My eldest two have been given work every weekday since lockdown started, which is great and really appreciated. I know it's been so hard for the teachers throughout this, and even more so when you are trying to teach children over the internet with videos, activity ideas, and worksheets. So don't think for one second that all of their hard work isn't appreciated, because it truly is. My children's teachers are amazing, particularly my boy's reception teachers - truly amazing human beings. But it just wasn't working for us.
We tried it for a few weeks, they did all the work set - but they weren't happy. It wasn't the right learning environment for them, it wasn't the right way to learn, for them. We switched it up by adding more creative or experimental activities - but it still wasn't quite right.
So I decided to take it all into my own hands. I found out all about the curriculum, and the things my two needed to be learning right now and sorted it out myself. We've been choosing our own topics each week, so they are learning about things they enjoy and have chosen themself - while learning all the things they need to know.
The weekends have become my time to plan their learning for the week, combining our topic with the curriculum - even creating worksheets, videos, games, and activities for them too! Plus coming up with science experiments or craft activities - all themed of course!
This experience has given us the opportunity to focus, one on one, on their strengths and weaknesses. They take it in turns too, one piece of work at a time so they have my full attention. It's given me the opportunity to focus on my boy's writing, pencil movement, and writing letters and numbers. My eldest girlie's reading has improved so incredibly much throughout this, she's even started reading Roald Dahl books in bed, by choice.
Plus, they love talking about all the things they have learned recently. What the moon is made of, how we have day and night, the names of the planets, the biggest animal ever to have lived, how sea turtles lay their eggs, or the fact that male seahorses have the babies! How many teeth a shark has, or the fact that Pterodactyls aren't technically dinosaurs. It's so inspiring to watch them take in all this knowledge and want to talk about it for days afterwards!
Another thing I've noticed is they are really really loving all the science experiments and craft activities at the moment. We've been trying to do a few craft activities and at least one science experiment based on each topic and they really enjoy it. Just watching them sitting at the table with a bunch of random art supplies, armed with scissors and glue - they love it! And it makes me happy!
It's a lot of work, it really is - but the improvement I've seen is huge. Again, their school teachers are incredible, hardworking, inspiring people - but this is really working for us right now - and if I'm being honest, I'm thinking of continuing this longterm. After lockdown. We'll have to wait and see.
How have you been getting on with lockdown learning?
I thought I'd just quickly add some of the great websites I've been using over the past few months.
Twinkl - for printable worksheets, curriculum ideas, and themed books
Oxford Owl - a big selection of reading books, organized in levels, age or phases
Pinterest - for all the craft or science inspiration
Canva - perfect for creating worksheets or posters