If you're in Australia and you have kids you would know those cheeky imaginative sisters Bluey and Bingo well. 'Bluey' is targeted at preschoolers and presents everyday scenes from a loving 'typical' Queensland home. All 3 of our kids ranging in age from 3 to 8 adore the show because it taps into the fun and play of being a kid in a family where the adults (especially Dad) support and engage in play. So it's no surprise that watching this show gives the kids ideas of games to play! Like dodging yoga balls down the hallway, playing 'keeper uppy' with a balloon, or pretending to have a magical xylophone that freezes parents.
But it's not just the kids that get ideas.
Screens hold a potent allure to our little ones. It's sobering to consider that screens will most likely be part of every day of their lives on this planet! But as an exhausted parent in need of a slow cuppa (or a scroll on our own screen) - what a tool for a reprieve. And when used in moderation, what a fabulous window into the world. Even today in social isolation we were watching penguins at the Melbourne Zoo and opera in Europe! With some very hard months ahead, I'm not going to write about the negative effects of too much screen time here, but instead share with you how we've chosen to navigate screen time in our household. And how our method has resulted in a cleaner house and kids kicking their personal goals!
Well we made it – week one is done. And what a learning journey for us all so far! I’m happy to announce that after many errors, much reflecting, and tweaking I’ve arrived at a loose daily plan that works for our family. This plan however does look quite different in action, as it would take too much energy from me to ensure everything ran like clockwork! Who needs extra stress right now? And this plan will only work for us – it’s NOT a one fit approach. Family life is so unique in every home. But maybe as you see what we do you’ll find some things you can borrow from. But there are some principles behind this plan, which I want to share with you, explicitly:
As we move along the 'pop up dining room school' journey I'm finding that appropriate resources are key to ensuring smooth and directed learning time. After some reflecting, research, reaching out, and trialling here's my current (and ever evolving) go-to list. May it be a help to you too! Keep in mind these resources have been hand picked for kids tracking at Grade 1 and Grade 3 level in Victoria with a 3 year old 'helper' over our shoulder.
It's day 2, and I'm beginning to wonder if the word 'homeschool' is helpful. I'm at home, the first word is right... but so far I'm not sure I would call it schooling. To be 'schooling' sounds ordered and systemised overflowing with measurable outcomes. To be 'schooling' sounds balanced and holistic with research driven nuances. To be 'schooling' sounds like boxes are being ticked and evidence is being collated. I'm not going to pretend to do what my children's teachers can do. No, we're not 'schooling'. We're 'home learning'. Learning what it means to be at home together. A lot. And learning at home with lots of mess!
After reflecting on my victories in my blog post yesterday I thought I'd better share with you my 2 rookie errors of the day...
So we've done it. Courtesy of a thriving super-bug threatening the silver lined of our species our fam decided to make the switch to keep the kids contained. It's a 4 prong decision for us (Australia's schools remain open), namely:
(1) The recommendations to ensure children keep 1.5m apart AT school - definitely NOT gunna happen with our bunch
(2) The availability and willingness of a parent to engage our children in educational tasks from home AND provide constant daily social monitoring
(3) The size of our school (>500) and the presence of the COVID-19 illness in our suburb
(4) The presence of elderly and vulnerable in our community
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