Dear Badgemore Parents,
The government has now announced that schools will close for the majority of children in the England.
As the headteacher of Badgemore Primary School, we have been preparing for the possibility of Home Schooling for several weeks. Everyday is precious in a child’s education so as a school we have organised activities to maintain learning in the next few weeks.
On Monday 16th March, my youngest son was sent home from school due to a ‘new and continuous cough’. At the time, I knew that this meant that he would be self-isolating for 7 days and I thought that his self-isolation would hopefully stop anyone catching his ‘cough’. By 5pm, I had heard Boris Johnson stating that if one family member had a cough, the rest of the family had to isolate for 14 days too.
I would like to say a personal thank you to the Badgemore staff team who have been amazing to keep the school running and for the support from the community which has been overwhelming. We should be able to stay open until Friday and then comes Home Schooling.
Having now had the experience of family isolation and therefore Home Schooling, I have to admit that it is not easy. However, if we support each other, problem solve issues that arise and share creative ideas, we can manage this time and support our children’s continued learning.
The challenges faced:
- Getting the children off their screens to start the learning activity
- Finding out what is expected in each task with the pressure of your child sitting next to you
- Helping your child to stay focused whilst you are distracted by all the jobs that sit undone around you
- Suddenly realising that your child is using your computer whilst work emails are pinging in and will go unanswered until the home schooling session is completed
- Coming up with exciting ideas to move away from screen-based and paper-based learning
- The guilt of not being there to support your child when you know that you have to do work
Some possible solutions:
- Agree a time table which includes independent learning, creative and physical activities.
- Encourage your child to get dressed every morning.
- Briefly read through the learning activity before your child arrives to the table so that you know what is expected.
- Plan in some time for the children to do some child-led learning otherwise known as playing.
- Think creatively – we have a family goal of using the exericse bike to cycle 531KM in the next 13 days: the distance from Henley to Paris. There are 58,070 steps up Mount Everest – you could set your family to do a stairs step challenge.
- Think about life skills that you could teach: measuring using a weighing scales, breaking and whisking an egg or how to load up and turn on the washing machine.
- Access the support offered from the school – teachers are available from 10-11am and 2-3pm Monday to Friday by email (see class pages for contact details)
- Focus and praise your child’s effort – consider how hard your child has worked on a task rather than focusing on the outcome. Praising effort means that children are more likely to engaged and push themselves next time.
- Motivation is a challenge so the school has extended the team point (TP) system into the home. Each day a maximum of 5 TP can be given to celebrate effort that your child has showed when tackling one of the home schooling tasks. Each week, your child’s TP need to be shared with the class teacher so that these can be count and recorded. The winning team (Amazon, Daintree, Sequoia or Sherwood) will be thrown a party to celebrate the victory – each child will be able to invite one adult to party with them.
- Remember that we are in extraordinary times and that we can all only do our best.
A teacher of 12 years and now headteacher who struggles to teach his own children without getting frustrated.