My kids have too much homework and I’m struggling to cope. What can I do?

Ask Brian: Regular communication between home and school is more important than ever

It’s very stressful trying to juggle my job with supervising homeschooling. Photograph: iStock

It’s very stressful trying to juggle my job with supervising homeschooling. Photograph: iStock

 

I’m working from home and have children in both primary and post-primary school. It’s very stressful trying to juggle my job with supervising homeschooling. To make matters worse, teachers are giving my kids too much homework to do. Can I ask my school to go easy on them?

These are anxious and uncertain times for everybody. Getting your own work done, keeping spirits up, and managing the expectations of both schools and your own children can appear to be an overwhelming task. It may seem that others don’t understand what you are facing in your own space, as indeed each family set-up is different.

The old adage certainly applies here: start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. If you feel under unreasonable pressure, you need to let people know that, and explain to them what you are trying to do.

Regular communication between home and school, between parents, teachers and students, is more important than ever. The easiest way is via email. Social media can be used as well, taking account of the usual boundaries. And if access to technology and bandwidth is a challenge, local newsletters come into their own. RTÉ is also doing a fantastic job, with its daily programme aimed at primary school children.

Overwhelmed

With the best of intentions, all of the resources that are being shared – website links, apps, games, books – can add to the sense of feeling overwhelmed. Where do you start? And if you hear on the grapevine that the school down the road is doing all of this, where does that leave your children?

One thing you can be sure of is some of the questions you have have been answered by parents or teachers or students somewhere else.

For teachers or parents who have time, the Teaching Council and the Professional Development Service for Teachers has launched a webinar series – Learning For All – to share the best of what is happening out there.

It also offers guidance and support for the real challenges faced by school communities as they seek to support learning over distance. In effect, this series is creating a space for everybody to connect to share learning.

In the meantime, remember that we will come through this. The schools will re-open. It is really important that we all support and sustain ourselves as people, day by day, so that we can be ready to embrace the opportunities for further learning that will emerge at that point.

As John O’Donohue reminds us – “where you are understood, you are at home”. Take this time to try to enjoy being at home, to come to a deeper understanding of all that matters. Learning and knowledge come in many different forms, and we have been given an opportunity to learn about how we learn, as individuals and as a society. Let’s grasp that opportunity with an open heart.

Email queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com