Teaching Children at Home -My Experience

Whilst it is true Easter holidays are rapidly approaching, perhaps this is still a good time, to talk about education.

Please refer to previous post.

Many schools seem to be organising online classes. This is a fantastic initiative. If you are not in the fortunate position of being able to access online classes, I have a few suggestions, as to how to use this challenging period constructively with your children.

Please note these are only suggestions, based on my own ventures into homeschooling.

This is a terrific opportunity to really connect with children’s educational experiences. For myself I had just been leaving my youngsters to toddle off to university, assuming that their classes were their business now. Detaching from their education a little, has been liberating for me. Finally it has been about me and my life.

Source: giphy.com

or so I thought

This as we now know, has changed recently. Both my youngsters are now at home. I am thus getting to listen to their lectures and occasionally jolt my son, towards his studies. Whoopie😩

He is currently discovering a whole new world. Only yesterday he told me how much he was enjoying his new endeavours.

Nothing to do with his current activities, but in keeping with the animal theme here.                                                                                                                                          From giphy.com

Fortunately one of my goals (as both a parent and a teacher) has been to encourage, self-motivation.

Back when I was at university, I had observed that there were those who spent every non-lecture minute studying in their rooms. Then there were the party animals, perfecting their ability to fill every second with as much relationship drama and as many illicit substances, as they could sustain.

Apart from being subjected to second-hand marijuana-smoke coming from the room next door and encountering copious women visitors, (also from said room) I was pretty boring. It had taught me however, that we parents and teachers can only do so much. Unless we have encouraged our youngsters to be self-motivated, once our offspring hit their college dorms, nothing productive will happen.

Hence my efforts have usually been directed, towards showing my students and my own children that there is a point to education. It is not just some wicked scheme, designed to give parents some much-needed space to work or just generally chill.

With my own children I did this, by striving to uncover their interests and talents and following those.

My toddler son would be sitting balancing plastic bricks, until a wildlife documentary would appear on tv whereupon, he would sit up like a meerkat on sentry duty, giving the elephant, giraffe or tiger his full attention.

Yes this takes on a whole new dimension, in the current climate of social distancing.  Source:giphy.com

Then there were the plastic animals. It had all started with a gorilla, a lion and a giraffe, which I had bought as an afterthought one Christmas. It had then expanded until it had included a complete A(aardvark) to Z(zebra) of the animal kingdom. From there it had blossomed into wildlife dvds. All this had culminated in the , “That’s not a walrus. That is an elephant seal incident”, recounted in a previous post. 😶

I Am The Walrus – The Beatles

Playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for An Old Elephant

One of the first and most important lessons I learned as a trainee teacher, is the power of observation. It is an important aspect of any efforts to educate children at home.

I have just found this rather sad but thought-provoking quote from Spike Lee.

“It has been my observation that parents kill more dreams than anybody.” (I always had the poem by Phillip Larkin in the back of my mind. I even told my children this about parents. Mum was right, children do not come with instruction manuals.

My daughter’s not- so-secret fantasy is that she is adopted: (However I distinctly remember her telling us when she was little that she remembered being with God and that she had chosen us. I had just laughed and said, “Well you really screwed up didn’t you!” She told us she had lived in a white house but that we were her favourite family. Somehow it had evolved over time to us talking about her family down the plughole. I now understand other children talk in this way. She doesn’t seem to remember any of it now. I think I was very similar. (Come to think of it. The second film our parents ever took us to see was The Amazing Mr Blunden

Coming Around Again – Carly Simon


9 Times Lily was our favourite modern family character.


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