Pros, Cons of Online Learning - a WSA Reader!

We've loved hearing all of your feedback on online learning. It's a huge change and a huge challenge for many of us. Special thanks though to one of our readers, Ellie, who sent in her thoughts, published here, on life as an online learning family. Ellie - keep us posted: We hope the Pros continue to outweigh the Cons!
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19
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This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

I’ve learned many new things in the past seven days of home schooling my two 5-year olds in FS2. These few months are obviously going to change our lives quite a lot, but overall, I’m concluding that it’s for the better.

I’d given up my full-time job just before this all started, to re-train in another area. So those plans have had to pause, but I’m still positive. Because...basically, I’m spending amazing time with my children and helping them learn.

Ups and downs aside, that’s going to mean a deeper relationship between us all and it’s invaluable.

To be clear: I’m not finding this easy. I loved reading WSA Editor Jenny’s approach of making happiness the key family priority. I’m taking notes, as I haven’t been doing that enough. But there are so many pros! Here's my list:

- I’m getting a much better understanding of how each of my kids prefers to learn. I always knew what they preferred, of course, but this new knowledge is going to benefit our everyday family life and my parenting. It applies to everything!

- I have spent SO much more time with the children (see cons also!), but to witness them learning something new is a huge joy. 

- We have had a TON of fun together

- I have a much better picture of what their daily school life is like. That’s an understanding that I didn’t get from photos and video clips sent on the various apps that schools use. For me, this is helping me to be at a better understanding of my children in total. I think that’s going to make me both a better parent (and I could use the help!) and a better distance learning facilitator.

- The school has been amazing.  Turning around a distance learning programme in the blink of an eye, offering excellent support, and being really, really understanding on the days when either I, or the kids, just aren’t in a mental place to do anything! This makes me appreciate our school and teachers and their skills more than ever – how lucky is that? I know the children and I are in great hands and that’s a huge relief.

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Homeschool with Dad!

- I have a much better appreciation of the work that their teachers do. Just WOW. They are superheroes.

- I’ve learned how to use four new technologies in the last two weeks. As something of a ‘digital dinosaur’ I this experience is forcing a narrowing of the digital divide that already exists between me and the kids and that’s fantastic.

- Dad is able to spend more time with the kids as he’s working at home. He can usually manage a break to kick a ball about the garden around lunchtime for a few minutes and they are over the moon!

- We’ve really connected with the grandparents a lot more. The kids were consulting them via phone, email and conference call to research a school problem the other day... This is really great for children and grandparents alike!

And then, the Cons...!

- Goodness...it is difficult teaching 5-year old’s (and I’m sure kids any age). Echo above, teachers all deserve medals and huge creds to regular home schoolers too.

- It is really tough on the kids not being able to socialise with their friends... Internet conference calls are great, but it’s not the same as belting around the playground on a bike.

- I have spent SO much more time with the children... lots which is at my expense! I am missing the little “me-time” I used to get and need to work on how to recover some of that.

- I’m exhausted! End. Of.

- We’re all getting used to a different definition of ‘tidy’!

Overall, we have had a TON of tears over this... It’s early days, it’s all new, they are five and I am human! The fun times are outweighing the grumps but not every day. I think making happiness our core priority will help, and I know that every Epic Fail will get me a bit closer to getting something right.

I’m really trying to find a positive side, here. I know it’s going to be difficult. But lots of the good things in life are hard-won, and I know we will all get through it.

I’m as clueless as everyone else as to how the next few months are going to play out. But I am prepared. For me, the Pros outweigh the Cons, and I really believe it is going to be a good thing. Distance Learning could just be the making of our family.  It’s not a sentence, it’s not going to be forever and it is an opportunity. I’m hoping I might learn a few things, too!

More
Read Part 2, here!

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