Tips for homeschooling during lockdown

Sam Connor, who has been writing a diary for the #BeatCovidNE campaign.
Sam Connor, who has been writing a diary for the #BeatCovidNE campaign.

The associate assistant headteacher at King Edward VI School, in Morpeth, has been outlining life during the pandemic as part of the #BeatCovidNE campaign.

The 33-year-old said: “The first week of the new lockdown has felt like I’ve stepped back in time, to be honest. The main difference is we know what to do and what we can expect.

“Having that insight is great as it means we’ve been able to plan, but on the other hand, knowing the difficulties we’re likely to face is daunting.

“At school, I’ve been carrying out staff training to roll out the Innova lateral flow test. All staff in the school are now being tested every week. It’s been a huge challenge but we now have a smooth process in place which I hope will reassure both teachers and school staff.

“We hope initial testing will help to reduce the spread of the virus and build pupils, staff and parents confidence.

“On a personal level, the biggest challenge as a family with this lockdown is the weather. In the spring, the kids played in the garden and we went out for regular walks. To combat this we’re trying to make the most of staying in by planning fun pizza, game or movie nights.

“I know homeschooling is a challenge for many parents (including me!) and I wanted to share my advice as a teacher. First of all, if you don’t have access to broadband or a device, please contact your school. We’re here to support you and offer advice. Please don’t let access be a barrier as there’s always help available.

“Create a routine that reflects the school day starting with a good breakfast, breaks in between classes and most importantly, at the end of the day, put away the books. A good routine helps ensure we’re eating well, drinking enough water, taking breaks and creates a clear distinction between school and hometime.

“It can also help break down what can feel like a daunting week of work into manageable chunks.

“The key is to concentrate on what you can achieve, congratulate yourself on what you have been able to do and anything leftover can be picked up the next day. Yes, the work is important but not over you and your child’s wellbeing. We’re not expecting miracles from parents.

“Teachers are professionally trained and still, we’re figuring out how best to adapt to new ways of teaching. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You are doing a great job.

“I know right now, after such a challenging year, how tempting it is to allow our frustrations to get on top of us. We’re all fed-up of the situation which we thought would be better in 2021 but for me, it’s all about trying to pull out the positives. No matter how small.

“Whether it’s trying to cook something new, spending more quality family time together or finding a new walk in your local area. By staying at home we’re all helping to save lives.

“When we can see friends and family again I can’t wait to go out for a meal to catch up with everyone and celebrate. To go out on a big family weekend adventure and never again take for granted the freedom to go out and explore.

“Our very first trip will be to visit family in Northern Ireland on the farm. I can’t wait to see my mum and dad again and for the kids to get to hug their grandparents. Seeing them through a screen is getting tougher and being able to be together face-to-face again is going to be a special day.”

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