As a lot of us are, I have adapted my working week to fit in with the closure of schools, which means I am one of the teachers (along with my wife) in the Woodhams home school! We have two boys, a 6 year old (Year 1) and a 4 year old (Reception in September) and my task on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday is to try and keep their education going in this crazy time.
I wanted to document this as I thought it would be good to share my experience and see if others would share their nuggets of wisdom from their experience.
Week 6 & 7
The last two weeks have seen the completion of our D & T project, our eldest boy’s birthday and a change to my working week.
The final product of our power tool expedition is shown below and although the kids lost interest a little bit towards the end it all turned out alright. We have all limbs intact, we have a functional welly store and everyone learnt something along the way!
Having one of our boy’s birthday during lockdown was a bit disappointing as we had plans for a party, seeing his mates and all the other fun stuff with family. Although this was not ideal we actually had a really good few days and the new Lego he got has given them lots to do during school days (I also love Lego!).
So my wife has now been furloughed, which means we are splitting the home schooling. When I say splitting, I mean she does the core subjects and I bolster the teaching team in the afternoon! We will see how things pan out with schools reopening as to whether my teaching skills will be required again!
The weather definitely makes a difference! We had a couple of rainy days this week so we didn’t get an opportunity to get out and our boys are like dogs, they need their exercise!
We spent some of our school days doing Design and Technology (D & T) this week where we have started building a welly store to go next to our front door. I feel like they have actually learnt quite a lot in between their scrapping! We’ve learnt some health and safety (power tools can be dangerous!), maths with the measuring and calculating distances, design with how the structure is going to be put together and it is obviously fun for them to do some sawing and drilling!
So, although it may be difficult to get materials, I can highly recommend picking up that project you’ve been meaning to do and tackle it with the kids.
Week 3 & 4
Wow, this has been going on for 4 weeks! We have settled into the routine of school days now and I think the routine is really important. Steve Watts shared an article that relates to this and I can totally appreciate how some form of routine during the lockdown helps me and the family.
So we had a chilled week for the second of the “holiday” weeks, but continued doing a little bit of school work along with lots of games and other outdoor fun. Week 4 we were back to it with an easy introduction building model castles from cardboard leftovers, I really enjoyed this, brought out my creativity!
I also had a look at the recommendations from Kabul Maharjan (OSMO coding) and they are definitely something I want to get for the kids, but will start them off on something that I have freely available to us first. This is Purple Mash, which I think is setup by schools, so not necessarily open to everyone, but I could be wrong, anyway there are some really good resources on there for really simple introductions to coding (and loads more). We have also been utilising some educational games on Top Marks, which covers ages from 3 to 14.
So Week 2 was a little more chilled as it is officially school holidays, but we thought keep going with some light school stuff to make it easier when the school holidays are over to get back into it, plus, there is not much else to do!
We found a couple of things that kept the boy’s attention pretty well (not just telly!). Firstly an obstacle course in the garden, we built one together the first time and then they built there own the next couple of times! We’ve been doing quite a bit of Lego, which is great to get the engineering brain going and I have found an awesome website for those moments when you can’t find that Lego piece, link here.
I also asked Jenny, my sister and Argenta’s Marketing Manager, to see how she was coping. I think coping was a good word to use! She also has two children, a boy in Year 1 and a girl in school Nursery. They have also been making sure they have a routine including assembly where they complete their daily chart of day, month and weather and a daily Lego challenge!
My initial thought before the first day was that it was going to be really hard! Following the first week, I have loads of words to describe it, refreshing, challenging, nostalgic, enjoyable, fun, frustrating and some of those words I did not anticipate!
We currently keep the morning relatively structured making sure that Maths, English and Phonics are covered. We do this with the assistance of the awesome teachers at the school, without them this bit would be sooooo much harder. So a huge thank you to all the teachers adapting to home learning and supporting us new teachers!
The afternoon is a bit more relaxed, we have a number of different options that the children can choose from. This could be building some Lego (fun for me too!) or doing something creative (making a comic is currently in progress!).
One of the most important parts of the day are the break times, keeping them at regular intervals to ensure attention can be maintained whilst learning! We also have some extracurricular stuff going on too, but I will save them for another post.
It is great to see them learning, dealing with their frustrations (this is one of the challenging bits!) and being successful. This could be as simple as them looking chuffed when they get a maths problem correct or for our younger boy, writing out a load of b’s.
I’ll keep this updated as the weeks pass and each week I will try and get some other home school teacher’s input. Please get in touch if you have any ideas on keeping boys of this age engaged whilst learning or if you want to share your experience!
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