Too cool for (home) school?!
Jess: What is HOME for you? People live in all sorts of “homes”; big houses, small shacks, boats, tents, castles and some don’t have homes at all! Some people have lived in all sorts of places and others have stayed in the same spot all their lives, but none of this is home for me. Home, and I mean real home, is a place to feel safe, a place to feel loved, to know that I am appreciated for who I am and supported even when the chips are down. Not everyone has a safe place, a sanctuary. Some have the very opposite. What does home mean for you?
In the chaos of 2020, parents with children (of school age), of all backgrounds, circumstances and abilities have had to adjust to having their children at home full-time and in some cases, trying to get them to learn a thing or two. As with everything relating to parenting, there will be a whole raft of different challenges and approaches. What has your experience been Bethia? You’re a teacher, so it must have been easy, right?! ;-)
Bethia: Ha! I read a great quote which totally resonated with me:
“I love teaching. I love my children. I hate teaching my children!” In my experience (and this is not the only experience, there are plenty of people who succeed) I can get far less out of my children than other adults can. I was home-schooled for a year myself and I vividly remember thinking - “don’t need to bother with the French homework, it’s just Mum”! - We have been running a school-organised marathon with my eldest son, just a mile every now and then. When my partner and I take him running, it’s like getting blood out a stone - we start with bribery and flattery… it ends up with threats! Yet, he ran three miles at school the other day - willingly and with seemingly little effort.
It is an interesting challenge playing the roles of both teacher and parent!
J: I totally get it, and have heard the same from plenty of other parents, not just during lock down, but in general. Of course, there are those that have chosen the path of home-learning for a host of different reasons, and plenty that do this incredibly well, but perhaps it’s not for everyone?
B: Yes, I think that the entire nation has a new-found respect for the home learning world. I have found it a relief that my ‘Mum Hero’ friends… you know, the ones that seem to have it all so nicely wrapped up….even THEY are finding this hard!
J: There must be people who have been contemplating home-schooling and lockdown has given them the ideal opportunity to “test it out”? Then of course there are those that are spinning a lot of plates with more than one person working from home and little help. What about the people who don’t have the equipment/resources/environment to learn easily at home?
B: You are right - there are so many varied experiences of this and some incredibly impressive stories of overcoming obstacles. It hasn’t been all bad though has it? I have loved teaching the quirky bits - evaporation on the patio, the digestive system, dressing up as a weather forecaster and talking about wind direction. I have seen my son’s curiosity go stratospheric! It’s really suited him to get off the treadmill for a few months and discover the total thrill of that ‘aha’ moment! What have you enjoyed?
J: I’ve really enjoyed being a closer part of the boys’ journey. They are still tiny and I have been able to see all their developments more closely. Rowan has even learned to walk during lockdown! I can’t say it’s been without its challenges though. Keeping up with everything has required squeezing efficiency out of every hour and leaning on family much more than usual (which has benefits and drawbacks). We have tried to juggle responsibilities and stay on top of it, but it’s certainly EXHAUSTING! The great news is, not only have we got to know our neighbours better, as a result of having helped each other out, but we get to experience “equality in action” as our family unit has pulled together and adapted to the juggles and struggles of balancing busy lives!
B: Yes - we’re all learning. Home learning for everyone.
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