very proud!
There has been a mixed bag of emotions, Evelyn (6yo) has been struggling with sleep and general melt downs that she doesn't understand, which is hard and the children generally really miss Chris!
The disruption to their world has been huge, they've done so well, so far, to accept the situation and respond to things like ‘social distancing' and the continuous ‘alert' mode we now find ourselves in regarding hygiene and what we can/can't touch. Of course we're worried about the lasting effects of this and the impact it will have on them once the lockdown is lifted. (And all the stages in between!) Chris and I have been in constant touch via the phone and FaceTime. I don't think we realised how
important that ‘quick chat' was regarding how the household functions!!
We feel so lucky to be living in such a beautiful village whilst everything unfolds in the outside world. We are very much in a wonderful bubble counting our blessings daily. (No matter how much shouting and screaming may be coming from our garden ;-)) We do remember each Thursday at 8pm the harsh reality of why we are in this bubble. It is just so sad I can't get it into words.
We are hopeful for a different ‘back to normal'. I know a lot of our lifestyle choices will shift; I hope. for the better....I hope