Home schooling in lockdown – why it’s soooo hard!
Teaching our children at home is just one of the many hard, and anxiety provoking challenges that parents and children are faced with in lockdown. Schools, parents and children have had to jump into this with minimal preparation, and for some – or maybe most - it is proving to be quite a challenge!
Since lockdown, I have supported some families where Mum, Dad or Carer are feeling pretty much at the end of their tether. The children who find it hard to learn at school can find it doubly hard at home.
I’m thinking about some of the reasons why it is soooo hard.
The role of parents has had to change. Now, for a period of time each day, parents are supposed to become teachers, or teaching assistants, for their children. This is not normal!
Teachers are people who children tend to relate to as authority figures, who know the answers (or know how to find them out)
Teachers assign tasks and judge the results.
Teachers and their students leave each other at the end of the school day, and return to their homes where they can “be themselves” until it is time to be a teacher again the next day.
To make it even harder, as well as being the teacher/teaching assistant, parents have to continue to be parents. And some have to maintain some sort of working from home employment presence. All at the same time.
And it’s not easy for children either. The role of children also has had to change. During school hours, children are expected to be students:
Students are meant to do what they are tasked to do
They expect to be given appropriate help and support
They expect that they will have the right sort of equipment to do the task
They don’t have an Xbox in the classroom tempting them away from their desks
They have regular breaks when they can run around with their friends and let off steam
At the end of all this they get to go home and get away from the pressures of school until the next day.
In a lot of households across the country, families are managing this complicated process remarkably well, but there are some who are finding it very hard – understandably so.
If we go back in time, we might find that some parents themselves found school very hard; they might have traumatic memories of being at school, perhaps of being bullied, or feeling lonely or left out, or perhaps they never quite got the hang of algebra. Being expected to now become active homeschoolers is a big ask.
Here is a beautiful message from a teacher to parents which suggests what might be the most important task for parents/carers to attempt while schools are out:
Art by Frank Carter.