A blog post by Marie Windows, Depute Rector, Ethos
It was suggested that as a teacher and parent, I might like to share with you all how things are going in my household. I have two children, Charlie (S1) and Daisy (P6), who are both at Hutchie.
We started the week, much like everyone else, with colourful planners, a pile of workbooks and a mixture of ambition and trepidation about how it would all work. With everyone in the household working from home, it is a busy environment; everyone is working on completely different tasks and there are random conversations taking place on phones and laptops.
The children have one laptop to share between them, and this can often lead to a fraught exchange about whose task is most important. If you add to the mix a naughty spaniel, who is prone to stealing and eating pens and pencils, it can quickly become a battle zone. At times, it can feel like an impossible task. All my classroom experience flies out the window when faced with the reality of the competing demands of explaining fractions to an unconvinced 12-year-old whilst juggling questions about uploading documents instantly from my youngest.
All this aside, the children have been great. We have found that structure for the day is important – getting up and dressed ready to start the day at 9 is good for a positive mindset and works for us. They enjoy a Joe Wicks work out and then start their schoolwork. They don’t follow the exact timings of a school day, but they work through the tasks that have been set for them.
Working individually is more tiring and more intense. In a typical lesson at school, pupils would watch clips, interact with their teacher and others, and only spend part of the lesson on an independent task. At home we let them work at their own pace and take frequent breaks. The school day finishes earlier but the quality of their effort and learning is no less; they need time to play and we need time to be a family.
My main tip – do a little everyday – don’t try to complete everything at once. Take it easy on yourselves; we are all making the best of an unprecedented situation. No one is expecting parents to be teachers (even those that already are). Give your children time to read, bake, watch films, play games and spend time together. This is a work in progress for us, we are still trying to get the right balance of social interaction for our children; this is what they miss the most.
Overall, we have made rapid progress in a week. It is not perfect, we have occasional spats, but we are getting better all the time.