For the majority of us parents, we didn’t sign up to remote learning. It’s something that has to be done for most parents and children at the moment, and it’s not all been bad.
We know we’re lucky compared to others: I’ve only got 1 child, he’s old enough to sort himself out with pretty much all of his work, and he’s a people pleaser and rule follower. So apart from the struggle getting him to read, the rest is reasonably hassle free. We had our internet cut out for a few hours but our internet company is very personalised and react fast to sort out any issues. The school called to run through what N needed to do that wasn’t already on the daily learning sheet we’d already printed off. So temporary panic only. We have enough hardware and equipment, the space to work, and both of us are still working. But we can always celebrate that remote learning does bring some positives.
We’ve certainly been challenged while schools haven’t been open for all children. With one key worker parent, we decided that with cases high and me working at home, N was better off being at home. School have put on great learning opportunities, with them being online all day til ‘PE’ time. They’re learning alongside the children in school, all doing the same work and being taught by the teacher as normally as possible. Their routine and the types of activities remains the same as they would have been doing pre Christmas when in school. This really helps keep N focused rather than wandering off all the time.
Lunchtime just about coincides with lunch at the farm, although breaktime is a little later. But I think this is better as N doesn’t get pulled off to walk the dog or help out. Instead he gets his head down and is still focused. He gets to go out on the farm or walk the dogs after school’s finished for PE around 2.30.
Having children at home 24-7 is strange when you’re used to being at work and them at school.
Juggling work and school along with all the other usual home activities, getting everyone fed, food shopping, sorting out medical appointments.. While it’s been workable for me around my working from home, it’s certainly uprooted normality (along with not being able to just go out at will wherever and whenever we want).
But we’re making the most of the highlights whether due to the school set up, or the additional time and flexibility we have at home.
Highlights of home school / remote learning
I’m not a fan of working from home. I can do it, and it has benefits such as being able to do a washload or unload the dishwasher in a break rather than it all having to be done in the evenings. But I find it very lonely, and struggle to work if I put music on. But having N sitting opposite at the kitchen table, even when we’re both working in silence, is nice to have someone there. Even if he does commentate through what everyone’s puting in the Teams chat when I’m on a call.
Understanding of current schooling
I was at school a long time ago. While N is now doing similar maths to the way we learnt in school, there’s still a lot I can’t remember or never got taught back then. He’s generally good at explaining how they’ve learnt things, but now I get to hear how they’re being taught first hand. If he gets stuff, I’ll be able to understand and hear how the teacher taught it.
Plus, some of the work they do in writing, is so much more exciting than our school days. I can get quite carried away making exciting suggestions to write about (which he then ignores).
Our school has said parents need to be in the same room/nearby when children are online, so I’m able to understand where N struggles with things, and where he’s got no problems. I also hear how applied and focused he is, knowing that it’s not just him reporting that back to me.
Increased family time
There’s so much more time to do the things we like at home. There’s time for N to walk the dog a couple of times a day. He can spend time on the farm daily. We have every dinner together rather than at the farm, main meal at work/lunch, and at after school club. And N and I have more time at weekends to watch films together or play board games.
Normally N would be at morning club 3 days a week, and I start work earlier to compress my working week and have an earlier Friday finish. But at the moment, I can have an extra 30 mins in bed, there’s less of a rush because we don’t have to get everything ready for lunch, snacks or work, and we can get set up for work and school a lot faster than the short commute and getting parked.
You’d imagine being at home together 24-7 would mean less independence for children. But N’s been making the most of having the fields out there to enjoy. He’s been taking the dog out, and a day after I went out with him sledging, the OH allowed him to go up again with the dog as I was working. He just takes his phone with him and he knows to let us know where he’s going when, and making sure he checks in regularly.
Increased IT skills
With remote learning taught via Teams alongside those in school, it means N has increased his computer literacy. His typing speed and accuracy is improving as they do typing practice each day. He’s able to download and upload documents, use different programmes, and submit work himself. He’s getting there with managing Word within Teams and printing, He’s gaining confidence in the chat function and helping his classmates. N’s learning things I didn’t experience until starting work. Virtual meetings, is something I’ve only been doing in the last 2 years at work.
Increased breadth of learning
N’s got really keen on learning to cook. He’ll pick and choose, but hey, any evening meal he’ll cook means one I don’t have to do. Hopefully he’ll continue being interested in cooking going forward. By the time he’s a couple of years older, he’ll have a lot more in his repertoire. He might not get to do all subjects he’d learn at school, and his sports skills will drop, but there’s plenty of other things he’s learnt at home.
There’s also been a lot of laughs. Not a day goes by without N doing a bottom wiggle, claiming it’s exercise. Pulling faces. Or just simply telling a silly story.
What positives have you found with remote learning?