Homeschooling a reception child during the lockdown

The COVID-19 lockdowns have affected us all in different ways. I’m my case, I have two small kids; one of them only just started school last September, and now I find myself juggling work and homeschooling.

After three weeks of trying to work and homeschool a four year old I’m exhausted, patience is wearing thin and there is no end in sight, but with no alternative we have to soldier on and find ways to make the experience a bit more pleasant. So, instead of having daily meltdowns about him not wanting to do the work the school sends every day, we have been encouraging his creativity and interests and trying to apply his intended learning to what he wants to do.

He is very creative and likes making things, so that’s where we are focusing his learning. The recycling bin has become an ally, and I keep a box of bits and bobs, glue and sellotape for crafts.

He likes technology so he started by making a robot, using a box for his body and yarn as wires, I follow his lead and help him a little to materialise his ideas. And to relate to his school work I asked him to write labels for different parts of the robot to practice his letters.

After the first robot he wanted to make a laptop so he could have meetings like mummy and daddy, so using a flat A4 delivery box he made a drawing for the screen and I asked him to write all the letters he knows in the keyboard, he really enjoyed making it and then played with it for ages.

We do a lot of reading together, a few weeks ago we found a book about space and planets that used to be my husband’s when he was a kid, I thought my son would be too young to understand any of it but we had a go and read it to him one day, he was absolutely fascinated by it, and kept asking to read more every night, it had photographs rather than drawings so he liked that it was all real. Admittedly we had to buy a new one as the old one was from the early 80s and so out of date that we couldn’t read it with a straight face.

We do try to get through the work the school sends and sometimes we manage to do all of it, sometimes very little, but the important thing is that he is learning, he is practicing writing and mark making, and he certainly spends a long time working on his projects. We practice phonics and read about different things.

I also need to actually do my own work, so he’s been watching a lot of alphablocks and numberblocks, playing lego and even the megablocks are down from the loft. We have tried to do PE with Joe like the rest of the nation, but he doesn’t really like it, so have settled for yoga for kids and a jog outside when the rain stops for long enough.

So it is not without a struggle, but we are managing to do some learning and to have some time for me to do my work, but more importantly he is happy and, I hope, in the future he will have a warm memory of that time when we spent a lot of time together making robots, baking and reading cool books.

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