READY SET SCHOOL @ HOME!
I’m sitting in my office, in my pyjamas and ugg boots, and no, I haven’t put a bra on. I’m checking emails and jumping back and forth to a website with free children’s learning worksheets trying to print out activities to keep the children occupied until the school has their work ready for collection.
They are bubbling with excitement that they are not at school and can learn from home, but I know this enthusiasm will last for about 40 minutes before the inevitable resistance and complaining sets in.
Today their Dad is home, he can help, but he keeps disappearing…where has he gone? So they keep appearing at my door, issuing me with completed worksheets for a sticker and praise.
My oldest is learning multiplication and fractions and we are racking our brains over the method we learnt. Is it the same as they learn now? Too bad, today they learn my way (sorry Mr Saville!)
As time progresses, I hear moments of studiousness, occasional fighting, routine squealing and general distraction. I send them outside to scoot and shoot hoops, the older one hits the younger one in the head with the ball because he keeps getting in his way. I come out to give a lesson in empathy (how would you feel if he did that to you?) and wield warnings of an iPad ban if it happens again…back to those emails.
My brain feels fractured, splintered…I’ll write a list of what I need to get done, that will help. But it just makes me anxious as the list is long and requires considerable thought and effort which I’m not sure I can apply while giving my children some kind of meaningful learning experience.
My husband comes to the fore, “I’m taking the kids on a bushwalk – we will call it PE!” But really, it’s giving Mum an hour to smash out some work un-interrupted. I’ll take what I can get. Did I mention it is only 10.30am?
This experience is challenging, and for those who have been in prolonged lockdown, the cumulative stress can be overwhelming. During this time imperfection is key. We need to accept that our children’s learning may not be ideal and a game of UNO or Monopoly is a perfectly acceptable exercise in logic, reasoning, addition and subtraction.
We need to accept that our work might not be to its usual standard, that deadlines will need to be pushed out, that some items previously seen as priorities are no longer.
We need to practice patience – patience with our children, patience with our loved ones and patience with our colleagues, that will at times involve a lot of deep breathing and an occasional cry in the shower!
Our goal this week, and for the weeks ahead is to try. Just try. We will try flexibly, imperfectly, gently and in ways that are forgiving of ourselves and others. This period of time will not be the determinant of our children’s outcomes in life (even if they are sitting trial exams). Adjustments will be made by others and by ourselves and this will come to pass. What matters is that we stick together and our wellbeing remains intact, as individuals and as families. We got this.
Convener, Mid Coast 4 Kids
Need some help during this time? Below are some resources that might be useful:
Self-care tips for parents and carers
Every flight attendant says before take-off: place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others.
Self-care is incredibly important and can help to strengthen your family. When you’re you’re happy and healthy, you can be more attentive and engaged as a parent and spouse.
When developing your own self-care routines and rituals, keep in mind that the more often you manage your wellbeing the longer you will be able to sustain a happy and positive household.
Here are some useful posts and contacts from BeyondBlue.
- How to look after your mental health when working from home
- Coping with isolation and being at home
- Staying connected
- Family life
- Supporting personal wellbeing
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
NSW Education COVID Advice for Parents
Students, Parents and Teachers know from our experience of 2020, that working “on line” presents a series of challenges that are not usually present in the day to day education of our young people. If you have questions about your specific school’s #LearnFromHome arrangements, please reach out to your school directly.
Practical Tools and Supports
- #EducationLIVE – From taking a behind the scene tour of a QANTAS plane to writing a song with a an Aussie rock star – tune into NSW Education’s Facebook, or on the #LearnFromHome hub: https://education.nsw.gov.au/parents-learning-at-home *Please note that this schedule is subject to change.
- FREE Learning Sheets: For those of you with primary school aged children here’s an amazing free resource that was a life saver for some of our Mid Coast parents last year’s lock down – free downloadable learning sheets which you can print for year levels K to 6.
- Early Childhood guidelines to help early childhood education and care (ECEC) services prepare for, prevent and manage an outbreak of COVID-19.
Specific Learning Difficulties