Tag Archive | coronavirus

As important as the home educating bit – a little reminder!

Home educating was a joyful and inspirational period in our family life.

Most of the time.

There were times when it was downright gruelling and bloody and I struggled to stand another day of it!

But that wasn’t because I didn’t like it, regretted our decision, couldn’t handle it, or wished the kids were in school. Especially not that.

It was because of a simple but overlooked fact: I wasn’t looking after myself adequately!

I wonder how many of you reading this have been guilty of the same?

It’s hard enough home educating. It’s been made much, much harder by the circumstances the pandemic has thrust upon us. It’s stressful, makes us anxious, inhibits our activities and will make even the joyful things seem like hard work sometimes. So there is even more need for you to be:

Looking after yourself as well as the kids!

This makes sense because not doing so is counter-productive. It doesn’t do anyone any favours. And it’s not best for the child either.

Look at it this way, a parent who is stressed, tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, is less likely to be able to deal with the challenge of parenting and home schooling than one who’s rested, relaxed and happy. So it’s in the child’s interests too, to pay attention to our needs.

It’s also in the child’s interests for another reason. A parent who is sacrificing their own needs is giving the signal to their child that parents don’t matter. Parents matter enormously – that’s what children need to know – everyone needs to know it.

Children also need to learn how to look after themselves. Your demonstration of how a person does this, through the way you do it, is going to teach them this.

Another thing; neglecting yourself constantly just gives them licence to disregards others’ needs to fulfil their own. And although very young children do that, as they grow they need to learn differently. We all need to relate to others.

You will want to be the best parent you can be. The best way to do that is to look to your own wellbeing too. For all your sakes.

You want your kids to have respect. Respect for others and certainly respect for themselves. They learn that from the respect that you have for yourself – so what demonstration of that are they getting through the way you look after yourself?

So, now I’ve given you some reasons to, how can you look after yourself?

Take time for the things you love to do
  • Prioritise time to do so.
  • Get out by yourself as well as with them.
  • Borrow time or do time swaps with others.
  • Remember to work on things that inspire you, at your level, not just the children.
  • Keep contact with friends and others for some adult chats.
  • Feed and exercise yourself well for your sake, not just for theirs’ (essential lesson for the kids in there).
  • Do things you love, just for you, not always tagging it onto something they love!
  • Rest and relax at times, letting them know that it’s a way of fulfilling your needs too.

Whatever form your ‘looking after yourself’ takes it’s as invaluable a lesson as anything academic, so don’t neglect it. And I reckon it’s doubly important during these challenging times we’re going through right now.

(A previous post about time away from the children and why it’s necessary)

Together and Apart

It may be more challenging home educating during these times of corona crisis and all the anxiety that goes with it. But at least your kids are with you!

I know there’ll be times when you could do with more space when they’re with you 24/7 and managing that can be the more challenging part of home educating – and parenting for that matter. (There are some tips on that in this post here) Even more so since your options for getting out and about have become so limited.

But the other side of that is the fact you are all together and have more control over the youngsters exposure and contact with others.

Parents of older children and those off to Uni don’t!

When I think of the teenagers starting Uni this time, it must be fraught with worry, for kids and parents. It’s hard enough them moving out of the family home, without the added stress about how they’re mixing. I feel for you!

I still worry about mine, who’ve been living apart in the working world for many years now, and how they’re keeping safe.

It was many months this year before we got to see our eldest and once we managed to be all four of us together again it was insanely sweet. But there’s still that background niggle of ‘should we be doing this?’, and even expressions of love feel inhibited.

It’s all very hard for families, for friends, for us all. And we daren’t even think about Christmas!

But that’s possibly the best way to deal with the situation we’re in; not to think about things that far ahead. We cannot possibly have any certainty about it, best to stay with what we do have certainty about – this present moment!

It was inevitable when we were all together recently that the four of us talked about Christmas as it’s already coming into the politics of the situation. But only momentarily. We agreed that there are only hypotheses to be had, and these tend to induce worry and spoil the pleasure of being together at the time; the important thing.

And we had some lovely moments together when we managed not to think about the crisis, focus on the lovely things we could do, were doing; picnics, chats, walks, just being together. Even diving into a pub during a thunderstorm. The first time I’ve done that since last winter.

It seems the best way to cope with current times; to stay with the good moments you have, cope as well as you can with the troublesome ones and cherish having your children close whilst you can. It won’t always be the way of it.

I did some reckoning the other day and got a shock. It’s nigh on ten years now since both our youngsters were at home full time home educating. But they’re still educating themselves even if not at home because home educating showed them the possibility of self-educating however old they are and wherever they are. And that’s what they continue to do, particularly with the time they had during Lockdown, knowing that education doesn’t just mean academics, there are new skills to learn and things to research and try all the time.

So whatever you’re doing at home with your youngsters during these challenging times, appreciate that they are at home and safe. And understand that you’re not only home schooling them, but showing them a DIY approach to an educating way of life that will set them up for the future and help them cope with whatever is going on around them. Both now – and then.

And take it from me; you’ll miss being together one day!

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!