The new Facebook group offering homeschooling support and ideas to parents
- Credit: PA
A Facebook group to support parents with homeschooling is one of many new communities to have grown online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched by teaching assistant Brian Barnard, Suffolk Home Schooling came about the day it was announced that schools were going to close, except to vulnerable children and those of key workers, in the fight against COVID-19.
Mr Barnard, who works at Trimley St Martin Primary School, said people he knew in the teaching profession were posting on Facebook to say if anyone needed help they could contact them.
So he thought it would be a good idea to pool these resources into a single place for people to source advice and inspiration or share ideas.
Suffolk Home Schooling, which also has a website of the same name, involves nearly 70 members of teaching staff, from pre-school to A-level, and just over 4,000 members.
MORE: Your home-schooling questions answered - and remember, we can’t do more than our bestMr Barnard, a father-of-three from Trimley St Mary, said: “The group receives posts covering all issues from lost, frustrated parents who are struggling to manage homeschooling, including children who won’t or don’t want to do the work to specific schoolwork questions such as working out percentages.
“I believe that everyone that has posted has received replies or answers and support from the amazing people in the group.”
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Mr Barnard said the letter of a primary school headteacher offered supportive advice and he felt it was the first time a lot of parents really had an insight from the other side of the fence.
MORE: Coronavirus: New homeschooling and activities website is launched in less than a weekThe letter, which Mr Barnard shared on the group, included this advice: “This is not homeschooling. This is an unprecedented emergency situation impacting on the whole world.
“Homeschooling is normally a choice, something you considered, something you perhaps planned with your child’s teacher.
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“This is, at best, distance learning. In reality, it is everyone trying to separate their bums from their elbows, because none of us know what we’re doing and what’s right and wrong here.”
It also included this: “You are, and always have been, your child’s primary educator. If you decide that your child isn’t going to engage with everything sent home and is going to spend time playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, then that is your choice. That is your right. There is nothing to stress or feel guilty about.”
The group is also full of ideas such as an alphabet hunt, how to make your own Elmer the elephant and an app for telling and sharing stories.
To find Suffolk Home Schooling, which is a closed group, on Facebook see here.