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Home-schooling in Hastings

Well, that is technically two weeks of home-schooling done. It has been strange, wonderful and stressful for everyone involved, writes Vanessa Alves.

As you might know, I work as a teaching assistant in a primary school. However, I am still nervous about home-schooling my two boys. This is completely new to me. Working in a classroom environment and trying to school my two boys are completely different matters.

I tried making my own timetable in preparation for the coming weeks but honestly, it was a complete shambles. I over-filled it, it was messy, no consistency and above all it frightened me. That’s how I knew I had made a bad plan and I couldn’t bring that to my kids. If I was scared what would my boys feel? Thankfully, the school that my children attend had sent home a timetable for their year group. I have chosen to follow that instead, with a few tweaks here and there that suit us as a family.

Their needs are vastly different and that is partly why it can be difficult. Both are full of energy so we can’t sit down and do anything until they have had some exercise. Our day begins with walking the dog at around 8am, then joining Jo Wickes for P.E. Then, and only then, can we sit down at the table and do some work.

IMG_20200326_141821_resized_20200328_095424438My eldest Ben, declared after only one day of ‘lessons’ that he hates it and wants to go back to school. I can thankfully say that by the end of week two he was beginning to enjoy himself a little more. He still complained but not much, so that is a win a for me.

My youngest, on the other hand, has loved lesson time but he often wants to talk to me about other things and he can completely distract us with his lively conversation. So with him, I have had to keep boundaries like in school and say, “Thank you Sam for sharing that, but we need to concentrate. You can tell me all about it at break.”

I am thankful that although this has been strange and it has taken a little time to adjust to, it also has been a good couple of weeks. We have spent some quality time together outside of “school hours.” We have had games night on Thursdays which we haven’t had in a while. We have read together, played in the garden, walked the dog and laughed together.

My partner has been cooking and baking with them, we have started a gardening project of growing vegetables and because my mum has been (unintentionally) quarantined with us, she has helped us and also provided some Portuguese lessons so the kids get a break from me too.

I am fully aware that this is only the beginning, but it has been nice to see my children and get to know them a little more. I may be singing another tune next week; especially when I have snapped over how many times the boys have asked for a  snack.

This is what I have found useful during this time:

Routine It is by no means a strict schedule but we have a daily routine that helps to give structure to the day and helps us all cope with the new reality.

Purple Mash Great for all your curriculum needs. Usually you have to pay but they are offering free access for six weeks.

Board games Dusted off some of those forgotten ones buried deep in the back of beyond. It has been great to rediscover games.

Lego I am now so grateful to see a sea of Lego on my floor. It means that they are being creative in a way that doesn’t involve a screen. (I also do make them pick up every last one.)

We are now technically in the Easter holidays, so I am not sure how these next two weeks are going to pan out but the we are still looking forward to celebrating Easter.

I would like to say to other families, please do share ideas, what works and what doesn’t. I definitely need some inspiration for the coming weeks, we are all in this together!

Posted 18:29 Saturday, Apr 4, 2020 In: Covid-19

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