Sunday, 3 May 2020

Working from home and how we're homeschooling

Counting with Numicon

For what it’s worth, I am by no means any expert on this. I’ve never homeschooled before, and don’t profess to now either. I have a five year old child and he’s been given work by the school to do during the time that they’re off. I also work 32 hours a week from home, and hubby works just under 40.

We’re a few weeks into this now, and we’re finding a little bit of a rhythm. Some days are better than others, but they days that are best, we’ve found, look something like this:

7:30 am – Kids up, give them breakfast
8:00 am – Cartoons
8:30 am – Get kids dressed
9:00 am – School work starts around now, and until 10am (read more below on the kinds of activities he does)
10:00 am – Kids may play in the garden if they like, or other toys etc
12:00 pm – Lunch
1:00 pm – More school work (see examples below)
2:00 pm onwards – free play

We’ve tried to keep his activities diverse, and don’t put too much pressure on him to complete them. He’s only little, and his wellbeing is number 1. Sometimes he’ll do the full hour, sometimes it’s just 10-15 mins, we take his lead with gentle encouragement. For example, yesterday he didn’t do any school work, it was a difficult day. But last week one day he spent a straight 1.5 hrs reading, which was completely his choice.

Writing with his Julia Donaldson songbirds book

Here’s some of the activities he’s done:

* Work from the books his school gave him (reading, writing, maths)
* Sorting out images to match with words and pictures
* Sorting colours and shapes (i.e. a box of plastic animals into the right plates, or grouping baby and adult animals, playing farming games like ‘Veggie Farm’)
* Exploring educational maps on Minecraft (like the human eye)
* Joe Wicks workout
* Cosmic kids yoga
* Finding mathematic shapes in his toys (cuboid etc)
* School educational apps like Sumdog and Purple Mash
* Reading books in both Welsh, and English
* Watching kids programmes in Welsh on S4C
* Listened to kids audio books
* Crafts – like making rainbows, making a cardboard train, decorating paper easter eggs etc
* Cooking – we created a ‘family soup’ where we all chopped up veggies to make a yummy soup
* Life skills – he wanted to help around the house, so he’s helped with washing up and mopping the floors etc

Again though, our goal through this pandemic is to try and get him through it as emotionally un-scarred as possible, that’s really important to us. We have found that having a couple simple rules has really helped, like he can go in the garden to play each morning but only after completing a school task. Some mornings he just won’t, and we leave it at that – I feel like if he’s not in the right frame of mind, he probably won’t get much out of the task anyway. It’s balanced by other times he wants to spend longer doing things, so its all good.

Me working while the kids do school work behind me

As for the work side of it... I'm still trying to find that balance. I'm pretty much managing to do my 32 hrs a week, but at what cost I'm still not sure yet. It's certainly taking its toll mentally trying to do all of this, it's by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. If I could work fewer hours and get paid the same I would, but that's not possible, so I somehow have to keep plodding on for as long as it takes, giving everything to both, and hoping that I don't fall apart in the process.

You cannot underestimate the strain this puts on your mental health. I've relised it's not possible to be a good mummy, and good worker (i.e. putting your hours in) while doing it all from home and both full time. So go easy on yourself, advice I need to take myself.

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