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Home School Helpline

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Hello caller just putting you on hold... 

How's it going out there? Got a Y3 and a Y5 doing Zoom lessons starting today.

Few tech hiccups and I can see that I'm going to have to fork out for another laptop. Not enough screen space on a tablet to run side by side frames/windows. He's having to do it on paper and hold it to the screen. Hmm.

His lesson finished 20mins ago. Hers is carrying on with sheets she has to do outside of the Zoom lesson itself. That won't end well! 

Post edited at 10:30
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

It's really not ideal for anyone.

It's just as bad being on the other end of the zoom call. Honest!

Good luck,

BB

In reply to bouldery bits:

> It's really not ideal for anyone.

> It's just as bad being on the other end of the zoom call. Honest!

> Good luck,

> BB

Teacher? You've got my full support and backing on any decision you make that keeps you well and safe.

I've always known that my two are chalk and cheese but never realised just how much with their attitude towards learning. Wow!

We're lucky (if you can call it that) in that even though I'm basically out of work we will be OK on one income for the foreseeable. Which is fortunate as I've just shelled out for another laptop because I could see it being not viable one of them having to do it on an 8" tablet. The format requires quite a bit of screen space.

In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

I'm doing it all! 

I'm in school and doing home learning. It's a bit of a challenge frankly. It's like trying to do the normal jon plus the home learning  whilst also trying to mitigate for the pandemic.

It's a rubbish compromise for staff, parents and pupils but it's the best we can fudge.

I'm glad you're able to support your children so well. Whatever you do, you're doing a brilliant job just by taking steps to make your children feel valued and loved and modelling the value of learning. 

If you have any questions, I will do my best to help. Going to have an hour off now then look at the emails again....

I hope I don't sound like too much of a martyr. I'd much rather be doing my job than anything in frontline healthcare or policing.  

 Alyson 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

In lockdown 1 there was very little structure to home learning and I was muddling along making my own stuff up and annoying the heck out of my Y1 daughter. I ended up focusing on science and nature and trying to provide experiences she wouldn't get in a classroom. This time the school are delivering a Zoom class every day and a timetable to follow, and she's very engaged with the learning so far because it's following the structure she knows from school. A lot easier for me, a lot harder for her utterly brilliant teachers! How they are doing it while also teaching whatever bubble of keyworker children they've got in the classroom I really can't imagine.

In reply to bouldery bits:

> I'm doing it all! 

> I'm in school and doing home learning. It's a bit of a challenge frankly. It's like trying to do the normal jon plus the home learning  whilst also trying to mitigate for the pandemic.

> It's a rubbish compromise for staff, parents and pupils but it's the best we can fudge.

> I'm glad you're able to support your children so well. Whatever you do, you're doing a brilliant job just by taking steps to make your children feel valued and loved and modelling the value of learning. 

> If you have any questions, I will do my best to help. Going to have an hour off now then look at the emails again....

> I hope I don't sound like too much of a martyr. I'd much rather be doing my job than anything in frontline healthcare or policing.  

Trying to put a heavy spin to the kids about a value I've always tried to adhere to: being adaptable and resourceful (not always for the right or meritorious reasons in my life, but lessons learnt are lessons learnt right?). It'll settle down soon.

I'm all too aware about my lost opportunities re: education and I'm determined that if school doesn't click for them it won't be for lack of support.

Anyway bath-time for the kids so it's the wife's turn to be the worst parent in the world! I'm keeping my head down 😂. 

In reply to Alyson:

> In lockdown 1 there was very little structure to home learning and I was muddling along making my own stuff up and annoying the heck out of my Y1 daughter. I ended up focusing on science and nature and trying to provide experiences she wouldn't get in a classroom. This time the school are delivering a Zoom class every day and a timetable to follow, and she's very engaged with the learning so far because it's following the structure she knows from school. A lot easier for me, a lot harder for her utterly brilliant teachers! How they are doing it while also teaching whatever bubble of keyworker children they've got in the classroom I really can't imagine.

That detachment for the staff and the kids at home must be crazy strange. All those tweaks, and nudges, and the feedback gone. Hats off to the teachers and kids. 

 wintertree 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

We have a reception age child now out of school.

On Tuesday I worked to my own plan not having one from the school - we did filling in the missing vowel (from a list of them) in words to make animal names and then non-animal words, and we did additions, missing number additions, and multiplications using grids of dots - turns out they'd not been taught multiplication yet but a visual dot grid with decreasing amounts filled out on each example and we got there in no time.  Attempts at showing prime and non prime numbers using dot grids and different colours did not get much interest beyond counting them and drawing butterflies and spiders around the dots.  

My partner did Wednesday's online learning and I did today's.

We are using an app called "See Saw" which gives us a short video of the teacher, and a couple of tasks each with a link to a YouTube video, a list of things to do, and a place to submit photo, audio or video evidence of the work which the teacher will then hopefully comment on.

To no great surprise, Jr engaged far better with the maths than with the phonics or writing.  The battle is keeping their focus on the subject, and I hope I get a damned site better at this very quickly.   I am rather more used to teaching young adults, who are there by choice and are generally easy to engage fully.

I'm totally lost at sea as Jr has been taught all sorts of terms, such as "special friends" in phonics, that mean nothing to me.  Jr delights in explaining it however so that helps engage them.  I tried watching some YouTube videos aimed at kids but I found myself becoming exceptionally annoyed at the faux-enthusiastic attitude of the "Blippi" like people making them.  Perhaps there are some good ones I've not found.  

I'm starting to suspect Jr shares my total impatience for people drip feeding information out as they've learnt to fast forwards videos on YouTube on the tablet within a day.

What this doesn't replicate is the social interaction with the other children which I can't provide, the absence of which I think is at least as important for their development.  We're going to try and set up some video calls with other parents although we've not connected with many in the one term she's been at the school.

Of course this is done with a 3-year old running in and out and whilst juggling remote operation of a laboratory and contemplating the mountain of washing up.

We've been given key worker status but there is no way on this earth we are using it to claim a school place, either in terms of the direct risk to our health with likely reduced access to healthcare in a few weeks time, the risk to the teachers' health with the same healthcare issues or the wider morals of adding to societal transmission right now.  Further, it sounds like school is basically running as childcare with a skeleton staff over-seeing the children in mixed age classes using the same "See Saw" app.  

I am very grateful that the school have put together a coherent plan and the technology for this term, despite the amount of chain yanking and u-turns from government.  

In reply to wintertree:

That's a really useful insight, thanks. 

Our school have been really efficient at getting out all detail and resource and how it should all come together.

One minor gripe is there is a mass to wade through but I suspect a) I'll get the hang of it (resourceful and adaptable remember!); b) it's a reflection of the amount of back-story work the staff have had to produce in a very short time. Too much rather than too little is the least of our worries.

It's a real mix in my neck of the woods from Dr's of medicine and other disciplines right through to what I call 'proper Sheffield'. Some of those kids were doing the Zoom lesson (we also use Seesaw) on their parents mobile phone.

There is, I fear, going to be a cohort of already disadvantaged kids who really are going to be up against it in the future.

Anyway, day one done. I'm still only the second worst parent in the world so I'll take that. 

Off to pick some more holes in Star Trek Disco (S3 isn't off to a good start...). 

 wintertree 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> Off to pick some more holes in Star Trek Disco (S3 isn't off to a good start...). 

Assuming you're watching on Netflix, you might try "Final Space".

 Welsh Kate 07 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

I'm enjoying Disco season 3 but I'm almost at the end of it so always on the look out for something else. I'm teaching university students (when they 'come back'), not schoolkids, thank goodness: I have no idea how teachers are managing teaching younger kids online and have huge respect for them. But spending most of my day online, boxed sets are a must in the evening for a bit of respite.

In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

> That detachment for the staff and the kids at home must be crazy strange. All those tweaks, and nudges, and the feedback gone. Hats off to the teachers and kids. 

It is pretty weird sitting at my dining room table staring at my computer thinking "normally this lot will never shut the eff up - but today they all choose to be silent!" and watching 21 little microphone icons all with lines through them!

 mattyP 08 Jan 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Im finding that. My Year 5s are great at talking but cant handle the techy stuff, my Year 8s are silent. Fortunately the silence is destroyed by my 3 kids (6, 4 and 1) screaming in the background! 
I’ve found a much better uptake on the work this time round. 
 

In reply to Stuart (aka brt):

Day two and the laptop has arrived. Definitely needed it even though choice and vendor was limited, so paid a few quid more than I'd have liked. 

Realised that yesterday was novelty value, certainly for eldest son, as his interest is a bit all over today and he keeps talking to his sister.

Being in the same room isn't helping but I'll get them in their respective bedrooms and at tables so that should help. More monitoring for me though. This, at least for the moment, isn't a 'get them on Zoom and leave them to it' arrangement.

Right - lunchtime supervisor hat on. 

In reply to mattyP:

> Im finding that. My Year 5s are great at talking but cant handle the techy stuff, my Year 8s are silent. Fortunately the silence is destroyed by my 3 kids (6, 4 and 1) screaming in the background! 

What do you mean by techy stuff? The actual using and inputting on their particular tech at home? 

We're using a browser based app - SeeSaw. It's not immediately obvious how you directly work on the sheets provided. Not every piece of tech would allow direct input (Android Tablet) and even on the laptop/browser it took me some finding. I'm sure school will have sent instructions but they're long buried in a pile of emails somewhere. Google and a bit of swearing made it work! 

> I’ve found a much better uptake on the work this time round. 

Definitely the work put in by schools in getting a timetable and work organised has meant my two feel as if it's a bit more school like. 

If anyone in my nearest circle talks about schools being shut... Grrr. 


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