Friday 22 January 2021

Home Education Group Online

 For the last few years, Lizzy (Peaches at Home) and I have run a fortnightly home education group. Over time, it has grown and by the beginning of 2020,a group of us were running a meeting which included an older session at the same time as the primary aged group for the first part of the afternoon and dividing into four different age book groups towards the end. Then came Covid and we had to stop. Over the Easter break, we realised that it would be better to have something rather than nothing and that something would have to be online so we put the group online from April 2020. Since then, we have always had some of the meetings virtually although we were also able to have  outside sessions during the autumn.

This is probably the most important lesson that I have learned from this. Something is better than nothing and it is worth having a go.

None of the mums in the organising group are particularly techie. We went with Zoom because one was using that in her church and so had a week or so of experience on the platform. Initially, we only had the free version of Zoom. Our new offering wasn't perfect but for most of us, it was much better than nothing. Our children had something different to do. One of my main problems in lockdown has been answering the question 

What are we doing today?



isn't usually a satisfactory answer whereas the promise of a book club or online chemistry or scavenger hunt is.

To be honest, not every family wants to go online and that is fine but for the majority who do, it is worth a go! 

I hope to post later about some of our most successful ideas.

One activity which we have run online is being a judging group for the Royal Society Young People's book prize.

Just a few practicalities

  • It is worth sending round a weekly email with links to all the meetings for the week. Yes, the links may be recurring but we all need a reminder. This isn't my job but I have often been thankful that Lizzy has done this so I don't have to search too hard for the link.
  • It is easier to spread meetings over the week as families may not have sufficient devices or a fast enough broadband connection to have multiple children in different meetings. Younger children will need parental supervision anyway.
  • I don't tend to mute the children as they are usually enthusiastic and want to participate, however, it is worth checking how to mute them first just in case someone's little sibling decides to cry!
  • Similarly, it is worth knowing how to control renaming, chat boxes and how to turn off someone's video if they distract themselves and others with altering background. Why would I need to know this?
  • Meetings don't need to be long. Something is better than nothing! Free Zoom is limited to 40 minutes if there are more than two devices in the meeting. If you should run out of time, it is possible to log back in on the same link. Having said that, we are very grateful that the group has been gifted Zoom membership which allows us meetings over 40 minutes.
  • It is easy to have a Zoom meeting with yourself to practice! I had frequent meetings with myself, initially, to work out how screen sharing worked, how to share videos and slide shows. Zoom isn't difficult!
Have you put your home education group online? I would love to know how this has worked, and particularly what has gone well, as our group is very much a work in progress.

If you enjoyed this post you may like to follow Delivering Grace by Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or e-mail.

No comments:

Post a Comment