Blog: How to Win at Homeschooling
10 min read: If you're coping with homeschooling right now, we've connected with international life coach and Tony Robbins graduate, Mary Barrett, to check in on how she's managing it and what we can all learn during this time...not just the kids!
Are you pulling your hair out with the stress of e-learning? Are you turning into the overbearing parent you never wanted to be? Are you feeling tired with trying to motivate your kids to do it?
Last week after we listened as a family to the latest information from the Singaporean Prime Minister regarding the extended lock-down until 1st June, you could almost hear across the whole city the resounding thump of parents hearts hitting the floor as the realisation of another 4 weeks of e-learning is set to continue. Wine and beer bottles around the city were opened in unison as a refuge to commiserate the ongoing challenges of the relinquishment of freedom of movement, freedom of head-space, freedom of workspace. The light at the end of the tunnel had got further away and dimmer…
Honestly, the biggest challenge during this lock-down for me personally is having to be my children’s academic teacher, not a role I signed up for! I love outsourcing anything that is not my strength. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few glimmering highlights in the process for example, understanding more of how my children are taught in this digital age, understanding more about how they learn best, and understanding in more detail the subject matters that are being covered.
However, I have to admit that I am not enjoying or liking the person I turn into when I take on the role of ‘Teacher’ AKA The Shouty Mummy. I have found myself feeling so frustrated, impatient and hear myself continually shouting ‘sit down and concentrate’, ‘finish one subject first’ and the loudest and most regular one is ‘Please be quiet as I can only answer one person/question at a time!!!!”
After the next night when the kids were eventually in bed, I completed my WWW&W and I reflected on my not-proud-of-behaviours and asked myself the question, ‘What is driving me to behave like this?’ And I quickly realised it was FEAR based.
I have been imagining the worst-case scenario. I have been thinking that if my children do not complete their e learning:
You can select which ones resonate with you.
- They will be behind the rest of the class when they eventually go back to school
- Other Mothers/Fathers are probably spending hours with each child individually tutoring them to academic success – I do live in Asia and the Tiger Mum is real in all cultures!
- They will forget everything they have already learnt in school
- It will seem to the school that I do not care about my kids’ education
- My kids will think I do not want to help them
I gave myself a real talking to and I decided the following –
Again, you can tick any that resonate with you.
- At the end of this lock-down it’s really important that my children do not feel that I am their torturer and their feedback is ‘You are very strict’
- They are only 8 and 9 years young and being stuck in front of a computer to learn is very boring and more emotionally and physically challenging plus not having their friends to play with is hard to adapt to
- They are learning other skills like cooking, art and using their imagination to make up indoor games together
- I am not trained to be a Teacher, it’s a 3-year degree course so why should I expect to be able to become a great one in only a few weeks
- When this is all over how much actual ‘damage’ will be done to their education and how will it be measured in 5 months, 5 years, 50 years’ time – perspective is a good thing!
A recent article on home-learning featured on the the BBC news website provided the guidance that children do no more than three hours’ work per day. This depends on the child’s ability to stay focused. As a guideline (from Teacher’s Unions) 1-3 hours is sufficient. Professor Gillespie, in the article, says that ‘it’s much better to have a really successful hour where the child enjoys their work, then watches telly’ and if things aren’t going well and/or everyone is feeling cross pick it up tomorrow.
“Children won’t remember finishing that geography homework, but they will remember how it made them feel and what the vibe in the house was like” – Prof. Gillespie
I share my learning with you as I know many parents are feeling the same, but a bit like having Post Natal Depression or any Mental Illness we are encouraged to pretend it’s all okay and hide how we are really feeling. We try to avoid displaying any vulnerability and letting other people know we are not coping.
As the Vulnerability expert Dr Brené Brown says,
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”
Badasses Rule OK!
And as a result of my Mindset turnaround, I started to let go of some of the fears, and as I am only human I am still checking in on what is expected, reviewing work and answering questions but as Elsa sang in Frozen ‘let it go, let it go’. I have said Good bye to the unobtainable expectations I had set myself and said Hello to acceptance and e-learning sanity!"
Blog by: Mary Barret
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