My wife has now been in isolation in our house for 7 days, feeling poorly with a fever and cough, she is also a teacher and has been approached a lot of friends over the past week about best ways of teaching kids at home. She put out a post on Facebook that resonated so well with me and others that I thought I share it here (not something I would normally do):
Every household is different so what I’m about to say fits mine. Your kids are YOUR kids. No one knows them like you. My kids? Been through a lot of trauma in their little lives, and Covid is yet another potential traumatic experience. And no, we haven’t shielded them from it. This is the real world and like everything else, we’ve discussed it from the start. So for now... what’s going on in my house?
Want to play on Xbox with your best friend? Go for it. Normal rules for Xbox: 2 hours spread over the weekend only, there’s no Xbox during the week. Want to watch a film with sweets and crisps? Go for it! Not showered today? Not a problem! Want a sleepover with your brother? Enjoy! Want to sit in the car and sing as loud as you can? Love it. Obviously this won’t be long term but right now this is their ‘Easter holiday’ and if bending of rules means mental well-being I’m all for it. Yes, they’ve done the work set by the school but other than that it’s free game.
Now my closest friends will know I’m a bit of a control freak and to be honest, when they first mentioned the word pandemic I ordered enough school stuff in to create my own mini-school at home. What I didn’t foresee was being ill myself. And yet with no ‘teacher’ direction they’ve designed Easter eggs, written poems, written stories, baked, tidied the garden, composed songs, laughed, fought, played football, discovered new apps.
When you let children get truly ‘bored’ a part of their brain kicks in and they come alive. It’s called creativity. So yes we’re of course going to support our children’s schools and we’re going to get the school stuff done but it sits alongside a different type of education in this house.
Tell your children that in these challenging times you’ve only got £5 for food this week and that you need help planning and cooking meals for the week. Ask them to see how many different birds they can see out of the window and then decide which one they’d prefer to be and explain why (they’ll need to really research this).
Literacy today? Write the alphabet and give me a sentence for each (this will really show you where their mental health/worries are. My son Oliver’s ‘M’ was ‘Mummy isn’t well and I’m worried it’s Corona’. It meant I could reassure him). Write positive messages for the people where you live and hide them!
Tell them to build a boat in the front room. Begin to learn a different language. Lay outside at night and really look at the stars. What are they called? Why do we have shooting stars? Why is the sky black? Why is it colder at night?
Think outside the box and they will come alive and learn so much without realising. The future of our country will depend on our children being problem solvers, ultra-creative and having a burning passion for understanding the world around them.
I’m excited about today’s learning.
Let me know your thoughts. How are you coping? What homeschooling tips can you share?
Finally, stay safe. And always remember that we will get through this.
Bernard Marr is an internationally bestselling author, futurist, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations on strategy, digital transformation and business performance. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK. He has authored 16 best-selling books, is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his almost 2 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.