Our story and How "Teaching at Home" came to life
We have all felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in ways that we could never have dreamt possible as we entered the start of 2020. The most significant change was the total shutdown of our normal daily lives and everything we were used to changing overnight. The lockdown has had a profound effect on everyone, especially our children.
While we are sure that the older ones saw this as an extended holiday, many younger ones have had their routine thrown into complete disarray. As parents/grandparents/carers, we all know that the younger ones need their routine, don’t we!
Like many of you who are reading this, since lockdown, we have been homeschooling our 5 year old daughter. Teaching at home suddenly became the new norm. Her school are providing fantastic online help, employing various methods to help the children, the parents and themselves. As a family, we know we are incredibly fortunate to have such support from the school, as many children are not, going by the media reports.
For us, despite sticking to a daily routine, and having the spare room set-up as her classroom, the novelty of having mum as a teacher is starting to wear thin. Our daily teaching lessons can be compared to a roller coaster ride. It begins as a smooth uphill trip, following her lessons and learning well, then bam, we are going downhill at high speed with everything up in the air.
Nevertheless, with COVID-19 ever-present and lockdown for schools in a state of flux, it got us thinking about whether and where we could make changes. Any adjustments would not just be for our daughter’s sake, but for us as well. As the lockdown has progressed, an essential concern has started to arise – the lack of companionship from her friends.
A parent from our school put together a “thank you and we miss you” video for the teachers, using clips sent in on WhatsApp from the children. Our daughter eagerly took part and loved making her piece of the film. The problem came after she watched the completed movie, and asked when will she see her friends again? With our heartstrings yanked hard as she played the video over and over, we knew we need to do something.
Up and down the country many schools, classes and parent groups have joined together on social media, trying to support each other, sharing ideas etc. We are part of such a group which a majority of the Reception parents also belong. Time and time again, we see messages of parents doing their best to teach their children, following the school’s advice but feeling as though they are not doing it right. Worse yet, some of us are not understanding the detail of what we are being asked to do.
We don’t know about you, but we learned “A, B, C” not the phonics method, so at times we find ourselves helping our daughter write words in the way we were taught. The look on her face sometimes is magically curious, leading her to ask if we’re talking in a different language. Yes, the struggle to teach when not a teacher is all too real for many of us.
Speaking with a close friend [remotely of course] who is an experienced teacher, various ideas started to form. Now the concept of remote teaching isn’t new as schools who have the capabilities have been using this when they can. Indeed, it appears to be working well for older children where they will sit, listen and follow instructions. Still, large groups of younger kids is a different story.
We trialled a few on-line sessions with our friend and our daughter to see what would happen. So far, the experiences for all concerned has been positive. Encouraged by our simple tests, we started to develop things, by having a few of her year group joining in the sessions for short lessons in a small group. As an experiment, we tried different lesson durations, starting at 15 minutes and working upwards. We also increased the group sizes to find the optimum sweet spot. One that allows the whole group to learn, interact with each other (vitally important) and still be engaged at the end of the lesson. By this point, those involved think that the ideal arrangement has been found.
So, why don’t you try it yourself and see whether our e-learning “Teaching at Home” sessions will inject an element of fun and diversity in their lessons, whilst providing much needed guidance and support for the older age group.
We will be running some parent based classes to help with tricks of the trade when teaching your children. These will be general advice and guidance rather than specific to a given syllabus that your child might be following.
The key message we are conveying is that you are not alone, many parents are in the same position – we can all help each other to succeed, or more importantly our children to succeed!
Our Aims & aspirations
At Teaching at Home our aims and aspirations are simple and genuine
- Make an access to our lesson sharing platform affordable
- Ensure that you only pay for the lesson that you take part in. No strings attached
- No need to sign up for weeks’ in advance
- Provide a variety of subjects and lessons to choose from. Please note that to start with we are set-up for Early Years and KS 1. We are working on adding more classes for older pupils
- Provide a flexible platform so you can join only a lesson or subject that you need help with
Everyone at Teaching at Home invites you to join us on this incredible journey to make homeschooling enjoyable, engaging and fun for all involved.