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I've Taken My Kids Out Of School: Here's What I'm Doing As An Ex-Teacher

When I left the teaching profession eight years ago, I never thought for a minute I’d be back doing it again. Never.

But needless to say, I also never thought 2020 would see my two primary school-aged children no longer attending school because a pandemic had taken over the world and I was given the option for them not to go.

So here we are, the ex-teacher, teaching again (and for free) at home with two children are at the junior levels of primary school.

Coronavirus

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Although I’m only a week in, this is I am doing (and not doing) to get us all through this time:

Utilising resources

Why recreate the wheel? There are so many resources online and from stores like Target and Kmart such as handwriting and number activity books (if you can organise delivery) that you can get your hands on.

Even everyday objects from around the home can be used as learning tools. And they are a great help if you are trying to teach your kids at home.

Shona's daughters having an art lesson. Image: Supplied

Such as:

  • Toys like Lego -- fine motor skills and building
  • Play money -- counting and maths
  • Play Doh -- Art and creativity
  • Dominos and board games -- number recognition

Even toys or games inside like: Uno, Connect Four, Snap and playing shops are all great for numeracy.

Your child’s school should support them (and you) in helping them learn at home. Most schools are preparing for remote learning, so they will have suggestions and even take-home packs for you to use.

These pointers and packs are wonderful assets because they will include meaningful activities and types of learning at the right level for your child and relate to what they have already been doing.

Getting online

Having access to the online world is important to keep contact with your school while you are learning at home. It helps continue some sense of school community, but it is also an endless supply of resources and many are free.

There are lots of resources you can purchase or find online for free. Image: Supplied

While some of these are specific to primary and lower level primary, here are some great online resources suggested to us:

  • Reading Eggs
  • Mathletics
  • Alpha Blocks
  • Number Blocks
  • Sesame Street Podcasts
  • Storyline Online

There are also Facebook groups being created for parents teaching their kids at home you can join for advice, support and sharing of resources.

Their school may not have its physical doors open but they aren’t shut either. Your child’s school is still open, even if it is via the web.

Most will be planning structured activities or meetings with their students to stay in contact with their classes, for roll out in Term Two.

Participating in these is beneficial for your kids but their parents too so you can stay on the same page with their learning and ask questions if you are unsure.

Scrapping the schedules

It really doesn’t have to be a fully structured day like all of the colour coded schedules on the internet and social media might have you believe.

While they are good in theory, they are also hard to maintain, and as a super organised person who normally loves this sort of thing for her own life, I even find them anxiety inducing.

Shona's mum helping her youngest. Image: Supplied

Just try and do a few different activities each day to keep in engaging and as least stressful (for all) as possible. An hour or so of learning every second day is A-okay.

Remembering that learning can happen anywhere

Kids learn in many different ways so even going for a walk in your backyard can constitute learning.

At our house, we took out some coloured pencils and paper, went outside and drew pictures of our surroundings. I'd call this an art lesson.

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Have them explore the garden and it’s science and humanities in one. You could also have them count the trees, or palings on a fence and it’s maths.

Staying connected -- community is important

Although I have taken them out of school, they are staying connected to their school community through technology and also through the forgotten art of letter writing.

Doing this is so important so when it is time to go back, it doesn’t feel like they are just starting from scratch again. It keeps connections in place and spirits high.

And lastly, the best thing we can do in this time as parents is try not to put pressure on ourselves. This whole situation is far from usual for anyone, so just try your best.

Featured image: Supplied