How long has this been goin’ on? asked Ace in 2975. Flippin’ ages, comes the answer in a warble.
Yes. It all started so suddenly, so unthinkably, with our usual lives unceremoniously parked. Nothing was normal – work, going to the shops, school. Nothing. No more school bags, PE kit, packed lunches or 11th hour discoveries of crumpled – but essential – notes in the bottom of back packs.
All at once, ‘home schooling’ was one of many phrases on people’s lips. ‘Oh shit,’ and ‘daunted’. among others.
However, a millionteen weeks later and we’re (sort of) getting into the education groove, by which I mean there are fewer tears and less slamming of doors. In short, we’re just getting on with it the best we can. We even take our exams online. Some schools are already using an online exam monitoring software for a well-organized facilitation and execution of exams.
Every day’s a school day, as they say. So here’s what I’ve learned since the last day the school bus trundled past:
Home schooling is the wrong label. What we’re doing is helping our teachers teach our kids while the kids and the teachers are both stuck at home.
We’re not doing it on our own. It’s a team effort with everyone at school on our side.
Some people are naturally sociable – I’m not one of them. While I might need extreme solitude to get anything productive done, Boy Three can’t focus when he’s on his own. Strange that my son should be so different, but there you go…
That Eratostheres has a sieve. Don’t you know? It’s a way of working out what the prime numbers are and it’s surprisingly satisfying.
Children’s creativity can be breathtaking. Giant caterpillars and guinea pig school crests. Awesome surprises every day.
Speed is of the essence. When you’re 10 (sorry, nearly 11) getting through an adequate amount of work as fast as possible is the only way.
Optional is not a helpful concept. Nope. Optional school was never going to work. Tasks thus labeled in a Google classroom will get scrolled past without a second glance.
Learning styles matter. Once again it’s about the differences. I might love working through a list – top to bottom, but other people need to be given their instructions, in words, in their ear, several times. It’s the same kind of thing that lets some people spell something without writing it down. Weird.
Teaching isn’t easy. I did know this, but I’ve had something of an in-your-face reminder. It’s not about telling the pupil what the answers are or even showing them how to do it. It’s about showing them how to learn, which is a special skill.