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Homeschooling during Coronavirus Pandemic

If the kids were still going to school it would almost be time for them to go back after the Easter break. My two would be back on Monday. Since the start of the school closures my boys have had two weeks where they should've been at school but were at home, the rest of the time was the Easter holidays. So as the school term is about to start again I wondered how people are homeschooling their children during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As far as I can tell there are three different ways to deal with homeschooling during this pandemic. Some people are choosing not to let the school closures change their routine much at all, they are sticking to routine and making their children do school work. Other people are letting their children forget about school and make up their own routines, which may or may not include learning. Below I cover the three options and my thoughts on each.



1. Stick to a strict routine during homeschooling



Homeschooling During Coronavirus Pandemic | Are you sticking to a strict routine?


Treating every day like a normal day can sometimes help when things seem crazy. Getting up at the same time you would if your kids were attending school. Starting learning in a "classroom" at the start of the school day. Set times for breaks and lunch, as well as the end of "school". Sticking to a strict routine when it comes to timings and learning, just like they do when they attend regular school, can be a good way to keep things going.


Thoughts:


When you're trying to create a school at home there can be so many issues. Having set times for breaks and lunch can work okay, but as you're at home the atmosphere is different and your children might not cope with it very well. Add to that the fact that they're not seeing their friends, their teachers, or even dinner ladies, and it's probably too much change to be able to stick to a strict routine. It may work for some, like those who crave strict routines, but for most I'm not sure trying to stick to rigid timings is a very good idea.



2. No routine at all



Homeschooling During Coronavirus Pandemic | Do your kids dictate when and what they learn?


Allowing your children to dictate how they want to use the days. Getting up whenever they wake up. No scheduled class times. Lunch when they feel like it. Letting everything slide because there's enough to deal with. Using this plan can make the days feel like one long holiday - except the fact that there are all these restrictions on what they can and cannot do. 


Thoughts:


Unfortunately I don't think this option works very well at all. First of all most children thrive on routine, and when there's no routine whatsoever their behaviour suffers. Most parents know this because they experience it during the six weeks holiday during the summer. There's also the very real possibility that your children will fall behind. I have seen so many Facebook posts telling people they shouldn't worry about their children falling behind in maths and english during the school closures and that they should concentrate on letting their children enjoy the time at home. In principle I agree that allowing our children some leeway is a good thing, they do need time to vent and to relax, but choosing to have no routine at all may well backfire, especially when they go back to school and see they're way behind their peers. Last of course is the boredom. How many times do you hear over the summer how bored your kids are? I know I hear it a lot and it gets old, fast. So when they have no routine at home during the school closure issues that's surely going to exacerbate the issue. They're going to be bored all the time and dealing with that can be exhausting. Having no routine at all will mean you're constantly looking for things for them to do, they're bored all the time, and you don't remember what time, or even what day it is!



3. A fluid routine for homeschooling



Homeschooling During Coronavirus Pandemic | The fluid option - learning but with no rigid routine.


Having a routine, but allowing it to shift and change during the day. Class times, but flexible. Subjects listed but also flexible. If your children ask questions you answer them, which may result in you going off on a tangent researching new topics or reading about something new. Generally going with the flow, but trying to have homeschooling as part of your daily routine.


Thoughts:


This is the option I've done my best to adopt. I don't want my children's education to suffer because the schools had to close, but at the same time I don't want their mental health to suffer either. I am sticking to a routine, with "school" starting at 9am, having various breaks throughout the day, and finishing at about 3:30pm. We have a list of "lessons" we cover, and packs of work from the schools to work through, but at the same time if my children ask a question and that leads to us looking into something on the internet I don't tell them it needs to wait. We will go with the flow and follow where the tangent leads. A couple of weeks ago, before the Easter holidays started, me and my youngest spent an afternoon learning about astronauts. He happened to ask a question - to do with his topic work for school which is all about space - and that lead us to watching some online videos showing astronauts on the International Space Station telling people how they brush their teeth, amongst other things. That afternoon was meant to be spent doing 20 minutes of topic work followed by reading time and online maths work, but I decided to let him watch the interesting astronaut stuff, and to be honest I think he learned a lot.


Homeschooling During Coronavirus Pandemic | Learning about astronauts is fun!
We talked about our trip to Kennedy Space Centre too.


The thing about this third option is that I'm keeping his education at the forefront of my mind, but I am allowing him the freedom to ask questions. We cover maths and english, and he has extra work books to work through, but I am also letting him know that he can do other things too. Another example is when we spent a whole day looking at cameras in zoos around the world, watching animals move around and play, and learning about the different animals. It allowed my youngest to learn about how animals move and play together as well as giving me the chance to teach him new things. That day we must've spent at least 30 minutes watching ants move around eating leaves! It sounds incredibly dull, but when you have an excitable 10 year old sitting next to you shrieking whenever he sees a tiny ant biting at a huge leaf it's so much fun!

Like I said, during our fluid routine we do have "school" times, but we allow it to work with us and move around if necessary. A couple of weeks ago, the day before the holidays began, my eldest asked me to go over some of his writing with him and starting at 4pm we continued until about 5:15pm. He had spent some of the day doing school work but we took some extra time at the end of the day to cover some of his creative stuff. He learned, we got to spend time together, and we made our fluid routine work for us.


Homeschooling During Coronavirus Pandemic | Use what works for you to make your kids happy.



We're all learning how this new way of life works for us and everyone is different. While some may thrive with a strict routine others need a more fluid school day. Just because the fluid routine works for us doesn't mean it will work just as well for you, and you know your children best. I say that no matter what you think about school closures, you know how your children will deal with it and how to ensure they don't fall behind - or even if you need to worry about that. Do what works for you and your children will be happy. And really, that's all we care about in the end isn't it?


How are you homeschooling during the Coronavirus pandemic?

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