Help, I’m the substitute teacher!

Apr 29, 2020

Just in case you were wondering, I’m not a teacher. I’m a mum who’s doing the mummy juggle. On any ordinary day, this would be simple. But not these days. Now I’m juggling home-schooling and running my own business. Whereas before, it was just juggling tennis balls, now I feel like I’m juggling watermelons.

So, to manage the chaos and make things work, I’ve had to learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t.

Here are my tips

1. Routine

In these unusual times, a routine can give our children what they need. A sense of stability and comfort. It’s like a comfort blanket. They know exactly what is happening during an uncertain time.

The other thing is to keep it varied as well. Basically mixing up fun activities with serious learning. So our typical day looks like this; PE, maths, breaktime, spellings, reading comprehension, lunch, reading, project work.

Would a routine work for you? Click here for some guidance

2. Keep it short

I’ve worked out that my children’s attention span is a maximum of 30 minutes, unless they’re watching television or playing outside! So all learning is in 30 minute chunks. Having said that, if they’re really enjoying doing something then I let them carry on until they start to lose interest.

3. Be creative

Sometimes the answer is not necessarily formal learning.

We may have set learning to do but there are other ways of teaching which are not about just sitting. What am I talking about? You can teach maths through baking. I get my kids to measure out the ingredients for example and also ask them maths related questions at the same time. How about reading? It doesn’t have to be reading a book. For us, when we’re out walking we read signs or what’s written on shop fronts.

Have you been creative?

4. Mix indoor and outdoor

My kids are easily distracted and I have to use this to my advantage. That’s why I try to get outdoors as much as possible. This is for learning as well as playing. If it’s a sunny day then lessons are outside. I now understand why schools send children outside whatever the weather.

The added bonus is that they get Vitamin D, breathe in the fresh air and blow off steam.


5. Exercise

Exercise is good for us. Exercise is important. But one of the crucial benefits, especially during these times, is it helps with mental wellbeing. For us, we’re joining in with #PEWITHJOE The Body Coach. Now, I’ve got to admit that my level of commitment is more consistent than my kids. But, that’s okay. I encourage them to join in but I also let them dip in and out. Whatever keeps the peace.

We also get out once a day for our daily exercise, whether this is walking, scooting or cycling. And whenever the weather is at least dry we’re out in the garden.

How are you getting your exercise?

6. Juggling two kids

I have a daughter in year 2 and a son in preschool. So, they have different learning needs. My daughter has set work to complete but my son hasn’t any. I want them to feel like they are getting the same attention from me and also that they are doing the same amount of learning. They just want to feel like they’re being treated fairly. Not easy.

I’ve managed to do this by adapting my daughter’s learning to suit my son, which is mainly project work. This week she’s had to write a poem about the seasons so I’ve asked my son to draw a picture of the seasons.

I’ve also found a couple of useful websites:

 7. Don’t push

I’m mum not the teacher and I know that I will probably push harder than the teacher. So I’ve learnt that if I’m getting a lot of resistance then I need to just back off. I know when they’re just being a little challenging versus not joining in. You will too.

8. Keep calm and ride the wave

This is my new motto. We know that at some point this will be over. So, when I’m feeling the pressure of all being together constantly. When I know that my stress levels are on the rise because it’s not going smoothly. I just remind myself that I need to go with the flow. Ride the wave.

If this fails to ground me then I can always lock myself in a room and give out a loud scream.

The main thing is that we are doing our best to educate our children. Whatever we do, it will be good enough. For me, it’s about trying to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible during this time and enjoy the opportunity. We’ve had some lows and we’ve had some highs. However, if we are going to survive and hopefully thrive it’s about taking one day at a time.

That’s ‘Help, I’m the substitute teacher!’ according to Mummy on a Break.

What are your tips?

You might also like to read ‘How are you kids doing?

Or why not check out my YouTube channel for ‘5 tips to help you with self care



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