2020 has flipped the script of our lives unrecognisably, with our children adjusting to new and unfamiliar routines. Many of our children are itching to get back into the classroom, which is generally pretty unheard of at this point in the academic year.
Bouncing back after lockdown.
At this time of year, all of our thoughts are generally turning to the summer holidays. Usually, at this point, we are all beginning to look forward to spending time with friends and family or to take a trip that is the highlight of our entire year. 2020 has flipped the script of our lives unrecognisably, with our children adjusting to new and unfamiliar routines. Many of our children are itching to get back into the classroom, which is generally pretty unheard of at this point in the academic year. But, for most, this is not an imminent prospect [at the time of writing].
As parents, many of us may feel understandably anxious about what lies on the other side of our children’s unplanned-for period of home-schooling. The fact is that our kids are, in fact, remarkably resilient; it is true to say that our children bounce back from challenging times faster and with greater ease than we do as adults. This has been an exceptional and unprecedented time, in which children have been through lockdown, not just in this country, but across the world. There is power in the collective experience. We need to be reassured that our kids’ schooling can, and will, return to some semblance of normal sooner or later.
Taking baby steps back to ‘normal’…
Whenever the day comes that children don their uniforms once more, there’s no doubt that it may take some time to get back into the swing of things again, for parents, teachers, and children alike. We can ease our children back in with oodles of encouragement and we can allow them to talk through any fears or worries they may, quite naturally, have. Their academic progress may be affected, especially in the early weeks back at school, but rest assured, our children WILL get back on track.
We must trust…
We may worry that the coronavirus lockdown period represents a significant setback in the broader picture of our children’s education, but our teachers and tutors are more than capable of helping our children to return to making their ‘expected' progress. School staff are dedicated to improving the lives and prospects of our children. We must trust in their professional ability to equip our children with the tools and support they’ll need to continue their learning journeys.
Let’s set some goals…
The idea of setting goals when life is at a standstill may seem counterintuitive, but it’s anything but. During the lockdown learning period, we may have learned for ourselves just how and what our children are learning. We may have gained insights into areas in which they struggle or show strength. This information offers us an opportunity to set goals with them, based on the knowledge we’ve gained as parents during this time.
Easy does it…
We can, gently, work on any topics which challenge our children and balance this with their favourite activities and plenty of encouragement. We can celebrate with them and reward time spent studying and concentrating with dedicated playtimes and our undivided attention. The technical term for this approach is ‘positive reinforcement’; it teaches our children resilience, by rewarding their efforts to focus and improve their skills. Developing their ability to self-improve, with constructive support, our children learn to flex the learning muscles which will lead them to succeed, in all areas of their lives.
They show us what they are capable of…
It’s so easy for all of our attention to be drawn to the negatives of the situation we’ve found ourselves in. However, we must look more closely at how our children have reacted to this period of adversity. We’ve seen children decorate their driveways with chalk rainbows, display banners of thanks for our carers’ commitment in their windows, fill jam jars with wildflowers for elderly neighbours. All this, despite the many difficulties they may have been facing themselves, the being separated from their nearest and dearest, the missing out on birthday parties, holidays and treats. These circumstances have been necessary for their protection (and that of others), but they have, without doubt, been challenging to experience. Yet our children have responded with gratitude, empathy and more immediate awareness of the world that exists beyond our doorsteps, even as they have been confined.
Kids are a resilient bunch. They’ve been brilliant at lifting our spirits and they’ve looked on the bright side in the most challenging of situations. As their routines return to ‘normal’, we will see their resilience revealed in how they make the same level of effort back at school.
We need not worry…
Parents up and down the country, and indeed around the globe, are feeling these feelings, but we can dial down our worry by taking each day as it comes. When there’s so much that is beyond our control, we can talk with our children about how we are all feeling, how all the feelings we feel are normal, and how they are shared by many.
Ultimately, most parents are parents, not teachers. Children will catch up and schools will address any aspects of the curriculum that may have been missed. Our experiences of lockdown homeschooling may have varied widely, but not one of us is an island. Our children have been the first to remind us that we all have a level of resilience we might not have even known we had. We are all in this together; our children might just be the experts we need to look to for lessons in bouncing back.
To reserve your September 2020 place, call 01924 829477.
Stay well, stay connected, stay informed, Siobhan