Can you believe that we are in this situation yet again? I honestly thought that by not posting “2021 will be my year” we may somehow have had a better year than that of 2020. 2020 was that much of a shocking year that I refused to do my yearly lookbacks on here, after all, who wants to look back on a year filled with heartache and misery and overall a year that never really took off. There is no denying it, 2020 was an absolute shit show for everyone involved.
Shaniah was oh so ready for the school to resume on the 5th, deep down so was I. Sure I love having Shaniah at home with me, however, she is a child that loves nothing more than to learn, something that she finds I cannot achieve (insert eye-roll here), regardless of the books that I prime, nothing beats the school learning environment alongside her friends.
Homeschooling 2020 was okay, I was happier keeping her home as the school that she went to then, was not letting reach her full potential, and I felt that keeping her home and teaching her then was the way forward for her. Her grandparents noticed just how much she was flourishing over the months and with that we moved her to a new school, which I will not go into detail here as I have a dedicated blog post for that.
Her new school has seen her go from strength to strength, far quicker than she was even with me during the lockdown. I think having teachers that believe in you more than you do yourself, makes such a big difference. So evidently, it was inevitable that after spending a few weeks home for Christmas, that she would be eager to get back to school, back to her friends and back to some sort of normality.
On the evening of Monday 4th January 2021, Shaniah had been fed, bathed, and put into bed, excited to see her teachers and friends again in the morning. While she was led in bed dreaming of the fun she would be having less than 12 hours later, we were sat on the sofa downstairs eagerly awaiting the announcement that Boris Johnson was about to make. We all knew, deep down what he was going to say, even if we did not want to think it. I could not help but feel a sense of Deja-vu when he gave the announcement. Less than a year later we are back where we started, my heart aches for the children that have given so much for the older generations, they really are heroes.
Shaniah’s school was brilliant, they got in contact within hours of Boris’ announcement, and vowed to have online work setup by Thursday which, for a school who had just spent the whole of the day planning lessons for the term in school, it was incredible how they handled it.
Shaniah’s teacher set every child up on Microsoft Teams so that they could have class meetings in the morning to explain the work set out and then another meeting in the afternoon to see if any child had any questions about the work that had been set. After that, the days were handed over to us, for us to get the work done.
Over to you, mum!
I know that one stress I put on myself during homeschooling 2020, was the stress of being both mum and teacher, something that I personally could not do together, it was not that I could not, it was more that it wasn’t in Shaniah’s best interest to be all mumsy while also letting her learn. I know for a fact that I was helping her far more than I should have, and in all honesty, she could quite easily have done some of the sheets without me sat over her shoulder, after all, that is exactly what she does in school. She needed me to be the teacher and explain what to do if and when she needed it, but she also needed me to be mum and to back off and let her see the lesson through herself. This is something that I have noted and tried to do more of this time around.
Another thing that I noticed was that she HATED sitting down and doing all the days work in one sitting, I mean who could blame her when she is in her home environment and the Lego box and Roblox game was so nearby.
Like every parent, we learnt from last year’s homeschooling and vowed to do this one even better. I sat down and drafted up a timetable so that the lessons could be done in stages throughout the day rather than all in one lump sum. It has been a week and honestly, Shaniah is finding it far more enjoyable and less of a task when we follow this, it’s also given her a routine much like school did. As we have had such success, I thought I would share with you, our routine, just incase you too are finding this an issue.
9:30 – 9:45: Microsoft teams.
This is where Shaniah gets her daily briefing from her teachers and a chance to catch up with her friends. It’s a bit like the government’s daily briefs but without the negativity.
9:45 – 10:00: Get active.
This is just 15 minutes where I let Shaniah get all her energy out the way before committing to her lessons, I find that she is more willing to learn after doing this. Her go to choice is either YouTube yoga (her current favourite is Cosmic Kids yoga, which I have joined in with on numerous occasions. No shame), or PE with Joe Wicks whom she is very excited has returned to see the children through homeschool 2!
10:00 – 11:00: Academic time.
Shaniah is usually allocated English, Math’s and Phonics work every day and on occasions some other bits and bobs, so we’ve worked out that if we do two subjects in the morning and then two more in the afternoon, her brain span manages to cope.
11:00 – 12:00: Creative time.
I wont lie, this is just an activity to get Shaniah away from her working table and doing something that makes her smile. This can either be something simple like colouring in, baking, Lego challenges or crafting.
12:00 – 13:00: Lunch and free time.
I will give Shaniah her lunch, she will eat it then tidy her lunchbox (yes, I know, but she is obsessed with her new lunchbox) away, and then she can have free time to do whatever she wants like play on her iPad or watch the telly until the time is up.
13:00 – 14:00: Quiet time.
This is where I let Shaniah just chill out for an hour, she can, if she wants to, lay in her bed, and read a book or do some colouring, or watch a movie. It’s basically her time to unwind.
14:00 – 14:15: Microsoft Teams.
Afternoon meetup with her friends and teacher to discuss how the lessons went and where the children also have an opportunity to share any work that they have done which they are overly proud of.
14:15 – 15:00: Academic time.
This is where she does the last few worksheets which she has been set for the day, this is usually the phonics lessons as she finds them fun why not end the day with lessons which you enjoy the most?
15:00 – 15:30: Get active.
I dedicate this time to either a quick dog walk, it never lasts 30mins, as our dog is only a puppy or she will do yet more yoga before we call it a day on schooling.
So, there it is, our homeschooling timetable which works perfectly for us. Whatever it is you do, whether you choose to do all the work or just one piece, know that you are doing your very best in what is essentially a rather shit situation. And sometimes just getting up and keeping the children smiling is enough. Life is far from the way they know it and if all the child wants to do is feel secure in your arms, that is enough.