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The Covid-19 situation is shutting down schools all around the world, and for understandable reasons.
Some parents might be worrying about what to do and how to plug the Education gap.
But it is worth remembering that, historically speaking, schools have not been around very long. Parents have instead been the “CEO” – Chief Education Officer - for their kids.
Modern humans have existed for 200,000 years, but it is only in the last 200 years that the Schooling institutions were created in large numbers. The short version of the story is that schools were created during the Industrial Revolution to train up more factory workers. This is a good animated summary from a Ken Robinson talk on this for more background.
For the other 199,800 years however Education duties have always fallen to the Parents (and other relatives)!
And anyway – even in the modern day when kids go to school – they spend less than 20% of their waking hours there. Most of the rest of the time is spent at home – during holidays, weekends and evenings – in the company of their CEOs.
(Quick maths: Sleeping for 8 hours a day means there are about 100,000 waking hours from age 0-18. Assuming schools are open 35 weeks a year and kids spend 8 hours there each weekday, this totals 1,400. This is 14% of of the 100,000 waking hours)
Clearly modern schools perform a very valuable function in society, but I just think it is worth reminding ourselves that as Parents we still play a huge role.
I’m not a teacher, how can I be the Chief Education Officer?
Well, I think there is one group of parents we can really learn from.
These are Home Schoolers – parents who have decided of their own accord to pull their child from the public education system and educate themselves at home. Possibly this is due to family circumstance, or child’s learning needs, or wanting to provide a different type of curriculum - the reason is not so important, just the fact that they are making it work.
When you look at the numbers it is a catching trend. It is now legal in the majority of countries around the world. In the UK for example there are over 50,000 home schooled children (about 1% of all school children), and has been growing over 10% each year.
I am part of lots of Facebook groups on Home Schooling as I am always searching for inspiration and different things I can do at home with my kids. Some top resources from this are mentioned at the bottom of the article, but talking with Home Schooling parents there are 3 clear advantages I keep hearing:
Personally my kids go to Public School for now – frankly I would be a bit nervous about missing out too many fundamental teachings if we did it ourselves (even if we had the time) - but during this time when our hand might be forced, I think it is really helpful to keep these benefits in mind.
And so I say – if your health and work commitments allow – let’s embrace this enforced family time and let’s step up to officially be the Chief Education Officer for our kids!
Half glass full, always 😊
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Ps – as promised here are some top free resources for in home education, as shared by Home Schoolers on a Facebook group
- Curiosity Stream
- Beast Academy (Math)
- Khan Academy
- Creative Bug
- Discovery Education
- Crash Course Kids
- Science Channel
- SciShow Kids
- National Geographic Kids
- Free School
- Geography Focus
- Kids Learning Tube
- Geeek Gurl Diaries
- Mike Likes Science
- Science Max
Lots of board games, library books (and Kindle), tinkering/upcycling with household junk, etc.
Some resources to help with kids at home:
*Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.
*Pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums.
*This is the awesome free curriculum that we use. Everything from preschool activities to 12th grade is here!
*List of thinking games by grade: https://allinonehomeschool.com/thinking/
**More awesome free learning websites that we like to use**
Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think may benefit from this