These are difficult times, for children and adults alike.
Schools and colleges closed for the foreseeable future, workplaces relocated and the UK in lockdown, coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an impact on all our lives.
It is unprecedented and unsettling.
Our physical health might be foremost under the microscope. But don’t forget the toll that such times could be taking on our mental state.
Young people and children may be finding recent events more disturbing than others.
But adults are under strain also, with home schooling a challenge in addition to everything else that warrants our attention right now.
In our previous blog, we asked: how should I handle coronavirus as a parent?
Given that – since penning that post – schools across the UK have closed their doors to most pupils, there are further questions that some may have.
Our advice – that communication is key, that routines should be retained as much as possible, and that reassurance and comfort are crucial – still stands.
But how should home schooling be handled?
What is expected?
What works – and, perhaps just as importantly, what doesn’t?
Our answer is that you can’t do more than your best.
Parents and adults have a lot on their plates right now, be it finding food and groceries, attempting to work from home, caring for extended families or complying with the latest Government guidance.
Factor in overseeing schoolwork – and trying to keep children occupied – and it’s quite a juggling act.
Such times are extraordinary, so be forgiving and give yourself a break.
You might not manage it all, but prioritise health and happiness and the job is still a good one. Children safe and secure? You deserve a pat on the back for that alone.
The schooling side can be quite a challenge, but there are no hard and fast rules, and there is always a place for flexibility. Remember: You can’t do it all. You’re not expected to be perfect.
How should I tackle home schooling during the coronavirus crisis?
There’s no one-size-fits-all advice, for circumstances vary, but don’t overdo it or expect to replicate full days in the classroom. This isn’t an extended holiday, it’s true, but neither is it a normal situation.
Keep routines as regular as possible – in regard to mealtimes and bedtimes in particular – and aim for normality, structure and familiarity.
Be attentive, but also make allowances for imagination and autonomy.
Break schoolwork up into manageable chunks and don’t be afraid to do things a little differently.
Don’t demand (or expect) non-stop work, and be sure to factor in exercise and time outdoors (taking the latest Government guidance into account, of course).
Take a walk (following up-to-date advice), spend some time in the garden and soak up a little Spring sunshine.
Remain active. You could start the morning doing PE with Joe Wicks (via YouTube, weekdays at 9am). Good physical health aids good mental health. Don’t underestimate the impact. It all helps.
There are countless resources online – some emanating from schools, others from elsewhere – so strive to make the days as varied as possible to avoid it all becoming a chore.
Limit social media, gadgets, devices and screen time, and encourage reading and music, arts and crafts, and anything else creative in nature. The school curriculum can be restrictive at times, but at home, there are no limits, meaning opportunities abound to experience things that are different and new. Although routine is important, don’t miss an opportunity to be flexible and learn about something that just pops up.
The most important thing here? Please don’t expect it all to be perfect.
Current events are disturbing – for everyone involved, and for children and adults alike.
The strain is great, the challenges daunting and the impact on all our lives enormous.
This is unsettling. This is unprecedented. This is extraordinary.
Please take care and give yourself a break.
You can’t do more than your best.