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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The life & ramblings of a stay at home dad.

Family LifeParentingWhy I enjoy home schooling

Why I enjoy home schooling

🕓 Estimated read time: 5 minutes

With the news of school attendance being restricted, the daunting task of home schooling was screaming at me. It turns out I thoroughly enjoy it.

Home Schooling

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. None the less, 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 isnt 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 kids 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. Last time we were in a lockdown and the schools where 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 uniform. But, I have made sure they’re washed and dressed, ready for the day. Positive Mental Attitude. We also stick to break times and lunch time 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.

Lilly Home Schooling

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 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.

Alfie Learning Pack

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 hand writing 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.

Recognition

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 practicing.

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 home schooling and why I enjoyed it. Hopefully, the many listeners who would have heard my brief stint on the radio will also embrace their childs home schooling, like I do. You can here my full interview below.

Credit: BBC Radio Tees

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.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Great post! I have no kids (yet) but I am sure I would enjoy home schooling as much as you do Especially after reading your point of view. I which more parents could see the benefits and enjoyment of spending more time with their kids.

  2. I found primary homeschooling much easier but now I’m dealing with a very anxious autistic son who had no real transition up to secondary school and it can be stressful. The others who are still at school/uni are pretty self sufficient and just need food at regular intervals. However even with my youngest this last week or two has been better than last term’s hit and miss home learning caused by self isolation and suchlike. I still wouldn’t say I love it though and I worked for a time as a teaching assistant to children with SEN!

  3. Great article. I home schooled my two during the first lockdown and really enjoyed the difference of it all. As a high school English teacher I’m completely used to what I do, so teaching Year 6 stuff was really different and interesting for me.

  4. I have been helping my kids with remote learning since the start of the year and while I was stressed about it in the beginning I have to say that I rather enjoy it too! In fact I think my youngest has been doing better then she normally does because I am able to give her more one on one when she is confused!

  5. The achievement of home learning is brilliant, I agree. When small boy was in reception last year, the progress he made with his reading was marvellous to witness. I love it!
    However, sticking to a timetable of zoom lessons set by the teachers and trying to work 8.5 hrs each day Mon-Thurs is absolutely horrific. I’m not working properly because I can’t concentrate for very long. I’m not supporting the kids because I feel I need to get back to work. The teachers are amazing though and we’ll adjust I’m sure. The boys will get more self sufficient and my work will have to put up with the interruptions.

    • Thanks for your comment smelly, I hear you, it must be tough. As I mentioned in my article, though employers, employees, and parents/carers all need to find a balance I think. I was on the phone with my energy company the other day and the guy actually apologised and then went on to tell his son how to work out the square root of something. It didn’t bother me in the slightest, and for me, it summed up everything about the employee/employer/home learning balance.

  6. Thanks for sharing your detailed perspective on homeschooling. I hear a lot of complaints about it, but I havent seen it broken down like this. I would be intimidated to try to help a high schooler with math, but I think right now, it’s just about doing the best you can. Great post!

    • Thanks, Laura. I’m terrible at maths, and I certainly don’t understand even half of what my oldest is learning. But She has taught me bits to enable me to help my second 11 year old. I’m not even ashamed or embarrassed that she taught me, more proud than anything.

  7. Great post Damion, I’m in a similar boat with you as my daughter pig who is 5 is learning similar as you. Its hard trying to aid them with certain aspects of the learning as it is all new to them but for us 30 plus years doing it. Its amazing and a sense of achievement when they get so excited that they got it right.

    With the 3 girls and their schooling im the main one partaking in the role as teacher as the other half has all her uni work coming through so is concentrating on that. It is hard to juggle it all but I have to admit I enjoy it too.

    • It’s great teaching them. I love it.. good luck with it all Eddie. Everyone’s learning! Tom Briggs mentioned earlier that he’s learnt something new… I think we all are…

  8. Great post! I have to admit that I’m not really enjoying homeschooling (mostly because I have three kids who have three video-based lessons a day in the same three time slots!) but I agree that we need to get on with it and help as much as we can.

    It’s nice seeing how they work and learn, though and I’ve been learning things too. Despite being a copywriter of 16 years’ experience, I had no idea what a fronted adverbial was until yesterday!

    We never learned why things were written in a certain way when we were kids – it was just “we write it like that, okay?” so it’s fascinating to see how much education has changed since we were at school.

    • Absolutely, Tom, Couldn’t agree more. I’m tempted to go back to school! I’m lucky in the sense my 3 are all of different ages so their video calls haven’t overlapped or anything, yet…

  9. This is a really lovely post and I’ve enjoyed reading about your experience so far. I really admire all those parents who have found themselves turning into the teacher during this pandemic. In years to come, you’ll be able to look back and feel proud of what you achieved. It might not always feel like it, but you are doing an amazing job.

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