How do you get homeschooling up and running

Between home office and homeschooling : Parents report how the lessons work at home - or fail

We asked our readers to share their homeschooling experiences with us. Here are three reports to begin with. We have received a lot of correspondence and will update this text here continuously.

A PERMANENT EMAIL NOISE

“We have three children: twins in fourth grade and the third child in first grade. All attend the same all-day school. When it was decided to close the school, we were already in the Corona home office ourselves. Lots of information and homework was sent out by email.

Sometimes several times a day. With three children, this creates a permanent noise. There were no standardized processes in terms of communication channels, tools or other materials. Teaching material was scanned or photographed so that it sucks the toner empty in no time when you print it out. Despite the lack of infrastructure, it was still expected that diary entries and homework would be submitted on a daily basis.

Blind activism

In blind activism, the teachers tried to be creative and set tasks like, “Snap up Skipping rope and count how often you can jump without a break. ”I would gladly have answered:“ Great! Then can you please count how many vases and chandelier break in the process and how many blue eyes do the siblings wear?

Because we live in a city apartment, work from home all day, spend most of the day in video calls and there are exit restrictions. ”Overall, I had the impression that all responsibility was transferred to my parents overnight has been.

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There seemed precious little understanding that parents should continue to work. Not only was a few homework distributed, but rather the expectation that the children would continue to follow the curriculum at full speed. There was no briefing or support for the parents.

Standardize channels and tools? No chance

To be honest, I expect the teachers and educators, who are not exempted in the current situation, to continue to fulfill their educational mandate in full. Just like I'm expected to keep doing my job. After all, we all continue to receive our full salary.

A one-hour consultation hour per week for the whole class does not meet this requirement. I offered support in terms of tools and infrastructure, as the educators seem to be overwhelmed by it, but I met little approval.

The request as to whether the school could possibly agree on processes, tools and channels so that the parents have less administrative workload was dismissed with a simple: “We don't have the options”.

Twelve hours of effort a day

The effort that I would currently have to put in would probably amount to around four hours per day and child (i.e. twelve hours a day with three children). After the first two weeks and various hysterical fits of crying from the children, who can't keep up with their homework and feel under pressure, I decided to set priorities.

This is also an extremely stressful exceptional situation for the children. Their normal life has been paused and they suddenly have to worry about whether grandma and grandpa are in danger or whether mom and dad might die because they are somehow a bit old.

Pure chicane

It is more important to me that the children are happy and healthy, that they feel secure, that they get some fresh air at least once a day, that healthy meals are cooked and that they do useful things throughout the day. The last thing the kids need now is to be yelled at by their parents when they can't finish their maths.

The last thing the parents need now is to have to scan in additional tasks such as diary entries and painted pictures or other occupational therapy measures on a daily basis. I am very honest with my children and say, “Hey, I know you can paint great and nobody forces you to write a diary. Let us see that we continue to practice written multiplication and that the grammar is right. "

Nevertheless, we will have to catch up on a lot during the Easter holidays and we will not be able to do everything. I will refuse to do some things and say, “No. That is irrelevant nonsense and pure chicane and I will not go along with it! ”At the end of the day there are also some bright spots.

My children are beginning to understand what I do for a living, they learn a lot (almost too much) about personal responsibility, personal rights, a sense of duty, how to prepare sourdough, the difference between viruses and bacteria, the economy, social cohesion, which heads of government with how to deal with the crisis. My conclusion: homeschooling doesn't work. " Sita Duken

more on the subject

SKYPING WITH THE TEACHER

“My daughter is in 5th grade, not a hotbed school, but definitely one with a high proportion of migrants and all the problems that come with it. From the first day the school closed, our class teacher created a top online learning program that I would describe as exemplary.

In line with the timetable, various tasks for the respective subjects are sent by e-mail every day, along with numerous worksheets to be printed out (without a printer, only the solutions can be written down on an extra sheet), appropriate links to instructional videos and various tasks in existing workbooks as well as on different ones Online learning platforms for which there was registration data for each individual child on the first day.

The teacher can be reached from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The children are busy working on the tasks for several hours a day, and many of them are certainly dependent on support. But there is also a solution for this: the class teacher can be reached directly via Skype every day between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (except for the days on which she works on the emergency program at the school - then she is available in the afternoon) to answer questions answer.

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At the end of the day, the parents have to take photos of all the completed tasks or scan the worksheets and send the results to the class teacher or deposit all the processed materials in the school. She can follow the work on the online learning platforms there herself.

Punctually the next morning, the new tasks are in the mailbox and the next day of school begins at home. We are certainly very lucky that all but one of the main subjects are taught by the class teacher.

Tailor-made daily program

In the other subjects, there were “only” a few worksheets or a larger task on the last day of school that had to be done while the school was closed. In terms of motivation and learning, it is not at all comparable to the class teacher's tailor-made daily program!

She has succeeded in transforming the content of every single school day into manageable packages that can be delivered and picked up online. From my point of view, it is an enormous enrichment for the children's independence, because everyone can determine the start, pace and breaks of the work themselves. Many worksheets are even available in different levels of difficulty that you can choose yourself.

Learning vocabulary is no longer a problem

The online platforms are of course very popular and even learning vocabulary is suddenly no longer a problem (and should be kept that way for the future if the children want it). But all of this only works because there are individually matching daily task packages - a mere reference to digital learning programs or any learning television would not be productive at all!

My conclusion: Homeschooling can work with the appropriate commitment from teachers and parents and this example should set an example! " Karin Berger

THE TEACHERS WENT ON THE EASTER HOLIDAY

“Our daughter is in the ninth grade of a high school in Zehlendorf. After the senate administration decided to close the school, the rector informed us parents by email that she would leave the implementation of the lessons to the respective teachers during this time. There is no school cloud or the like.

This led to the students being left to their own devices with a pile of slips of paper or a few tasks by e-mail. The teachers seemed to be taking early vacation. Three teachers did not consider it necessary at all to assign assignments. These included two main subjects, each with three hours per week.

Nonetheless, our daughter started the first week of homeschooling motivated. She had drawn up a timetable and a to-do list with all the required tasks. In addition, we made a schedule so that everything could be organized. That worked very well in the first week.

Three teachers didn't send any assignments

In the second week without any contact with any teacher at the school, our daughter's motivation declined noticeably. She then got to the point that in mathematics she had finished the tasks with familiar topics, but now a new topic was required, which the students should work out completely on their own.

The teacher had not offered any help, neither an offer of an online explanatory lesson, nor a reference to an explanatory learning video, nor an offer that the students could ask questions if the new material was not understood. The students were completely on their own. How did the teacher imagine this? Were the parents asked now?

Had we not been fortunate that, due to university closings, our son, who is actually studying abroad, is currently living with us and he works as a math tutor in his degree program, i.e. has a lot of experience explaining math problems, it would have been difficult to solve these tasks independently by working from home . So he sat down with his little sister and explained the new topic to her, which would actually have been the task of the math teacher.

The students were left to their own devices

After almost two weeks, there were still no assignments in the three missing subjects. Our parent representatives then contacted the Spanish teacher. In response to this question, there was an attempted justification and an explanation that “... the students have known their Spanish book for two years and then in principle can continue to work in it”. That's it.

And everyone can imagine how our daughter went to work with this "task", happy and motivated! The other two subjects still outstanding had still not been assigned any tasks.

In any case, the conclusion of this homeschooling time for us is that the implementation of the lessons cannot be left exclusively in the hands of the respective teacher. A high-quality homeschooling that is equally high-quality for all students can only work under professional guidance and preparation by the school management. " (The mother from Zehlendorf does not want to be named)

MANY PARENTS HAVE TO MAKE HOMESCHOOLING WITHOUT CORONA

“As a mother of three children, I have a good say when it comes to homeschooling. On the one hand because one of my children still lives here at home and on the other hand because our education system is geared towards homeschooling anyway.

Or do you really believe that without Corona, the parents will be exempt from school issues?

Those who do not belong to the parents, half of the children, who are able to understand the material in class and do their homework independently, need parents who sit down with the children at the kitchen table and rework, practice or, in the worst case, the material even convey it completely.

Just ask the parents of gifted people, dyslexics or children with ADD, dyscalculia or general indolence (for example among the pupils).

Do you really think something will change for such parents or the tutors, except that there is more now? Unfortunately there are always such and such schools. The online courses that I see on TV have unfortunately not yet reached us. There is a piece of paper on which there are some cryptic abbreviations: AH p.30 - 63 or LB p.54-62. Happy parents whose children understand the abbreviations.

The Irish NUI (National University of Ireland) happily continues: seminars, lectures and exams (sic!) Simply continue online and everyone presents on Zoom, Teams or whatever. That would be something if we got there through Corona, wouldn't it? " (R. Weisse)

Many families do not have a computer

“I am a teacher at a secondary school in Lichterfelde. With us it looks like this: We have an electronic class register (luckily!) And use it to send homework. Or maybe not. Because there are colleagues who mess around with the digital devices and programs, they then send it by email. After all.

As a class teacher, I have no overview of which colleague is sending what. After the first week there was already an outcry from the parents that all of this was too much and that the tasks came from so many different channels that they were totally confused. Understandable.

However, on our part it was first discovered that it is by no means presumptuous that children do something for school for three hours a day. In the second week, my colleague and I called all the parents in class 7. A much more nuanced picture emerged. Because many parents don't even have a PC or laptop, let alone a printer.

They only see their homework on their mobile phones. Since some of the worksheets we had sent, it was clear to us why the response was only so sporadic. How should I rate that? Not at all.

We are a long way from video conferencing

Parents are sometimes so worried about their livelihoods or work in the home office or in caregiving shifts that they have no strength at all to monitor or help their children.

There are of course students who diligently send us their results, which we then look at and praise and correct. But we are very far from video conferences or the like.

The situation of our integration children, who already have problems with learning, is particularly difficult. Usually there is no family home that can support them.

It is frustrating. The fact that the digitization of schools has been delayed for so long, but also that independent learning was not really encouraged in many schools, is falling on our feet now. " (The teacher wants to remain anonymous)

WE HOPE THE SCHOOL AUTHORITY TO INTERVENE

“Unfortunately, our school does not offer any digital learning opportunities. The teaching of teaching material is entirely up to the parents. Working materials are sent by e-mail for printing or stored in a subject in the school. Completed tasks are partly "returned" to the school subject.

We very much hope that the school authorities will make digital lessons compulsory for all schools / teachers, who will train teachers and provide them with free laptops and software. Other schools are already digitally mirroring the entire lessons in a kind of webinar format and are working successfully with Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams for eLearning in conjunction with Office 365.

The students have received Office 365 licenses from the school. Those in need should get laptops free of charge from the state. We very much hope that the digitization of schools will now pick up speed quickly! " (Dirk Wischnewski)

WE FEEL THE COMMITMENT

“On the subject of homeschooling, I would first like to thank our teacher for her commitment. We feel their commitment and their will to be there for the children and families.

In the practical experience I find one thing above all exhausting: Bringing the workload and childcare / homeschooling under one roof.

I really would like to see more courtesy from employers - where this is financially possible. When I say that everyone has to do their office job from home, I don't feel there is enough support and support. EVERYONE with children at home knows that this is simply impossible.

The time for the children, which I need both for school tasks and for support beyond that (playing together, playing outside, reading newspapers / news and discussing together) - this time is simply not there. And at the same time there is never enough time for the job. I find that very stressful. "(Christine G.)

TEACHERS GIVE MORAL RELIEF

“I am the single parent of an 8-year-old daughter who is in the 2nd grade of a primary school. I would fail without the courtesy of my boss and moral relief from the headmistress and class teacher. And this is my daily routine from Monday to Friday:

6.30 a.m. - 8.30 a.m .: Home office.

8.30 a.m. - 9 a.m .: Breakfast with the daughter.

9: 00-12: 00: homeschooling according to the regular schedule (without breaks in the courtyard).

12: 00-13: 00: lunch together.

1: 00-6: 00 p.m .: my daughter is left to her own devices and I work in the home office.

6: 00-8: 00 p.m .: dinner together, reading, going to bed.

From 8:30 p.m .: home office.

Fortunately, I am allowed to interrupt my work during the day to teach my daughter. The headmistress and the class teacher write supportively that we parents cannot manage to replace the teacher.

We don't have to convey anything new; Repeating and consolidating what has already been learned is sufficient. That relieves me a lot. I am glad that my daughter is only in the 2nd grade and that I am intellectually up to the subject.

We are both looking forward to every weekend and the upcoming Easter break. I'm afraid that we both (!) Will have to keep this rhythm until the summer holidays and that the school won't be on April 20th. opens again. " (Annika Stübe)

MY DAUGHTER HAS NO DESIRE

“Our daughter (7 years old) is in the 2nd grade of a primary school in Pankow. Like every day there was theater about homework. Because she doesn't feel like ...

For younger children it is difficult to understand that there are currently no Corona holidays and that you cannot play all day - when mom and dad are also at home (the home office concept is not taken seriously - especially that it is there there are also fixed working hours) and the little brother can play too.

The most important thing is a daily structure with regular times for homework. Problem: is often not enforceable in practice if both parents are in the telephone conference at the same time, etc.

Worksheets are not popular. Today, however, I got a call from the class teacher with the access code for the Anton learning program. That was a success - all of a sudden, Madame just wanted to learn with it. Go then!

Still: the current situation is just as surreal for children. You notice your own tension, annoyance - this is not a relaxed atmosphere in which learning and homework are easy (and in which you can concentrate well on your work yourself). Conclusion: it works because it has to work. A long day at the office would be a real wellness experience on the other hand ....

And of course school and daycare also have a social function: the children miss their friends. This cannot replace Whatsapp telephony or any digital learning program. "(Agnes Lorenz)

WE HEAR NOTHING FROM SCHOOL

“The situation is not easy. Neither of my wife and I can work from home, but I was able to move my working hours, which are normally between 9.30 a.m. and 6 p.m., to 2.30 p.m.-9 p.m. and thus cut two overtime hours a day.

Our daughter (10th grade, 4th grade) stays home alone from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. before her mother comes home. We share homeschooling - I am responsible for math and English, my wife for German and specialist knowledge. The positive thing about this situation is that I now cook every day, which I usually only manage on weekends.

Before that, maths. That goes quite well so far, even if the father-daughter relationship unfortunately sometimes leads to my nagging at my daughter because she doesn't know how a task works, even though ten minutes ago she did three tasks of the same kind calculated without any problems ... That will probably be different in school, but most of the time parents don't have the patience of a teacher, unfortunately.

Otherwise no further information

Unfortunately, I hear practically nothing from the school. I am the parent representative of the class and so from time to time I get an email from the general parent representative, who has just been provided with more general information and offers from the school social worker. Otherwise nothing. On the last day, our daughter was given a lot of tasks that we are now working through, but the total scope is far from the normal daily class workload.

Otherwise no further information, no email address or telephone number from one of the teachers in the class. I hear and read so much from other schools where the students can get replenishment by email or ask questions, and there should be video chats elsewhere.

At our school, unfortunately, there is only a reference to the learning space in Berlin on the homepage - only for this, of course, a teacher would have to create a course, in which the students / parents could then log in.

Certainly all of this is extraordinary and there will also be teachers who now have to look after their own children too. But we also have to work AND look after our children AND do schoolwork with them. Unfortunately, my impression is that, apart from the social worker, the teachers are making life pretty easy for themselves at the moment, after all, the teachers are not on short-time work. I am curious how it will go on if the schools should remain closed after the Easter break. "(Stephan Kaphengst)

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