So we are back to home learning. This time the schools have prepared more work because remote learning plans needed to be in place. But as a teaching assistant in an infant school, we were not expecting last week’s Prime Minister statement. We were in school on Monday and instead of being able to plan for a mix of on site learning for key worker and vulnerable children, we were forced to assume normal school opening was proceeding.
But normal never happened.
Last week was tough as my colleagues and I responded to circumstances that literally changed by the hour. At home, things have been tricky too.
My older two have been home due to a major electrical fault and the school was closed anyway but we had Monday as notice. Zach’s bubble had to close due to low staff numbers. So whilst I went in to work, my kids were at home being supervised by Chris whose very patient and understanding boss and team allowed him time to keep an eye on them. He did not have the time to supervise any home learning and the kids are not allowed unsupervised internet access. I was therefore trying to cram in their home learning after school and this wasn’t sustainable due to exhaustion and time constraints.
By the end of the week, things had changed yet again. Matthew and Anya have been offered a place at a school 3 miles away as I am a key worker but this is not practical for us due to the increased risks associated with travel and their fears about being in a strange place, with staff and children from across 4 years. I have halved my hours so that I can be home with the older two to complete their home learning. Zach has returned to school thankfully!
So here are my tops tips for home learning:
1 Go back to basics as a minimum.
Read A LOT. Write: make a game of writing a shopping list or rewrite the book’s ending. Do some counting: use that shopping list and add prices. Get outside or join in with Joe Wicks.
2 Keep it short.
Make a session no longer than 45 minutes for infants and junior aged children. Try teaching life skills like tying shoe laces, chopping onions or making a cup of tea.
3 Use the resources provided by the school.
Schools prepared remote learning plans last term. Give staff enough time to get these up and running. Twinkl and Orchard Toys have online resources that can be used if you need extra support.
4 Don’t compare yourself to others.
I felt very inferior last time round with some parents posting multiple times a day with a range of activities. I had to work. I had to look after 3 children with very varied sets of work. We all have different circumstances and need to try our best. Our own wellbeing mustn’t be ignored or we will not be able to help our children