Remaining responsive during coronavirus

Or as we say in the Black Country… Yow Con Do It! 😉

 

In this blog, we share some tips and tricks from our very own Wellbeing Manager (and mum of two) Kerry B. Mitchell, on how parents can manage the difficult task of homeschooling, and ensuring they protect their own mental health and wellbeing…

 

Let’s take a look!

 

“The pandemic has certainly been a learning curve for all parents and has meant that we’ve had to wear many different ‘hats’ — being parents, teachers, colleagues and more.

 

With our usual routines coming to an abrupt halt, it can leave many of us wondering how to keep things as normal as possible for everyone at home. What should we teach our children? Should we encourage them to learn at the same time each day? How do we know if we’re doing a good job? And if we’re still working, how can we juggle childcare, their education, and our own workload?

 

I’ve been tearing my own hair out wondering how I’ll manage that balance. I’m no Coco (showing my age, he was the most famous clown in the UK!). The thing that I must keep reminding myself is that homeschooling is temporary — and thank goodness for that!

 

Until our fantastic teachers can pick things back up again, we must make do the best we can as parents — and not be too hard on ourselves if we feel like we’re not doing a good enough job at keeping things normal. Things aren’t normal for any of us right now.

 

So here are a few tips to give you a break, join in on the learning, and more importantly, help you relax into it all a little…

 

  • Buddy Up | Encourage children to maintain online social contact and plan in learning with one of their friends from school. This can help to maintain the association they have with their school, and it injects some fun into their learning and gives your child a buddy to learn with. It doesn’t have to be every day, perhaps even once or twice a week. Whatever works for your household set-up.

 

  • Children’s Evenings | No, not parent’s evening as you’ve come to know. Flip it on its head! Instead of us as carers or parents giving feedback on our children, why not give them the chance to tell us how their homeschooling is going. What would they like more of, what they’d like less of, and how they’ve felt the last couple of weeks have been. The idea, I’m sure you’d agree, could inject a little more fun and humour, and right now, we all need that. So, look forward to parent’s evening with a twist and good luck with the feedback!

 

  • Core Subjects | If you’re not teachers by trade as many of us dealing with this new situation aren’t, this is OK. Give yourself a break, grab yourself a brew and make BBC Bitesize your children’s new best friend. I hadn’t got a clue about timetable grids — I went to the school in the 80s and things have changed quite a bit. So, take it in turns being the pupil and teacher — my girls love relaying what they know and teaching me too. It’s fun and the point is that we’re helping and teaching each other. They are much smarter than we sometimes realise, and I love being guided by them.

 

  • The Lessons | How long does an average lesson last? My daughter, who’s in year 6, tells me they’re only five minutes (of course!). On average though, it’s about 30-45 minutes per day so with this in mind, focus on the fact that ‘yow con do them core subjects’ and they can be as long or short as you think best — remember, it’s a very different learning environment than they’re used to, so why not make it personal to you both.

 

  • Use Resources | For Humanity lessons, I recommend looking at Horrible Histories and The Blue Planet on YouTube or TV. They are great resources which are free and provide so much information, especially if you want to add some more variety to their weekly timetable. It may not be a ‘core’ subject but they’re still learning and developing, which is all we can encourage during this time. There are so many other resources available online, so do a little research to see what you can include in your weekly schedules.

 

  • Bring Learning to Life | For science lessons, making mess and bringing ideas to life can go a huge way in sparking their learning and imagination. If you’ve got bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in the house, you can make some exciting things such as a Baking Soda Volcano. Have a look on YouTube and see what you can create together. Do test their knowledge in the process, such as what compounds are in bicarbonate of soda and why it creates a volcano. If you’ve got any photos, we’d love to see them – simply tag us on Twitter @MyPaycare!

 

  • Have Fun | Teaching doesn’t have to be all focus, focus, focus. Make it fun, hug those kiddies and make some memories during this time that you’ll look back on and say ‘at least we learnt to laugh while we learn together’.

 

And my final piece of advice for all of us parents learning throughout this whole process too, is to remember that our best is absolutely enough.”

Wow – thanks for sharing those tips Kerry! It looks like many households are going to be having a lot of fun over the coming weeks! 😊🎒👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

 

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For more information or for the latest coronavirus updates from Paycare, please visit https://www.paycare.org/coronavirus/ 🧡
Check out more of our latest health tips for you over on our blog, by visiting https://www.paycare.org/about-paycare/blog/ 💻