Get up as normal. Have breakfast and get the kids dressed for the day. Set the tone by being ready to work at normal school time. It’s vital to keep the same routine even if everything else feels very strange.
Ready your workstations or study areas. We have had a complete reshuffle of our living space to make use of the room and to provide separate areas for the kids to work. I have three children, one doing an A level in Textiles, one in Year 10 and one in Year 8. So plenty of variation there: one needs the kitchen floor for screen printing, one needs constant supervision to ensure she stays on track and the other one does stuff I don’t even understand! Practically this means that the kitchen is an art room/printing space, the front room is a classroom for my youngest where I can help or keep on track of her lessons and the middle child is working in his room.
Remove all distractions! The PlayStation is unplugged, the phones are off, and the TV is banned. They can listen to music provided it doesn’t disturb anyone else working. This is the biggest single thing you can do to help the school day run smoothly. Take away the toys before the day starts and when it’s over reward them with the return of all their favourite gadgets.
Exercise and fresh air. Everybody needs to escape the school room at some point. Schedule in some exercise and outdoor time. We are very lucky to have a trampoline in our garden and room to run about. However, we will all be going out for a walk now and again to get some time away from the same four walls. We will, of course, do this as a family unit and observing social distancing and not meeting up with anyone else. My top tips if you don’t have an outdoor space is to find some online tutorials for whatever exercise takes your fancy. We have done Yoga, we do an hour of Just Dance and we love Zumba too. Guaranteed to put you in a good mood. Everyone can push the sofa back or move the coffee table and find just enough space to mess about in. If you can, go outdoors, take a walk or jog, get on your pushbike or find that skateboard in the back of the shed. Just thirty minutes exercise is enough to lift your spirits and refresh you. As long as you are practicing Social Distancing, exercise and fresh air are essential to your mental health and your physical wellbeing.
Meal times. Maintain the same times for breaks and meals as your children’s school. They are already used to this pattern and it will help. If you have the room, make sure they can come together at meal and break times in the kitchen, away from their study areas. It will help to break up the day and differentiate between work and home time.
Practical lessons. My youngest should have been cooking at school today. She wants to be a chef when she is older, and was really sad that she would miss her practical lesson. Everything she needed is right here, so why not let her get on with it? An hour later and we have some slightly chewy flapjacks cooling on the side. If you can, let them do the things they really enjoy in their timetable. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage playing football at lunchtime with my son, but I can give it a go, how hard can it be? 😊
Many people are realising that this is going to be a lengthy period of home schooling and coming up with brilliant online resources, tutorials and videos. The children’s school sent an email with their timetables to me, along with a list of online resources that we can access. Check to see what your school is advising you to use and make good use of them.
If you are out to work and the children are old enough to work unsupervised at home, then check in regularly at their break times to see that they are working well. Make sure they know what is expected of them and make sure you check to see if it has been achieved. We all have to wear our Teacher’s Hat during the day and then morph back into Parent at the end of the school day. We can do this. We’ve been multitasking since the day they were born, we are going to be amazing at this!
Finally, in recognition of all the hard work put in place in recent weeks by all school staff, I’d like to thank every single teacher out there, still hard at it. When all this is over, I’ll make cake and buy coffee for the staff room, as I will be so glad to have the kids back where they belong. In the meantime, I’ll be the one swigging from the gin bottle and muttering in the Futility Room whilst pretending to do the laundry.
Member since: 2nd March 2020
Slightly mad vintage sewing machine enthusiast, Paddlesport Leader/Coach. Mum to three teenagers, living on the edge. Runs slowly and walks quickly.