Home educating in a pandemic

While many school children have finally gone back to school this week, many are still at home being ‘home schooled’. I’ve seen so many comments on my Social Media over the last year from parents struggling to have their children at home all the time, trying to keep up with work set, keeping them busy and occupied, feeling like they cannot cope, and finally now, celebrating the return to school.

I’ve had so many people tell me they don’t know how I have managed to home school for so man years.

The truth is, home education this past year is not what home educating really is. Both for children normally at school and those who are electively home educated.

While we may be used to the children not going to school, the way we have been having to live this past year is not our typical. We would never normally spend this much time at home, and we have struggled with that as much as any other family.

In normal times, we have home ed groups – get-togethers with other home educating families, sometimes purely social meets, sometimes with an educational focus. These are as much for us Mamas as they are for the children – a chance to catch up with friends, to share worries, and talk about home education issues.

We have field trips – to museums, art gallery’s, palces of interest. Tied in to topics we may be studying or just to immerse ourselves in the world.

The kids have endless groups – gymnastics, drama, guides, youth parliament to name but a few, evenings and weekends are packed full of activities.

There are also playdates, at home, at friends, in the park. Social connection is so important, and we normally spend a lot of time with friends.

I have seen so many people sharing how much time their children are having to spend online, sat in online classes their schools have put on. Children struggling to sit at a desk all day, behind a screen, ‘learning’. Knowing that is so detrimental to their wellbeing.

Home Education for us looks like a tiny bit of ‘formal work’ – age dependant. My 6 year old uses Reading Eggs and Mathseeds for some work, he especially loves these Maths Mysteries from TWINKL – but he mostly learns through play, through us reding together, building, creating, baking, talking, investigating, visiting, experiencing. My 11-year-old has an English Zoom once a week, a workbook for Maths, and online platforms for some goegrpahy and science – but again, learns so much through reading, crafting, making, talking, living life.

Home Educating through this pandemic has been hard on everybody. So much enforced time at home, being unable to be out in the world, socialising, going on Field Trips, this is not what true Home Education looks like.

We are just as ready for a return to ‘normal life’ as everyone else, a time when home education doesn’t have to just happen around the kitchen table, when we can get back to using the whole world as our classroom.

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