With the shutdown of British schools to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, I am on the eve of my latest adventure – into homeschooling. I’ve spent an unconventional Mother’s Day, without my partner (who was embarked on a welfare run for a foodless friend), rearranging our dining room to serve as a classroom. Our seven year old boy was very helpful and both boys seem as excited as their parents at the prospect of this new challenge. Our final act of preparation today was to prepare timetables. I wanted the boys to have everything that they need to do written down so that they
- Know what they’re doing,
- Can manage their time by way of choosing what order they complete their tasks in, and,
- Can tick off what they do (I find that rewarding with my lists!).
Neither art nor science are included on the curriculum sent home from school – but both our boys agreed that they want to spend time working on these subjects, which I have no doubt we’ll all enjoy particularly.
I’ve started a vlog diary on YouTube where I will record the experience – I’m hoping that our boys will record some of theirs too, but they’ll be kept private.
Overall I’m feeling content, if a little nervous. We have discussed homeschooling before – most recently when our ten year old boy returned home reporting that he’d been fed the blank slate theory (that men and women are identical and that any differences in their life choices that can conceivably be construed as disadvantaging women must be the result of discrimination). I can happily share that our boy was not taken in for a second and that the lesson led to us having a fun and engaging conversation in which he explained the evolutionary basis of sex differences to me and I filled him in with evidence from infant human and primate studies! I did also speak to the teacher responsible who informed me on the phone that “We were smashing stereotypes – because everybody deserves to have a ball to play with!”, I didn’t stay on the line long after that, some things are lost causes. But we’ve been paralysed in making the leap away from state provided education for fear of us doing a poor job – now we’ll find out if we’re up to it either way!
I’ve started pulling together a selection of books that I believe will be good additions to our lessons – from the cartoon franchise based, ‘The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia’ and the comic novel ‘Camelot 3000’ which I hope they’ll enjoy reading, to several books on myths and legends (the old stories are so archetypically important), and several more about space (for a healthy dose of awe), to Steven Pinker’s ‘Enlightenment NOW’ which I plan to read excerpts from to prompt high level discussions of ideas. I love sharing books with our boys and am thrilled that we’ll have so much more time to do so over the course of the school shutdown, at least.
I do hope that our readers had a happy Mother’s Day and ask that you, please, wish me and my family good luck in this adventure!
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