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home educating and working from home
So... it seems the whole country is now "home schooling"! 

For many business owners that means completing your own days work at home while also managing the education of your brood of children or young adults. If that sounds terrifying ??" (yes we know it does!) read this blog from two seasoned home schooling parents Stu and Jemma -  you may be surprised!  

Stu: "My children are both home schooled. But before we get started, it's not "home schooling", it's home education. If you try to replicate school, you and your kids will find the experience deeply frustrating and stressful. Think about it as home education, you are simply educating at home. 

Here's why "Home School" may not work for you and your children... 

School runs to a timetable and a curriculum, ditch it. Seriously. Schools educate to the median schoolchild and so progress is at a certain pace to allow them to deliver a curriculum with an exam at the end of it. Who said that was the best way to educate children?  

A standardised test is only going to work if you have a standard child! And I am sure your kids will have individual skills, abilities and interests, so let them show you what those are. 

Initially mass public education was set up in the 19th century to allow industrialists owners to have a source of semi-literate labour they could train for specific semi-skilled jobs. Some options had gender restrictions or at least expectations. It was like that until quite recently, back in the 1980s when I was asked to submit my "options" I chose typing. I felt it would help me with my interest in computers but I was not allowed, typing was "for girls only".  

Thankfully we live in more enlightened times now, we've realised that  teaching certain subjects to specific genders isn't progressive but all children still have different skills, abilities and interests. Why then do we teach all subjects to all children, when the workforce requires many different skills. The same basic literacy and numeracy is useful as is a general understanding of certain topics but at some point, usually in early adulthood, we pursue an interest as a career. If we're lucky we get to continue in our careers and spend our working life doing something that is needed, that we love doing, and that we are good at. 

So I would suggest you take this time to learn from your young learners, understand what they are good at, what they hate and where their passion lies. Time spent now finding out what truly engages them, makes them happy and gives them a thirst to know more is going to be more productive in the long run than following a specific curriculum worksheet. 

As adults we don't randomly start to learn stuff "just in case", would you start learning architecture because you may, one day, want to build an extension? Also we do not learn in discreet topics, knowledge is retained when it is linked to previously gained knowledge.  

Trying to learn something goes in much better when it is linked to something you already know. If your young learner is learning maths but hates it then find a topic they love and weave in maths. Home finances, maths, time and distance all can be woven into a day through household budgeting, cooking and planning journeys. 

I was taught mental arithmetic by my dad in an unorthodox way.  I learned how to add/subtract/multiply and divide in my head quickly because my dad taught me to play darts. I can still outperform most people with a calculator! 

The point about this time is to relax and roll with their interests.  

Jemma: "For the majority of parents in this country, this week marks the start of their new (hopefully temporary) normal, of educating their children at home for the time being. The children have no doubt been sent home with reams of worksheets and home learning tasks to complete. 

My message today though, as a home educator, to anyone planning on starting up with home lessons straight away is.... don't!  

Relax, take this as an early start to the Easter Holidays. Let the children breathe and just enjoy time together getting to know each other. Let them play in the garden, even watch TV if they want. Use this time to regroup and make plans. Do some craft together, or play games. Get to know your kids, their natural routines and how they best function. Figure out how best to set up the learning times so it works for all of you.  

In a few weeks time when this new way of life has become less strange then you can draw up daily timetables and go at it with gusto, but for now just breathe. If the children want (or need) for school style routines to start back up before that then by all means do it, but there really is no hurry.  

Most importantly... Stay At Home and wash those hands! " 

Stu: When your child looks back they will remember that weird time when the whole country was on lockdown. They will hopefully remember it fondly because they got to find out what they truly loved, helped mum and/or dad with "grown up" stuff and developed a few important life skills.  

And finally, do any of us remember a worksheet we were given for homework? Of course not, so the best path through this enforced period of home education is to bond with your kids, discover what they truly love to do and help steer them towards a love of lifelong learning". 

Phew. Hopefully that has relieved some of your worries around managing multiple workloads and staying sane over the next few months. I would add that there is a work experience opportunity available here ??" let your older children see and appreciate what you spend your days doing and share with them why you are self-employed and what that means to you and to them. Good luck and we hope you enjoy this unusual but defining spell at home with your family.

Keeping checking our blog for advice and news to help you and your small business survive the coronavirus crisis. We are updating the blog on a daily basis.