A week ago, I’d have considered this unthinkable, but yesterday we made the choice to withdraw the children temporarily from school to protect my own health and allowed me to be shielded from the Coronavirus (as per government advice for those with underlying conditions). Because we made such a quick decision, I was totally unprepared for how, where, what, everything! Fortunately, the children’s school was really supportive and sent them both home with their work packs so we had a good start. By the end of the week, everyone will be in the same boat, as it has just been announced schools will shut this Friday.
This morning began with one of my students, who is 5 going on 15, announcing that I’d ruined her day and that I needed to try again tomorrow (who knew you could do all that by accidentally stirring the honey into her porridge rather than leaving it on the top?) Luckily Daddy coaxed her out of her room, and we eventually began preparing the ‘school room’ in the conservatory. I decided that I wanted to be able to shut the door on it at night so we could have a break from it. In true school style, budget cuts are showing-the carpets are joined together with duct tape! (We had scraps left over from two other rooms, and I hoped it would make the room a bit warmer for us.) I’m just counting ourselves lucky that we have a space we can use.
Once we had set up, I was starting to get back in teacher mode after not working since last October. We went on a pencil hunt, set out the chairs and decided it was break time. The parallels between school and homeschool were uncanny, only two children there to have fruit and there was still orange peel on the carpet! Key Stage 1 teachers, I know you’ll feel my pain. We did, after I’d made my tea in a travel mug to bring some authenticity to my role (health and safety!) actually do some work. We managed to ruin the realsitic school effect slightly by having real Pritt sticks instead of ESPO special buy ones, but we are trying. They both did a page of their home maths packs, which I marked with a pink pen-I’m on a roll.
There’s been a fair amount of improvisation going on today- for example, we used the back of some plastic mats I’d bought for play dough as a board to write the date on for them to copy onto their work (because my inner teacher just couldn’t let standards slip!) We are quite lucky, as I have various things in the house for teaching with, but even so it could be a challenge resourcing the next few months and trying to keep some sense of normality. We only have limited A4 paper, so I remembered my paper budgeting tips from school and printed what I needed half size and double sided.
Today was pretty informal as the kids have emotional needs too after finishing school, especially my daughter as she was devastated this morning when she realised she wasn’t going to see her friend again as he is moving away. We took it easy, did a bit of school work, made banana bread using some over ripe bananas, and my son started the 30 day Lego challenge. My plan is to try and implement a more structured timetable so we all know where we are, and bring in some more activities to make sure our days are filled. I’m also determined that by the time school starts again my 8 year old son’s handwriting will be readable-I do like a challenge!
Other than a couple of minor scuffles over who was having which pencil, and rain meaning no outdoor play, today went pretty well. Ask me again in at the end of the week! Also, my stapler has disappeared. It really is like school…