So many children have been out of school this year for many months. As time goes on and family life changes unrecognisably from the start of the year so many parents are worried that their child or children are ‘falling behind’ in their education.
I get that. My son is due to start high school later this year and I absolutely feel the heartache that he had no end of term events to mark leaving such as a leavers assembly, parties, trips out and saying goodbye. He had no closure and didn’t get to meet the targets that were set for him just weeks before school suddenly closed.
His sister was the same too. An entire term lost, never to be repeated.
Home education hasn’t gone well despite my good intentions. My children are autistic and very ‘black and white’ thinkers so home is where they relax, unwind, play and watch YouTube. School is where formal learning takes place and the two rarely mix. With no peer motivation, no handing jotters to be marked, no face to face interaction with a teacher and no structure, even doing the set activities school sent has caused huge anxiety and tears.
I know so many families are also struggling too.
So, can I share with you a secret that has helped me so much? Your child isn’t losing out in education by being at home.
Does that help ease your guilt?
It should do.
Yes, your child may be missing out on formal curriculum but there is so much more to education than a nation programme of study.
There is so much you ARE educating your child on even if you don’t realise it.
Here’s just a few:
You are teaching your child resilience. While they may learn this consequentially in school what you are doing at home is showing them directly how to cope in a crisis by providing a safe, nurturing, loving environment to shelter and grow. When they face a crisis as an adult (which they inevitably will) they will look back on this season and have strategies to see them through tough times thanks to you.
You are teaching them that when the world is upside down, they can rely on the stability of family. That is something school can’t teach.
You are teaching them forgiveness, tolerance and patience by living as a family in close confinement for a period. This will help them through work situations they face throughout their life.
You are teaching them the importance of staying safe. The world is sadly a dangerous place at times and this period at home will help them see how vital being safe is.
You are modelling obedience and adaptability. In doing so you are teaching your child about following orders, the importance of submitting to authority and trusting others to know what’s best even when you are afraid and don’t understand.
You are teaching them love. Love within a family unit, love for your community and love for your country. By sacrificing for others, you are showing and teaching your child that life is about much more than their own wants and needs and that others matter greatly.
Mathematics can be caught up on, literacy can be taught by great teachers but what your child is learning through an unprecedented time at home in your care is something they will treasure for life.
Your child isn’t losing out on education being home, they are gaining skills for life from a teacher who is the most incredible person ever to them.