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Home-schooling – my experience as a mum

I know many of you are home schooling through lockdown. I thought I would share my story and experiences of some of the positives and some useful tips. My son Calvin ended up out of school for several periods (years 5/6 and most of year 9) due to mental ill health. For some of that time due to the illness, he was unable to leave the house.
For a great deal of that time I was running my own business, a bar/restaurant/backpackers hostel with my husband.  Although this wasn’t the same as this situation we are now in, there are some similarities.
At first I was concerned that Calvin would lose out on his education and would suffer with social development and feel over-whelmed. But we actually had a good time – he learnt far more then he had learned at school and we became incredibly close as Mum and Son, something which remains to this day.

I asked Calvin what his best bits were. He said “writing essays about his favorite musicals/films; doing maths with smarties; trying to play badminton; designing a breakfast menu and planning and organizing a music event.”

Tips to help you with home-schooling:

  • 1: Don’t feel you have to keep to school hours,find a routine that fits your family. We chose 11am-4pm as this worked best especially as I was often working late nights.
  • 2: You don’t have to stick to the curriculum, I used it as a guide but Calvin also studied other subjects and many other skills.
  • 3: Adapt lessons around your child‘s interest. I mentioned earlier that Calvin planned a music event, this involved, market research, researching costings, writing up publicity and press releases, time planning, sound and lighting considerations and researching venues. For the record Calvin put this event on at 14 years old and actually raised £650 for Autism Wessex. As a few of you may know he has put on one or two events since!
  • 4: Encourage your children to learn new skills- Calvin learnt guitar purely from you tube videos, he still hasn’t had proper guitar lessons to this day
  • 5: Include lessons or projects that are related to your work, children love being involved with your world and feeling grown up. In our case Calvin designed and costed a breakfast menu for us. He also helped me to prepare food hygiene training for our staff. (although ever since he has refused to eat in any establishment with less than a five star food hygiene rating)
  • 6: Don’t be afraid to let your children spend time safely on the computer. encourage them to create their own games or own social media blogs/platforms, under supervision. Also games like roblox are a fairly safe platform for children to communicate with each other. Calvin set up his own private chatroom for him and some other children from his autism group to communicate safely.
  • 7: Exercise is important. Itss amazing how much exercise can be done within the house or the garden with a little thought or creativity.
  • 8: Watch educational documentaries together and discuss them.
  • 9: Play to your skills, if one member of your family is better at maths than you then get them to teach your child maths, I am really not that great at maths ? but Calvin’s brother did maths tutoring with him over the phone.
  • 11: Most importantly have fun with your children and make memories.

And today…

I think its fair to say that Calvin hasn’t turned out too bad. He did pass all his GCSE’s with A’s, B’s and a couple of C’s, and finished a B-Tec with a triple distinction. Calvin is now studying at the London Conservatoire of Music. It didn’t affect his education too much.

Children are far more adaptable and resilient than we realize. Hope this helps a little.

Thanks to our guest blogger

Huge thanks to our Marie for sharing her insights around home-schooling. For further support whether you’re a student, parent or teacher, you’ll find plenty of resources here.

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