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13.04.20 – Jessica Laughton, Early Years Teaching Specialist
Homeschooling: a thought that on occasion has passed my mind, but certainly not something that I felt prepared to be doing now. I have two children, my son is three and my daughter is rapidly approaching eight months. I am fortunate enough to be a school teacher with much experience teaching the Early Years Curriculum (from birth to five years). You could be forgiven for thinking that this puts me in good stead for homeschooling my children. In actual fact, I find it presents a mixture of emotions and perhaps the biggest question going through my mind is, will this be enough?
Like so many children, my son is passionate about his interests and enjoys being at school with his friends. He has an exceptional imagination which is a real delight to see through his play. I recall his first day at nursery, he was so excited to go and play with the other children that he turned to me, smiled and kissed my cheek before going to investigate his new surroundings. As is the case with many parents, I find myself asking, how do I bridge the gap for him that has been left, now that we must all stay at home?
Such questions became somewhat of a dilemma for me. I began to reflect on my own childhood and education. I recall my fondest memories, of the adventures I had as achild with my family, and they didn’t necessarily mean leaving the house. We built dens in the back garden using the clothes horse, visited exotic destinations, and created new games to play together as a family (we even trained the dog to join in). In later years we sat around the table together to work, and this time was so very precious to me because we were together. Learning at home with the support of my family gave me the confidence I needed to go forward in life.
Now I’ve come to see that in the challenging times we face we also have an opportunity. To stand and reflect on what we have, to support each other the best we can. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve stood back and observed my children, how they interact and what their interests are. I am allowing my children to lead their own learning by following their interests and providing provisions where ever possible to support. We have made dinosaur worlds, become explorers in our own back garden and even become butterflies hatching out of a cocoon. My son is learning to count, recognising letters, numbers and shapes. But much more than this he is still exploring and learning about the world around him and his independence and vibrant imagination continue to flourish. I hope that in the future he too will be able to look back on the homeschooling and adventures alike with fondness, just like myself.