For the vast majority of us, homeschooling* is a job we've had to start doing in lockdown without time to prepare. Nor do we have had any experience at it. Now we're a few weeks in, you may be starting to wonder if you're doing it right!
The good news is, in such difficult and, let's face it just plain weird times, there is no right or wrong way to home school your kids.
Just for fun, see if you can identify yourself and your friends from these five types of lockdown homeschooling heroes!
(*Obviously the term homeschooling is being used a bit loosely here... kudos to the schools and teachers who are providing learning materials, video calls, email support and check-ins. This is more to do with keeping your kids focused on their studies while learning remotely.)
You're an organised person and used to managing a project, household or business. Maybe you have a million other things to do as well as homeschooling. A baby or elderly relative to look after? Either way, you know without your schedule you would go insane in lockdown! You may also be worried that you cannot rely on your kids, especially older ones, to stay on top of school work without a rigid timetable to stick to.
Colour-coded, and following the curriculum to make sure you've covered all the bases, your timetable is a thing of beauty. You are definitely a scheduler.
Your strengths: Planning and managing means everyone will stay on track with their school work.
Suggestions: Try letting some of your child's learning being led by them, and relinquishing control just a little, but with frequent check-ins for support and encouragement.
If your lockdown homeschooling has already consisted of planting seeds, learning some practical home skills and creating art on a wall, floor or patio, or mastering some yoga moves – you're probably a free-spirited parent! You might think of yourself as a bit of a hippy and your kids are already well-versed in nature, global affairs and culture.
Does your homeschooling revolve around reading books in trees, floating boats down streams and creative dance? Let's face it, you've often thought about homeschooling or 'unschooling' your kids anyway...
Your strengths: Your laidback nature and ability to see the bigger picture.
Suggestions: You may want to give a little more structure to your day to make it easier when the kids go back to school after lockdown. Try setting a time when they need to dressed and ready to start the day, for example.
When you were at school your favourite subjects were art, music, drama, technology and literature! With a strong creative streak, homeschooling during lockdown gives you the chance to embrace the hobbies you love. Plus you can get your kids involved too.
You'll definitely have already created a rainbow with the kids to send positivity to your neighbours. A lack of bread at the supermarket is no big deal, right? You have a stash of baking ingredients on hand to make homemade treats with your children.
Your strengths: Creativity and the ability to find new and useful activities.
Suggestions: Be sure your kids actually want to join in with your love of crafts. Encourage them to do things for themselves – whatever the result. Don't let your need to make beautiful things get in the way of the learning process!
Your ethos is that when kids are playing, they're learning. Kids do naturally learn through playing and if you're a playful parent, you're likely to be encouraging obstacle courses in the garden, daily fashion shows and lots of lego challenges. You probably have a mud kitchen, bikes for the whole family and a marble run!
While some may think you must have the patience of a saint, playful parents can actually be better off. Your children have probably learnt how to come up with their own games, following your lead. Bonus!
Your strengths: Fun is your middle name, and your children will rarely be bored.
Suggestions: While learning through play is great in this homes-schooling lockdown situation, try involving some desk-based work, so that your kids won't find it hard to adjust back to the demands of school again.
What on earth would we have done in lockdown without Youtube, online school resources and video chats? All parents right now are googling maths worksheets and living on social media to stay in touch with everyone they know.
Tech-lovers embrace everything technological, and homeschooling is no exception. Where many parents are starting the day with live PE sessions with Joe Wicks or cosmic kids yoga videos, tech lovers have set up live streams of their kids usual karate class.
Most parents will be using some kind of interactive phonics or times-tables games during the day for younger ones. Tech-lovers are also teaching their kids how to code and set up online shops so they can start their dotcom enterprises before they hit puberty.
Your strengths: Your kids won't fall foul of internet safety and you're so tech savvy, you don't need them to show you how to fix the wifi.
Suggestions: Just keep an eye on how much screen time your kids are having. While there are so many great resources online and opportunities to take during lock-down, there's nothing wrong with some good old fashioned pen and paper activities too.
So... what type of homeschooling parent are you in this lockdown?
You may recognise yourself in one or all of these types to some degree. Whatever type of lockdown homeschooling parent you are, we wish you and your family all the best for staying safe and healthy.
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