Since Boris Johnson announced that all schools in the UK are to close, one of the most high frequency vocabulary words that has been banded around on social media has been that of ‘homeschooling.’
There have been posts from parents, there have been memes, threads and hilarious photographs with parents who have been attempting to homeschool their children.
Homeschooling by its very definition is: noun
- the education of children at home by their parents.
Let’s take a moment to clear up a few misunderstandings and any aspects of confusion that have kicked in with regard to the term ‘homeschooling’ and what is the role of the parent during a lockdown with regard to our children’s education.
Pre Covid-19, a parent could opt to remove the school a traditional education option and educate the children at home, clear guidelines stated here: https://www.gov.uk/home-education
This is completely different to what is expected of parents during the COVID-19 lock-down.
You are not…
Parents are not expected to educate their children. It is my understanding that schools are still educating children. There have been hours of work that has been set; sent home; provided using Google Classrooms; Zoom sessions.
Just short of stopping at carrier pigeon, schools are doing all they can to set work. (Heaven forbid a teacher should have a spare minute in the day that has been unaccounted for!)
Therefore, it is not the responsibility of a parent to suddenly start to try to teach long multiplication, explain how to tackle the extract question in Macbeth or come to terms with BIDMAS.
Doing more harm than good!
In fact, parents who have suddenly jumped to attention and begun to fulfil unsatisfied ambitions of being a teacher, and start to actually educate their children could actually do more harm than good.
Teachers are teachers and parents are parents they are completely different roles and it would be unrealistic to expect that a parent could fulfil the job of a teacher, pretty much with 48 hours notice.
If your child was still at school, you would not suddenly be expected to turn up at the classroom; lean over their shoulder and start to try and point out the child’s failings when it comes to the explanation of the origins of the First World War. So, why do parents think they need to micro manage the education of their children now.
I have been a teacher for over 25 years, and a tutor for 10 of those and the one thing I can guarantee you is – I have neither tutored nor attempted to tutor any of my children.
I simply don’t have the credibility in their eyes.
Within minutes, any attempt to step into the role of an educator lead to confrontation.
From across a room, they simply look at me disparagingly as if to say, ‘you really don’t know what you’re going on about!’
And in the main they are actually right.
I dread to think how many confrontations are taking place across the UK with well-meaning parents stepping up to the mark to try to become teachers to their own children.
What you can do is this:
- Facilitate study by providing an environment in which your child can have a break from their room and complete, independently work set from school.
- If they get stuck – contact the teacher, don’t start Googling!
- Help structure their day so that they feel as though there is a time for education; a time for leisure and free time.
- Reassure them that the work that they’re doing at home is keeping up the momentum and continuity of learning that will pay off in the long run.
- Try to avoid nocturnalism taking place by trying to instil reasonable bedtime.
Remember you are not homeschooling your child, you are facilitating the education that has been provided by your child’s school and that is very, very different.
Sharon Cawley is the founder and business owner of Conexus Tuition.
Sharon is the Franchisor of Conexus Tuition Franchising.
A teacher with 25 years service and mother of two children, aged 12 and 17 years.