As you are aware, last Friday the Premier and Minister for Education announced plans for Term 2 schooling.
We are all delighted with the promising news with respect to COVID-19 in Western Australia and this week we are modifying our planning to reflect Friday’s announcement.
To assist with our planning, we are asking you to complete THIS SURVEY by Friday 24 April 2020, indicating your intentions in relation to sending your children to school for the first 3 weeks of Term 2.
I understand this may be an uncertain and difficult period for you and your family. That is why the State Government has given parents a choice about whether their children return to school for face-to-face teaching or learn from home. It is a personal decision influenced by each family’s circumstances.
Students who attend school will be taught a face-to-face program and we look forward to welcoming students back to school Wednesday 29 April 2020.
For those children learning from home, this will be through online or hard copy packages provided.
A further update will be sent home later in the week outlining further operational measures, including cleaning procedures, to be implemented at the start of the term.
I have to say, I had mixed feelings about the whole homeschooling situation. Things were going along swimmingly as they were. My girls (Year 6 and 8) loved school, and I was more than happy with my mix of a little bit of volunteering at school, and days filled with gym visits, Panda Pop and naps. Life was good.
But I was kind of excited too. I love a change of scene, and things being mixed up a bit. I’m not going to say I like a challenge, because that conjures up images of a certain type of person, and I’m not that person, but I liked that it would require some planning and problem solving. I knew we’d have to get schoolwork done, but it seemed like an opportunity to squeeze a bit of fun into our day too.
Before the first day of ‘school’ we set some ground rules. The girls needed to be dressed, have had breakfast, brushed their hair and teeth, and be ready to roll by 9.00am. At 9 they were at the table ready to go. I did the clappy thing that teachers do to get the kids’ attention. My youngest clapped back, and my eldest followed the rhythm, but gave the finger sign with each hand.
Fortunately, things picked up. I’d made up a timetable of work and breaks, and on the first day we stuck to it, although I did go into my daughter’s room to check that she was working and when I asked why she wasn’t, she said, “I have Phys Ed now”. They did get their work done, but the day was spent either working or on tablets, which wasn’t ideal, and not how I wanted the next few months to go.
Instead we made a list of things we wanted to get done each day that the girls could cross off at their leisure. This included blocks of work, but also time for exercise (usually a YouTube workout), chores, reading, music practise and miscellaneous time (just relaxing in the garden, drawing, cooking etc). This worked really well for us. The girls were excellent at managing their time and enjoyed the mix of activities. I helped them with their work, and we enjoyed some of the other activities together. My youngest did a landscape drawing of the front yard for art and I had a go too. Everyone patronised me and my art appropriately, but I was happy. It’s certainly something I never would have done before all this. Having them make their own lunches and do chores has been great too. It’s all for their benefit of course, they’re learning some useful life skills, and one day they might even set up their own alphaghetti jaffle business.
Before all this, the girls were at school for 6 hours a day or more (my eldest is at school for 10 hours on a Monday), and took part in a range of extracurricular activities. Before and after school, it felt like I was micro-managing them, getting them ready for whatever was on, and also helping them to meet their commitments with homework, music etc. Obviously, we have a lot less on now and a lot more time together. Without the usual time constraints, they manage themselves, and there’s so much time to just relax and enjoy each other’s company.
I know how lucky we are. I don’t work. My husband is still working, and actually at work, and my girls are at an age where they’re pretty self-sufficient. They also get along really well, so there’s no arguing, and they happily play together. My main concern was that they’d really struggle not seeing their friends, but they’ve stayed connected via their phones and tablets, and chat regularly, so they don’t feel deprived of that social interaction. My only fear now is the my eldest is going to have to cut my hair, which is especially scary as she seems to think that anything is excusable as long as it’s funny, even if she’s the only person who finds it funny.
I guess a stupid haircut would be something to look back on with fondness, like a lot of this time.
With so much more time now, our days are relaxed and fun. The girls cook, we go for lovely walks around the neighbourhood in the evenings, and we play board games. We chat and cuddle. Life is simple and nice. I don’t know how long this will last, but we’re just going to enjoy it while we can.