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Homeschooling Starts Today. Wish Me Luck!

Alex T

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 24, 2012
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I am nervous, I'm not going to lie. This is all so unchartered & new. My girls were devastated last Wednesday when told of nationwide school closures. Big, heaving sobs - it was very hard to stay so positive & reassuring when I just didn't know what to say.

But it's Monday morning, it's a new dawn & we are marching forward. The schools suggested timetable is 2 hours of work per day, an hour of which each teacher will set online every morning.
Our Monday to Friday timetable looks like this:

7.00am - up as normal.
7.45am - breakfast.
9.00am - 30 min PE Class (in the UK we have a fitness trainer called TheBodyCoach, who is kindly going live on YouTube each wk day with a fitness class for the children)
10.00am - 1 Hours online school work.
11.30am - 30 mins helping with housework (life lessons, right?!)
------
1.00pm - 1 Hours work from the school supplied homeworking pack.
3.00pm - 1 hours outdoors activities. This can be anything from gardening to riding bikes. We live in a very rural area, so whilst we're in official lock down, we have plenty of empty fields to mooch in a a large garden that needs weeding :Up_to_something:

I am keeping my timetable quite relaxed with plenty of gaps for a breather. As our Head Teacher said, all we can aim to do is keep their brains ticking over & their interest high. If they have days where they don't want to work, that's fine. If there are days where they want to do LOTS of work, that's fine too. We are not being expected to teach the curriculum over the next few months. My girls both read for 30 mins each night in bed during the week as well, which will continue. They know that until we officially hit a school holiday period, there will be structure.

It's 8.30am & we are all dressed in out PE Kits, ready to start leaping around the lounge.

Hopefully this will be easy. Fingers crossed!
 

kenny

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Huge kudos to you to take on such an enormous challenge, and opportunity!!!!!

I'm a tad envious; 5 years ago a neighbor's 13 yr old heard me play guitar and asked his mom (a close friend) to ask me to teach him to play guitar.
My answer was yes.
Now, he's almost off to college and we're still loving our work together!
It's still fascinating, challenging, and deeply satisfying for both of us.:clap:

A huge responsibility, privilege, and joy has been bestowed upon you!
Please do well by those kids.
 
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kipari

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Hi Alex,

we've been on the homescholing bandwagon with five children for a week now. In France teachers are keeping up the normal workload, which has proved challenging: this is not normal homeschooling, but we have had to adapt to a lot of different teachers' rhythms and ideas of homeschooling.

including tests ...


Our children have work for about 5hrs each day, so I'm occupied helping from 9.00 - 5.30 . Kids get breaks, adults not so much.

Things that have proved helpful:

A dedicated area in the home for work only, if at all possible. We have set up a classroom in our guest beroom.

Normal daily routine including getting fully dressed and starting the day normally. We even get out of the door to go to our "classroom" each morning. (need to go around the house)



I'd shift the main real work sessions to before noon. This works usually better, motivation gets worse the later it is.

I am doing the main PE lesson in the beginning of the PM work block. This makes for at least a 1 hour boost to tackle the PM ...


In the beginning the teachers thought it was better to give us a daily program, but as you already said: it's much much better to have a weekly plan, in order to plan ahead and account for the daily motivation.

What is helpful are punctual videoconferences with the teachers to keep the contact, as well as videoconferences amongst classmates to keep in touch (always under supervision to be sure there won't be any cyberbullying attempts). We have collectively decided there will not be any unsupervised whatsapp chats et.al. to be sure there will not be cyber bullyinig, which doesn't exist atm.

I tried to give room to music , PE , arts lessons as well. Children loved that I bought canvas and had them paint with acrylic colours to express their feelings.

instead of very musical units in music, we've started rhythm with drums. This is working very well to let out emotions.....

our curfew is much stricter, so no outings beyond our (big-ish) garden.

We also had special theme days to "travel" in our imagination... that was a highlight and they loved it...(topic ancient rome, I read stories to match, kids had costumes if the wanted (sheets = toga), made bone broth and said its an old recipe that gives strength and kept the legions going while marchiing all day... etc etc)

Good luck!!
 
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kipari

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PS: for my 8 y/o the kids are recording motivational messages to start the day, which are sent via the parent whatsapp chat. iI's a real pick me up in the morning. We've had a kid playing an uplifting tune in the piano, funny videos about kids pretending to sleep in, kids blowing the horn to assemble everyone etc etc... a boost to everyone's mood and motivation! Parents included
 

Alex T

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@kenny @dk168 @kipari @Asscherhalo_lover Thank you all for the encouragement & tips!

So far we're doing well. The live PE lesson was fun (but actually made me sweaty, so must have been tough on the kids!) & they've finished their online work & had an online chat with their teachers too. Now they're tidying the playroom as their chore for today, before lunch.

My youngest keeps bursting into tears. She doesn't like ANY of this at all & wants to be in school. All the reassurance in the world that it's not forever, doesn't give a 9 year old any real perception of time. It's pretty upsetting that her tummy "feels sicky" all the time & she can't see her friends or even accompany me to the supermarket anymore.

The whole world blows quite badly right now. But this will end.
 

kipari

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@kenny @dk168 @kipari @Asscherhalo_lover Thank you all for the encouragement & tips!

So far we're doing well. The live PE lesson was fun (but actually made me sweaty, so must have been tough on the kids!) & they've finished their online work & had an online chat with their teachers too. Now they're tidying the playroom as their chore for today, before lunch.

My youngest keeps bursting into tears. She doesn't like ANY of this at all & wants to be in school. All the reassurance in the world that it's not forever, doesn't give a 9 year old any real perception of time. It's pretty upsetting that her tummy "feels sicky" all the time & she can't see her friends or even accompany me to the supermarket anymore.

The whole world blows quite badly right now. But this will end.
I'm sorry this is so hard on your girl!!

Maybe enlist her good friends to make some cheerful videos...
 

missy

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Good luck @Alex T !!! I know no matter what you are going to do the best you can do and that will be great I know it. I am so sorry your kids are having trouble with this new (hopefully not too long lasting) normal. My nieces too are sad about it. Sending you all so many comforting hugs and well wishes and love across the miles. You rock @Alex T and so do your kids and you will get through this stronger and better than ever. (((HUGS))).
 

lissyflo

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I’m following along for tips @Alex T ! I think I need a slightly formal but flexible timetable, similar to what you’re doing - one son is expected to follow normal daily timetable and is receiving work for individual lessons from teachers in real time, which is working brilliantly so far. The other’s school... not so much, and sounds similar to yours with only an hour or so of tasks set each day (but took a fraction of that time today).

My two finish for Easter holidays this Friday, so I might let the youngest tread water this week and hit the ground running with him after Easter by planning some additional ‘work’ - pick a fun topic to research, some cookery lessons, maybe try some basic Spanish online and we can learn together. I’ll let you know any disasters or successes! I will definitely be implementing your life lessons/housework/tidying time slot - brilliant idea!

I really feel for your 8 year-old too. My youngest is just starting to register that he likely won’t have his last term in primary school, get to be a prefect, etc. It’s really hard on everyone but especially younger kids I think as their frame of reference is so small. Children can often be staggeringly resilient and flexible though, and you sound like you’re doing a great job at keeping a structure for them. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

Maria D

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I am trying to teach precalculus through Google Classroom. The learning curve is steep and we've had no training on "remote learning" (that's what our district is calling it) at all. I am amazed that my students are doing tasks immediately after I assign them, they must be starved for a connection to normalcy. Today we had our first online real time video session. It would have gone a lot better if I remembered to click the button that let's them see my screen, which was connected to my document camera. Instead, they heard me drone on and on about the ranges of inverse trig functions without seeing what I was writing. *sigh* Hopefully the afternoon sessions will go better and I can record one of those to upload for morning kids.

Also: If one more neighbor interrupts my walk by asking if I'm enjoying my "vacation" I am going to snap his neck!

Good luck to all you homeschoolers! Let's hope this doesn't last the rest of the school year. It came on so sudden that I didn't even have a chance to give a proper send-off.
 

Alex T

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I’m following along for tips @Alex T ! I think I need a slightly formal but flexible timetable, similar to what you’re doing - one son is expected to follow normal daily timetable and is receiving work for individual lessons from teachers in real time, which is working brilliantly so far. The other’s school... not so much, and sounds similar to yours with only an hour or so of tasks set each day (but took a fraction of that time today).

My two finish for Easter holidays this Friday, so I might let the youngest tread water this week and hit the ground running with him after Easter by planning some additional ‘work’ - pick a fun topic to research, some cookery lessons, maybe try some basic Spanish online and we can learn together. I’ll let you know any disasters or successes! I will definitely be implementing your life lessons/housework/tidying time slot - brilliant idea!

I really feel for your 8 year-old too. My youngest is just starting to register that he likely won’t have his last term in primary school, get to be a prefect, etc. It’s really hard on everyone but especially younger kids I think as their frame of reference is so small. Children can often be staggeringly resilient and flexible though, and you sound like you’re doing a great job at keeping a structure for them. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
I am definitely incorporating baking, as my girls love to do that. The lady that came to do the home baking lesson in February has been emailing me simple recipes that they can do by themselves, such as Oat Cookies etc. Yum!

Let me know if you find anything that is really good fun too! Yes, the timetable is a must for me to give them a little structure & reaffirm that this isn't a holiday. My teary child has perked up slightly this afternoon & has got really stuck in to the second portion of learning. She's now playing with her Barbies as we're done for the day. Good luck - us mummy's can do this!
 

Alex T

Ideal_Rock
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@Alex T , how did Day 1 go? Hope it went OK.

DK :))
It's not been too bad! The teary child perked up a little after lunch & I'm sure she will continue to do so as the days tick on. We went out for a little drive around just, so I could get my car washed & so they could have a change of scenery. We break for Easter in 2 weeks, for 2 weeks, and the school have said there will be no work set then as normal, as they have a no homework in the holiday policy.

Also, if I have to join them every morning for their PE Lesson, as they insisted today, in 12 weeks I'll be totally ripped!
Thank you so much for asking :wavey:
 

centralsquare

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I’ve been doing homeschooling and working for a week with elementary kids. It’s been rough! embarrassing moments at work when kids have disrupted me. Struggling with the various classroom technologies. Ugh

That said, I learned a lot my first week. Write some tips in a blog post here:


I’d love other tips and tricks to get through this!
 

HS4S_2

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I have homeschooled my four kids since my oldest was 13 and the youngest 4. The oldest 3 (21, 20, 16) are in University. They are home right now finishing their semesters online. My youngest is 15 and she is set to start community college course in August. We used a combination of online classes, book resources and hands on. It was harder in the beginning because I felt like I needed to be very structured and do it like they are in a classroom. We let that go pretty quickly and as soon as they finished their work for the week then we did other outdoor activities. They all pretty much finished with their schooling around 15 and then moved to community college. The boys graduated at 18 with associate degrees before going to their chosen Universities. I can totally understand your stress though because I thought I was crazy in the beginning and probably everyone who knew us thought so to :lol:. Good luck! If I can help with resources or anything let me know! I think you will all do great!
 

HS4S_2

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Here are a couple. My kids loved brainpop. We used international virtual programs and the kids enjoyed it.


 

Alex T

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Thank you for your tips! I feel the whole world is rooting for each other right now. As hideous as this is, I think it may have some benefits too, in reconnecting families, learning to appreciate them & spend time with them etc.

Having said that, my husband will be bringing home all his computer kit tomorrow, after the last few employees are set up at home & he locks the building. As much as we have always drawn strength from being Team T, having the 4 of us here 24/7 doing different schedules & activities, we may very well have to remind ourselves how much we love each other!
 

HS4S_2

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Thank you for your tips! I feel the whole world is rooting for each other right now. As hideous as this is, I think it may have some benefits too, in reconnecting families, learning to appreciate them & spend time with them etc.

Having said that, my husband will be bringing home all his computer kit tomorrow, after the last few employees are set up at home & he locks the building. As much as we have always drawn strength from being Team T, having the 4 of us here 24/7 doing different schedules & activities, we may very well have to remind ourselves how much we love each other!
I question my sanity daily with everyone back at home :lol:. Now that we are keeping everyone at home it's been a little crazy.
 

Polabowla

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I have 6 kids home and the school is assigning a rediculous amount of daily school work, that they will be graded on! You have to finish all the work every day.
My teens are working from 9 am- 5 or 6 pm (sometimes later) my younger ones till 2 or 3. Plus tests & reports
Yes I understand this is not a vacation, but I'm not a teacher!
It's waaay too much and stressing us a out.
 

Alex T

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I have 6 kids home and the school is assigning a rediculous amount of daily school work, that they will be graded on! You have to finish all the work every day.
My teens are working from 9 am- 5 or 6 pm (sometimes later) my younger ones till 2 or 3. Plus tests & reports
Yes I understand this is not a vacation, but I'm not a teacher!
It's waaay too much and stressing us a out.
OMG! That is the most RIDICULOUS thing ever! We are NOT teachers & neither should we be expected to be! It maybe different in the UK because all school exams have been cancelled, as opposed to postponed, and students will be assigned grades from their coursework results, test papers & teacher assessments. I think this hugely reduces the stress on us as parents. Personally for my children, they're being expected to do only 2 hours a day, plus physical exercise.

So all in all we're not faring too badly & I take my hat off to those of you who are having to deal with enormous pressure, on top of not being able to go out & work. We are on Day 2 now, PE class done live online again (they enjoyed it more today & I could see there were a lot more relaxed knowing how the day would pan out) & they've both sat at the table doing the first set of assigned work.

Please, please don't beat yourself up. You can only do your best, as can your children. I feel pain that your children will actually be graded on the homeworking they're doing - that's really tough. Make sure you look after their (& your own) mental health & they get some peaceful time outside.

We were put into full lockdown last night, with only essential workers, essential shopping & medicine purchases allowed. The weather is glorious & the birds are singing, but i expect when the weather turns bad next week, we will all feel a little more trapped & fed up.

Big hugs to you. Stay strong. You can do this x
 

missy

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I have 6 kids home and the school is assigning a rediculous amount of daily school work, that they will be graded on! You have to finish all the work every day.
My teens are working from 9 am- 5 or 6 pm (sometimes later) my younger ones till 2 or 3. Plus tests & reports
Yes I understand this is not a vacation, but I'm not a teacher!
It's waaay too much and stressing us a out.
That is just not right. Given the enormity of this situation the entire world is facing I would have to say please take the pressure off yourself. Do what you feel is reasonable and don't put yourself under that crazy pressure. First and foremost we all need to get through this and while it's important to keep the kids on a schedule and keep them learning the above curriculum is not reasonable IMO. Nor in you opinion which is the only opinion that matters for your kids. Life is crazy stressful right now and this amps it up to an unnecessary level of stress. Nope, no, no thanks. You are not a teacher and you can only do the best you can do. I do not see most families being able to keep up with that punishing education schedule.
 

Maria D

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I have 6 kids home and the school is assigning a rediculous amount of daily school work, that they will be graded on! You have to finish all the work every day.
My teens are working from 9 am- 5 or 6 pm (sometimes later) my younger ones till 2 or 3. Plus tests & reports
Yes I understand this is not a vacation, but I'm not a teacher!
It's waaay too much and stressing us a out.
Yikes, that is crazy! Curious, are you in the U.S.?

I teach high school and while I don't feel it's unreasonable for students of that age to spend 8 hours a day on school (6 hours in the building and 2 hours of homework), that much time remotely is really unhealthy - especially if much of it is in front of a screen.

Hopefully the teachers will burn out from trying to do too much. I know I've got to slow down my pace - I can't keep up the grading on my assignments! I posted a ton of stuff at the beginning because we had 3 days of no remote learning at all while teachers tried to figure out Google Classroom. Now I'm going to ease up and hold Google Meets where students can just join in and ask questions.
 

YadaYadaYada

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I'm just thinking all the little girls who loved to play school with their dolls and stuffed animals probably grew up to be women our age in this pandemic who wished they had played "ladies who lunch" instead. At least that's true for me right now.

Is it too early for a wine spritzer?
 

Alex T

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I'm just thinking all the little girls who loved to play school with their dolls and stuffed animals probably grew up to be women our age in this pandemic who wished they had played "ladies who lunch" instead. At least that's true for me right now.

Is it too early for a wine spritzer?
It's never too early for wine spritzer, though I'm guessing it maybe breakfast time there :lol: I had a cheeky stiff whiskey last night & may have a glass of wine later.

I'm exhausted already! For their chores today they spent an hour sorting & tidying their very messy playroom, then an hour pulling weeds with me in the gardens. We've just got back from a long walk through the fields, as we are allowed outside of our property once a day for exercise. We actually passed a couple of lone dog walkers & I'm proud to say, the girls automatically scanned the tracks for an area they could stand & wait in at a safe distance from the other people. They still shouted "Hello" though :lol:
 

YadaYadaYada

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@Alex T, yup that's what I'm talking about, a wine spritzer with my oatmeal lol! You are a hero to me, this homeschooling thing is tough, I lack the patience for it.

They do go out and play in the yard daily but it's so strange because there are no other kids outside, like nobody in their yards at all. It is eery!
 

Alex T

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@Alex T, yup that's what I'm talking about, a wine spritzer with my oatmeal lol! You are a hero to me, this homeschooling thing is tough, I lack the patience for it.

They do go out and play in the yard daily but it's so strange because there are no other kids outside, like nobody in their yards at all. It is eery!
I guess my girls are used to being alone to some degree, as there aren't a huge amount of people in our village & only a couple of other children, so when at home they don't really have anyone else to play with other than each other. I have always thought this was a shame, but now I'm glad this is how they've been brought up, as if they had a huge network of friends on their doorstep that they suddenly could no longer see, it would be another nail in the coffin for them, so to speak.

So I've had 2 glasses of wine this evening, and now I'm wondering if a glass of wine with lunch tomorrow would be taking it a bit too far. You and me, Steph. Raving alchies by September :lol:
 

Polabowla

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Yeah I complained (as did other parents) and we got more work. I'm very very upset.
(This is the type of school where 5 year olds get homework & projects to do so yeah it's crazy even without corona) .
 
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