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Schooling during Covid-19

There's a lot to balance - but don't panic, writes Moira Kleissner, a retired teacher and home school supervisor. Moira offers this reflection


Although I agree with much of what Vivienne Sharkey says re home-schooling, I disagree with some of her points.  School educated children follow a particular curriculum and have exams with certain expectations that home schoolers don't have to follow necessarily. This especially applies to secondary education where syllabi for exams are crucial.  Both are equally valid but different methods of educating children.

During this difficult time schools have given parents lots of ideas/ workbooks & sheets/TV and on-line resources to use. There is a huge amount on-line help, including things like BBC Bite-Size (brilliant) and other specially devised BBC platforms to support children's education at this difficult time. Many schools have on-line classrooms with interaction between teacher and children.

My next door neighbour, who teaches science at a secondary school, now goes online each day to check with different groups of her pupils and they work together for a short time while she checks on any problems they have. That way they don't feel so isolated. My Welsh lesson on Tuesday night was done on Zoom,  six of us and the tutor - great and lesson material all covered and problems solved. The wonders of technology!

Yes, I agree with Vivienne that school days done at home are shorter, but you will still be expected to cover the basics that the school has asked you to. Routine is crucial. Otherwise your child will become frustrated. But it can be made fun with stickers, goals and treats  built in for completed work. Create a reading den under the table or with a sheet set up like a tent. Why not do the work too yourself and get your child/children to mark it and give stickers or treats to you - great fun. In the past as both a home school supervisor and school teacher, now an SEND mentor, I firmly believe in bribery & corruption in education - makes it fun for everyone - and works!

I would say it is a good idea to have a designated work table - even a special cloth you can put over your table and take off when "school" is finished. It signals that you are taking your child's education seriously. Many home-school schemes, also suggest a designated table/desk. Then play and school aren't confused.

You can still go for a walk and collect leaves and all sorts of things and work with a digital/phone cameras. Of course you mustn't meet with others outside your immediate family. But you can always contact your children's friends and have a chat/play time on-line. At 8am every morning a dad in our street takes his two children for a run round the block so they get exercise.

Here is an idea of a school day, while self isolating: 

  • Some form of exercise (loads of on-line fun activity sessions for children to join in at the moment or go for a run or a skip down the street);
  • settle to 2 hours school;
  • have the rest of the morning as TV, on-line (can be fun but educational at the same time) & play;
  • lunch;
  • after lunch story time with a parent (could also include a "time with God");
  • an hour of school in the afternoon;
  • and then whatever they want to do for the rest of the time, you could build in another exercise session if you wanted.

But no "homework": you have completed three hours of school and that is sufficient at this testing time.

Remember the way things are taught and done in schools today, especially maths, may well be different from what you did at school, so follow instructions the teacher has set. As Vivienne says, use this time to learn together, and have fun about it. Get your child/children to teach you how to do things.

As Corporal Jones said, "Don't panic." Enjoy learning together and from each other. Use this as a precious time together and get to know more about your children. 


Image | Lukas | Pexels

Moira Kleissner is a retired teacher, storyteller & minister’s wife


What's your experience of having your child/children at home? What is working for you? What challenges are you facing? If you're able to offer your perspective, we'd love to hear from you. 

We recognise there are a range of different situations, and would like to reflect that so we can learn from each other - share your thoughts here


Baptist Times, 27/03/2020
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