Home education in these restricting times

What an educational year it’s been! For all parents whether you home educate or use schools.

I’m not sure now, whether education will ever be the same again, but I’m sure we’re all learning from it, both individually and with respect to the education system. (Certainly room for that not to be the same!)

Be assured; the children will certainly be learning, as everything is an opportunity to do so and they’ll be fascinated by all the goings on. And it’s important to make it all something to be curious about, rather than scared of. Difficult when we all no doubt have our concerns and facing people with masks on is hardly settling – being out is sometimes not that much fun. But we have to be sensible, not obsessive, in the way respond to the challenges the coronavirus situation throws at us.

It’s probably difficult at the moment to home educate in the broad, out going way most are used to, especially if you’d normally be meeting in groups larger than six! The restrictions on getting together, a normal and vital part of most home educators’ routine, will be challenging. It’s no doubt very inhibiting; it will require a new kind of resourcefulness and a balancing act between keeping safe and keeping sane.

Perhaps when meeting others you can do so outdoors rather than in. I know many groups meet at play centres, pools, sports centres and places like them but now’s the time to switch to being out door types! Children generally enjoy the outdoors even when it’s raining. There’s a saying; there’s no bad weather – only the wrong clothes!

Maybe you’ll have to split into smaller groups, or one or two families, until the size restrictions lift again. Smaller groups can be nicely intimate. However the guidance here suggests you can meet in groups of more than 6 for educational purposes: see para 2.10 Although advice changes regularly!

If some of the museums and galleries, libraries and arts centres you usually frequent are closed, visit them online instead. The big museums have some amazing interactive sites that are fascinating to explore.

I recently posted a blog of ideas for activities if you’re a bit home bound and stuck for things to do.

Wherever you live – you can walk daily!

However restricted you have to be there is always the opportunity to get out for a walk wherever you live. Doesn’t matter where you walk; it changes the moods and spirits of everyone and helps maintain overall wellbeing, along with the other benefits of exercise. Make observations and conversation as you go to stimulate minds.

And don’t forget the planet in all this; I fear for its burden of throw away masks and plastic hand sanitiser containers, and the abandonment of environmental issues whilst our focus is elsewhere. Yet it is perhaps the lack of that focus that has caused the virus in the first place (see the programme following) Educating the children in their responsibility towards planet is as important as their social and academic one. Did you watch the Attenborough programme ‘Extinction – the facts’?

I appreciate the distancing, hand washing and masks are necessary precautions, but as I said above we need to be sensible with them, not obsessive. We have to learn to go on living our lives within these unfamiliar parameters. And as I also said; children will be learning and developing from all these experiences, particularly skills not prioritised by the National Curriculum like being adaptable, resourceful and socially responsible, all essential to the overall development of the human race – part of what education is for anyway.

Let me know how you’re managing and what you’re up to in the comments below and share your ideas, I’d love to hear. And it’ll inspire others.

Meanwhile, enjoy your learning as you go. Life learning skills set the children up for life, not just for now. An enjoyable one does it better!

2 thoughts on “Home education in these restricting times

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