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Here in the Netherlands they've just tightened restrictions again and if this doesn't work (if people don't follow the rules - they've been pretty slack, annoyingly) then we'll go into full lock down again. I noticed that schools in Prague have closed again and there are likely to be more closures. Do you feel more equipped to cope with homeschooling if it happened again? I just feel a huge sense of dread, but I think I -and the kids - would find it less bewildering at least. 

  • Best wishes to all facing local uncertainties! I’m slightly amazed to have had one full month of my son being at school, but I’m well aware that could change again in a moment. I wouldn’t relish another stint of homeschooling, but I’m mentally prepared for it if necessary.

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    • I’m a teacher at secondary level and have really enjoyed being back at work despite the difficulties of teaching whilst maintaining distance. Boris seems to be only able to say ‘shalln’t’ at present to any suggestions made by anyone other than his inner circle so I doubt England will have lockdown anytime soon. I found the idea of homeschooling daunting because my natural tendency is to allow my daughter to spend time learning what interests her, so I then panic I haven’t done enough maths and English with her. I just want her to be happy but I realise she also needs to feel up-to-date on returning to school...the self-doubt is huge on my behalf, but I honestly believe keeping happy is the priority for everyone. I don’t agree we’ll have a lost generation as some say, I think we’ll find all sorts of positives. As for writing, there was a black hole that sucked every opportunity up for peace and quiet from March to August, but moving house didn’t help. Any subsequent lockdown will be handled by giving daughter my credit card and retreating to the spare room to write until the bailiffs come knocking.  

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      • I completely agree, Andrew. We started homeschooling our youngest and he was so miserable and we were so stressed that in the end we let him just do what interested him, play, draw, read and so on. He went back to school and his reading had come on leaps and bounds (pretty much by accident) so if the schools close again, I feel more assured to just let him be creative and curious and pretty much forget the curriculum altogether. 

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      • Excellent program on Radio 4 this morning (Bringing up Britain 09:00 3rd Nov) on that very subject. One of the distinctions that it draws is the difference between home schooling (creating and adapting a curriculum suited to ones own children) and delivering materials created by others when children can't go to school.

        Not sure I could manage either (luckily all mine are grown up now) but it was very thought provoking. 

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        • I think the UK is going to be locked down again on Thursday, but the schools stay open, so it's not a real lockdown then.

          I wonder if our education system isn't for the benefit of our children at all but simply to feed them into the economy as a business resource.  In the UK, by the time they leave higher education, the poor sods are up to their armpits in debt and stressed to breaking point by the soulless futility of their futures.

          Worse, the culture of accountability in modern business means no one without a university education is employable in any sort of career opportunity.  Worse than that, the drive towards automation and the introduction of AI to facilitate it is reducing the available jobs.    For the first time in history, new technology is not replacing the jobs it renders obsolete with jobs in new fields.  

          Very soon, we are going to face the need for radical changes in our attitudes to work and business.  A huge step in achieving that would be to relax and let our children make their own minds up.  With luck they'll find something worthwhile to do other than fuel the drive down the road to hell with consumerism!

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          • I homeschooled my kids, from the point of my eldest having a terrible reception year. I soon figured out the best way they learnt was when they were left to their own devices. (with media restrictions) I made sure we covered the basics of the Steiner curriculum along the way, but in an enjoyable way, most often through story. I didn't push them to learn to read -- they both started spontaneously at around eight years and both became the best readers of their ages around (library raiders who knew the whole catalogue) in a couple of years. I feel the gift I have given my kids is time -- time to become and be themselves and follow their own bliss (thanks Joseph campbell). My eldest is now at sixth from college and applying to Cambridge. The teachers there are amazed by his motivation and enjoyment of life. 

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