Wednesday, June 16, 2021

My Experience of Home-schooling Through A Pandemic

 *This is a collaborative post

Raja Workplace recently commissioned a study of one thousand children to find out more about their experience of learning from home during the pandemic and what returning to school has been like for them. You can find the results of Raja Workplace's survey here. Raja Workplace asked myself and Tyler to share our thoughts on our home-schooling experience too.

When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Even when I left school I had it in my head that I would do Arts in university, focusing on history and English literature and would eventually become a secondary school teacher. Now that I have experienced homeschooling through a pandemic, I'm quite thankful things didn't work out for me on the teaching front!

I only had two children to home-school, but that was challenging enough! I now have a whole new appreciation for teachers and the fantastic work they do.

Schools closed here on March 12th 2020 and I naively thought we would have two weeks off the world would go back to normal. Once April hit I could tell that things were more serious and the normal we once knew may never return.

I don't think I was prepared for the second school closures after Christmas and for the months that followed, but we got through it and there were some things which I really enjoyed about home-schooling my boys.

Their playroom became our 'classroom' of sorts and the little table and chairs in there because their desk for school work. The playroom is a bright and happy space and I wanted to keep it like that for them and display the art we did during our home-schooling time together.

We thankfully had all the equipment we needed to home-school effectively. We already had a plethora of books on a whole manner of subjects and these were great for teaching my preschooler things in a bid to get him ready for joining primary school this coming August. We were also helped by the interactive online worksheets that we took from a children's educational portal.

My older boy was sent home from school will all of his workbooks and school books so we learned together through them - it was an experience going back to speaking in Irish again!

I also work from home so we have internet, laptops, etc. so class Zoom calls were able to be accessed too. It was great when Tyler got to see his teacher and classmates on the screen. We missed sense of community that comes with daily school runs - both boys are at country schools and everyone is so friendly.

Tyler works better in a one to one setting and I really enjoyed giving him the attention he needs when it comes to completing his work. His class is quite large in school and he can be easily distracted, making it hard for him to focus, so having one on one time for teaching helped him to thrive with schooling.

Home-schooling allowed me to see what level he was at in subjects and what he needed more help in and I appreciated that. I actually miss that element now that he's back in school full-time.

Whereas, with Beau, I think he really needed to go back to pre-school to socialise and improve his speech with children his own age before beginning primary school this coming autumn. Sometimes, it was quite difficult to keep him entertained while I had to sit down and do a lot of school work with Tyler. Arts and crafts, books and toys were a real savior for him. He loves books and doing crafts, learning is a lot of fun for him.

Home-schooling gave us a chance to have slower days. Without the daily school runs (I do three in total each day!), we were able to have more free time and enjoy time outdoors learning about nature, etc.

The most challenging part of home-school for us was motivating ourselves to do the work each day. The children saw me as their mother first and foremost and at times didn't appreciate or understand why I had to take on the role of teacher, when all they wanted to do was be at school with their friends.

It's a time in our lives that I'll never forget and in some ways I'm grateful for the extra time we got to spend together - even though it wasn't through the best of circumstances for the world.

Raja Workplace put together this lovely video, featuring Tyler and some other children, sharing their thoughts and experiences of being home-schooled throughout a pandemic. I love that he's recorded his thoughts on video, to look back on a very historic time in our lives in years to come.


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