We’ve done two weeks of homeschooling and one week of Easter holidays. Like everyone else, we’re adjusting and some things are working out well, whilst some other things aren’t working out quite so well. I thought it might be useful to share on both of them, so you can benefit from our experiences…
What’s working during lockdown?
1.Know yourself cards from The School of Life
These cards are really interesting. Our 13 and nearly 12 year old boys like them because I say that we’ll do five cards at a sitting. Lovely Bloke isn’t as keen at the outset but once we start talking he gets into it. Each card has a question on the front and a short piece of text on the reverse, to help you flesh out your thinking and consider alternative ways to look at things. One that caused lots of debate was “What do you most regret so far?” and on the back, it talked about how regrets come about, the role of knowledge and what it could look like if we dealt with our regret differently – and discussed it more openly.
The boys are loving being outside in the fresh air. And so am I. We’re tackling the garden and it’s a great source of fresh air, exercise and making us work as a team. The boys have ownership in it because they are united in wanting more space to do circuits on their bikes. E also wants more grass for football and W wants more space to be away from us. Of course, I’m not allowed to post much of our active work on here because they’re teenagers and we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re taking down fences, digging out concrete posts and trying to keep calm when we stand on a nail whilst wearing a pair of crocs. Ahem. The only thing that is tricky, is that we’re not in the market for child sized digging equipment but the adult kit is still too big and heavy. If you see anything that might work for them please let me know.
3. Learning something new – Psychology
School work is considered to be rather meh for the most part. It’s not become interactive yet. I don’t want the boys to come to hate learning so I’m reverting to what I know – Psychology. My Psychology degree from the University of Manchester has been incredibly useful over the years and so I am using a book I bought them for Christmas as a starting point for our learning together. We started with a Psychology book which reviews famous experiments including Zimbardo’s prison study and quickly moved into debates about war and the treatment of prisoners as a YouTube video drew parallels between the two. We ended with talking about parenting and being teenagers and how easy it can be for parents to become entrenched in their behaviours especially with regards to control.
What’s not working?
1.The lack of a timetable.
We need a routine. We were doing so well, getting up and being dressed, breakfasted and dishwasher done for 9am, ready for Joe Wicks. From there, we’d get into our school work and do well until 11am, when I’d provide a drink and snack and 20 minutes of down time. from there we did another push of learning until lunchtime and watched an episode of Miranda with our food. From there it was tidying up the school stuff before we all dispersed to reunite with our previous phones and tech.
Right now E is getting up later and later, and W is getting up earlier. So we’re all out of synch for food and just as one person wants to do something another wants to wind down. The space is giving time for spontaneity – the riding of the bikes is something we wouldn’t have planned for. But mostly, it’s causing us all to bump into each other too much and spend excessive time on tech. I am thinking about what we can do that’s routine based but not a timetable next week.
If you have a routine with your troops, don’t give it up. Cling on to it as long as you can.
2. Food boxes.
I was so smug. I saw this on This Girl Can Organise and I really thought that would work well for us. Putting our snacks and drinks bottles into a box each day, to discourage raiding the cupboards throughout the day. I’ve just been to the rations cupboard and divided up a bar of chocolate when really, I should be marshalling us all to eat some soup, bread and veg for lunch. We didn’t even manage to stick to the contents of our boxes for one day. Is there anything that is working for you? We need to rein ourselves in.
We are all So Very Tired of Mum banging on about tidying up. I’m going to instigate 4pm – 4.20pm as a time for tidying up. Lovely Bloke walked in last night and I said we needed to have Domino’s for dinner – and that we needed to eat it in the car because I’d only just got the kitchen tidy and clean for the first time in days. I didn’t want anyone cooking or messing up the kitchen. I’m working through parts of The Organised Mum Method but the lack of engagement from the rest of the team means that it’s not going to happen yet. It will only work once Lovely Bloke wants to not spend hours cleaning each weekend with me and the boys. Then, when it’s his idea, it will be pushed through. I can’t do this one on my own. I can’t be the bad cop for everything …
I don’t know about much else that’s really not working. The routine and food consumption are the two things that we need to manage better.