This is from one of another primary school.......long winded, but very encouraging
Dear Parents and Carers,
Lots of people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and under pressure by everything that's happening. This includes the work being sent home for your child. I wanted to just give my perspective on it all as a Headteacher and I hope this can help with that somewhat.
A few points to note first:
1) This is not homeschooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting on the whole world. Let's keep perspective. Homeschooling is a choice, where you considered, you plan for it and you are your child's school teacher in whatever form you choose. This is, at best, distance learning. In reality, it's everyone trying to separate their bums from their elbows, because none of us know what we're doing and what's right and wrong here.
2) You are, and always have been, your child's primary educator. If you decide that your child isn't going to engage with anything sent home and is going to spend the entire period playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, then that is your choice. That is your right. There is nothing to stress or feel guilty about.
3) Schools don't know what they're doing either. They had no notice, no preparation time and we were NOT told to 'continue to plan lessons as normal and just send them home' – that’s NOT possible. If it were, we'd all be out of a job!
4) It is absolutely not possible to facilitate distance learning with a primary aged child and work from home at the same time. The very idea is nonsense. If you're trying to do that, stop now. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but your focus is your job, and survival. Again, unprecedented. Stop trying to be superheroes.
So, a few FAQs:
- My school has sent home lots of physical work. Pages and pages, hours and hours. How am I supposed to get through it all?!
You're not, don't try. Your child's teacher spent a couple of hours in utter panic gathering things to send home so they could say they did their best and there wasn't a lot of complaints that enough didn't go home. It's not a competition, or a race, it’s unlikely the teacher will even manage to look at it all.
- My school keeps sending home links and emails with more work. How do I make it stop? Ahhhhhh!
See above. These are suggestions and ideas because the school is worried they're not offering enough. Use them if they suit you, don't if they don't suit. If you're getting stressed, stop opening the emails. No one will know!
- Someone in my child's class has everything done and we've barely started. Will they fall behind?
Even if everything were equal in terms of support, time and number of children (which it’s not) all children learn at different rates. In the class there's a wide range of levels in all subjects, there's different paces and there are many children working on differentiated levels of work. It's almost impossible for teachers to differentiate at the moment, so you don’t have to do it either.
Your child will not fall behind. This is all revision and reminder work. If children could all learn new concepts without specific teaching, we wouldn't need teachers. They will cover all of this again, multiple times.
- I'm not doing any work with my kids. All they're doing is building Lego, cooking and playing outside.
All of this is learning -very valuable learning. Give yourself and them a break.
- How can I get three different lots of work done with 3 different kids of different ages?
You can't, stop trying. If they're old enough, try to get them to do little bits independently. Otherwise try to do something they can all engage with, reading a story together, some free writing, baking etc.
- So what's the bare minimum you'd expect?
For me, survival mode. I won't pretend that may be true of all teachers, but you know what?, if they can't have perspective in a time like this then I wouldn't overly worry about their opinion anyway.
My ideal for the children in our school?
You are doing enough. You are loving your kids and supporting them through a difficult time.
Look after yourself. Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don't let this be something that stresses you. Only you can control that by accepting it is in your circle of control, you are the primary educator and this is all your call.
*Apologies, this post is much longer than anticipated! *
Please read the above message before feeling swamped at the things on here.
Lexia.com for reading and phonics help whilst this is available
Alphablocks episodes for revisiting and learning individual sounds (phonics). Programmes are available on BBC iplayer and through the link
Phonics Play are offering free access to their phonics games and learning using the Username : march20 and the password: home
Numberblocks episodes for revisiting and learning numbers available through the iplayer and the link
Please also encourage children to read everyday. Below are some additional free websites that provide ebooks that you may want to try. Parents will need to create a free log on to use these.
If you have been provided with a High Frequency Word list (HFW list) please help your child, each day, to read an additional 5 or 10 words. Please work down the list rather than across. This can be a great boost to help your child’s reading.
Please encourage your children to practise handwriting for 5 to 10 minutes each day.
In addition, children also have an exercise book that they can use as a journal or for any writing of their choice.
Further Useful Links
Twinkl is a comprehensive site for all classes and all subject. They are currently offering free access to parents when you create your own parental log in. They are currently working together with the Cbeebie GO Jetters on some resources. As we spot particular resources teachers will let you know through Class Story on Class Dojo or through Tapestry for Nursery and Reception.
Stay at Home Story Time
The outstanding author Oliver Jeffers is reading his books aloud for children to enjoy at 6pm most days. Details can be found on his facebook page, through Instagram live and recordings can be found at https://www.oliverjeffers.com/books#/abookaday/
Audible are streaming a vast selection free books and stories for children for the duration of school closures.
We are teachers have a list of authors reading their books to children.
Scholastic (who supply our book fairs) have learning packs for different key stages to download. You may need to enter home learning packs in to the search box,r of Code
White Rose Maths are providing excellent home learning that provides a video and lesson for the maths curriculum that each class would be following. They can be used at anytime but between 10-11 each week day they are on hand to answer questions from you or your children. They have been overwhelmed with interest today and suggest downloading the worksheet and answers the day before the session to level out demand for the 10am session.
I See Maths is another excellent maths resource that has created home learning resources to challenge children during this time to use their problem solving and reasoning skills. The lesson includes a video that gives a clear model that can be used to help children to solve the problem.
Hour of Code is an excellent free resource for children to practice coding skills using a vast range of contexts including Frozen, Star Wars and Minecraft.
Joe Wicks is leading a morning workout at 9am every weekday. 800,000 users joined him on the first day. We have all done it this week and to paraphrase Shakira 'The hips don't lie'. Join him on youtube on his channel The Body Coach TV.
Science can be accessed through STEM learning. They have a range of short projects (up to 2 hours) and longer activities all designed for home learning.
Explorify also has a good range of Science activities including odd one out and zoom in photos. You will need to set up a log in but this free.
French can be learnt through duolingo
Local legend and artist Pete Mckee started drawing sessions for children home schooling on
Wednesday 25th March
Mylene Klass is starting to teach basics in music during this time. Some of this may include using a piano.
BBC teach is always free and has an array of resources for the whole curriculum.