With the news of school attendance being restricted, the daunting task of homeschooling was screaming at me. It turns out I thoroughly enjoy it.
So, after Christmas 2020, Alfie was busting to go back to school. At the time we were unsure whether the kids were going back or not. Mrs. F and I were constantly looking on Class Dojo and emails from the oldest child’s school to see if there were any updates.
We finally got the notification that Alfie would be returning to school, but not the oldest two. Of course, we were a bit apprehensive and not 100% if schools should reopen. Nonetheless, kids need an education and structure so I took Alfie to school. However, at 8 pm the same night on national tv an announcement was made that, yet again, we must stay at home and that all schools would close.
This article isn’t about my opinions or views on how the government has handled things. It is what it is, we just have to deal with it. My concern is that of my kid’s education. If that means I have to teach them with the guidance of the professionals, so be it.
Laptops, paper and pencils
Laptops charged, more paper bought and pencils sharpened. I’m ready to go. I’m not sure the kids are ready mind. The last time we were in a lockdown and the schools were closed Mrs F was furloughed. I was still working as a key worker, so the home-schooling was all down to Mrs F. She’s not the strict one, although she definitely wears the trousers in our house!. So the thought of Dad doing the home-schooling was probably a bit frightening.
The kids have all been told to stick to the normal school times and routines. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Don’t worry, I’ve not made them wear uniforms. But, I have made sure they’re washed and dressed, ready for the day. Positive Mental Attitude. We also stick to break times and lunchtime and then back to lessons.
Teachers, I salute you
I have 3 kids. Aged, 4, 11, and 17. Quite a broad spectrum of curriculum between the 3. Chloe, the oldest, I don’t need to home school. She’s very well organised (when it comes to college) and focused and knows exactly what has to be done. The younger two, however, have the attention span of a fish. Both have different needs. Lilly, the 11-year-old, is competent enough to just crack on with remote learning and ask for help when she needs it, with the odd bit of guidance. Alfie has a lot to learn, numbers, letters, the formation of both, sentence building, and so on.
Times have changed
Now, I’d class myself as fairly intelligent. I like to learn a lot of stuff and am quite knowledgeable. But academically, I’m not great. I have no shame in saying that. I had a tough time at school and it affected me academically. I made up for it later in life, but the thought of home-schooling my kids was a little daunting.
The way kids are taught these days is far different from when I was at school. My priority is to focus on Alfie and assist Lilly when she needs it, otherwise, I’ll be going backwards and forwards like an idiot. So I headed to school to pick up Alfie’s home learning pack and look on class dojo to look what needs to be done.
Learn your P’s and Q’s
Initially, I was getting frustrated because Alfie couldn’t write the letter ‘q’. IT’S NOT DIFFICULT, around, up, down, and flick. Oh wait a minute, he’s 4 years old. I have 30 odd years of experience of writing the letter ‘q’, albeit, my handwriting is terrible. He has less than a year.
So we keep working through his learning pack, doing various tasks, letters, words, numbers, 1 more than, 1 less than. He’s really enjoying learning here and he knows his stuff! And then the penny dropped… If he’s enjoying it, he’s learning it. It doesn’t matter if he cant write a ‘q’ properly just yet, he knows what it is and what words start with it, and the phonics of the letter. The key thing is that he is enjoying learning.
I think, to become a teacher you have to have that understanding and the ability to teach all children at all levels. We all have, probably, at some point, had a moan about their kid’s teacher. But when you think about it, where would we be without the vocation that they choose to do. I think we forget at times that teachers and early years practitioners truly help set up the foundation for our children’s education.
Mrs. F is a Nursery Practitioner or Nursery Nurse if your old school. We joke all the time about her just sitting on the floor playing with toys all day, sounds like an easy job right? Aside from the mountains of paperwork, she has to do, playing with toys and objects with the children is key to their cognitive function and ability. Enabling a child to recognise and function within their early life is no easy job.
Wheres the enjoyment in home schooling?
As I mentioned, enabling a child to recognise and function within their early life is no easy job. Keeping them focused and attentive is far from easy. Teaching isn’t easy.
The enjoyment, I find, comes, when your child shouts, “YES, DAD, I DID IT RIGHT”. It might not be perfect, but it’s right! The enjoyment as a parent you get watching your child, thinking, and really engaging and then getting the solution they are desperately seeking is second to none. Alfie can now right his ‘q’ in the correct formation, he did it himself, he kept practising.
The daunting task that was looming over me that I would have to home-school my children is no longer there. I’m looking forward to more. And when the time comes, when Lilly needs guidance or help, I’m pretty confident I can learn a thing or two from her. I don’t just mean from her ability. I’ve learned so much, academically from my kids over the years than I ever did whilst I was at school.
My local BBC radio station contacted me to discuss my thoughts on homeschooling and why I enjoyed it. Hopefully, the many listeners who would have heard my brief stint on the radio will also embrace their child’s homeschooling, as I do. You can hear my full interview below.
Embrace your childs education
Quite abruptly, I feel I need to write this. Stop moaning. Just stop it. Yes you may have a work zoom call, or you need to get that email sent before 11 am, but your kids have an education too. We’re lucky in the sense that I’m a stay at home dad. But that doesn’t mean I have all the time in the world. I too have things to do.
Find a way to organise your day, negotiate with your employer, and find a way to manage your time between you, your work, and your child’s education. It’s tough, I don’t doubt it for one second. But your kids have one chance to get their education right. And right now, they depend on you to fulfil the responsibility as a parent and teacher… don’t let them down.